Scarborough WWI Bombardment Set to be Commemorated A Century On

Scarborough will commemorate the WWI bombardment of the coastal town in the hands of the Germans during the Great War — December of 1914, to be exact. The town will mark the 100th anniversary of the said event. Scarborough was just one of the many targets during the German bombardment in December 1914. And for this occasion, Scarborough locals will unite once again to commemorate the 100th year of the attack which killed 18 people and wounded 200 other in the seaside town alone.After the attack staged by the Germans, Britons were bolstered on to “Remember Scarborough!” in a series of WWI campaigns.

Centenary Celebration of the Scarborough Shelling

Afternath of Scarborough Attack
Afternath of Scarborough Attack

As the centenary of the Scarborough shelling approaches, the town plans to do a series of activities to mark the disastrous event. The commemoration will start with the reading of the names of the Scarborough bombardment victims during a planned special dawn ceremony to be followed by the firing of a maroon from the Scarborough Castle. Additionally, the whole edifice will be lit up for the ceremony with a small fleet of boats stationed just outside the town’s harbor.

Another ceremony will also be held at a new memorial put up in the Manor Road Cemetery. carved on this new monument are the names of those who died during the Scarborough bombardment.

The Story of the Scarborough Attack 1914

Royal Hotel Scarborough after the attack [inserted photo] and now
Royal Hotel Scarborough after the attack [inserted photo] and now
The Germans bombarded the coastal town of Scarborough one cold Morning in December almost one century ago. Two schools of the town went down because of the attack. It was a good thing that the onslaught occurred just before 8 in the morning.  Due to the cold weather and the early hour, there were lesser casualties. if the Germans attacked at a later time, many of the town’s schoolchildren would have perished. As what a volunteer at the Scarborough Maritime Center, Michael Knaggs, pointed out, the bombardment could have easily killed off some 200 children. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

Nevertheless, the raid resulted to 18 people being killed including John Shields Ryalls who was only 14 months.   Outrage followed the unanticipated raid by the Germans. The British government, then, used this anger against the death of innocent civilians in their recruitment campaigns. “Remember Scarborough!” posters were produced to persuade British men to enlist.

According to Mr. Knaggs, Scarborough was quite popular as a holiday destination especially among the wealthy. So, basically, everybody in Britain knew where and what Scarborough was. The government used this to their advantage though Hartlepool had four times more the number of casualties than the town did and suffered fives times more the damage caused by the attack. Mr. Knaggs also recounted that out of the 18 deaths in Scarborough bombardment, four came from the same family — the Bennetts. He stated that it was the most tragic story that fateful day, four members of a household of seven dying at the same time. Posters were also produced by the government featuring the house of the family used in WWI campaigns.

Additionally,. among the victim was the fifteen-year-old Boy Scout George Harland Taylor. George was the only Boy Scout to die in Great Britain during the Great War.

All in all, Mr. Knaggs said that a total of 776 medium format shells were fired by the Germans in a span of 29 minutes resulting to the damage of more than 200 buildings in Scarborough, the death of 18 and the wounding of 200 more.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE