16 December 1914; Wednesday

Hartlepools, Whitby, Scarbro’ & Redcar1 bombarded by German cruiser squadron. Heavy loss of life, especially in the Hartlepools and a great amount of damage done2. Our destroyer flotilla engaged them but they got away3. The first news was received through a telephone message from Hartlepool. A good deal of excitement.

  1. “[The] Hartlepools” was a commonly used name for the conurbation formed of the old town of Hartlepool and the newer West Hartlepool. “Scarbro'” was and remains a common abbreviation of Scarborough. Curiously, few if any other contemporary accounts mention Redcar at all although it is close to the coast between Hartlepool and Whitby and could quite conceivably have been a target. 

  2. See Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby at Wikipedia. The attack caused 137 fatalities and 592 casualties. Sunderland was lucky to escape this and any subsequent bombardment. The shelling of Scarborough is the subject of Osbert Sitwell’s 1926 novel ‘Before the Bombardment’. 

  3. “… they got away.”: While the raid caused public outrage towards the German navy for its apparent targeting of civilians, there was also a significant backlash against the Royal Navy for its failure to prevent the raid.