On the 16th December 1914, the German Navy brought the horror of war to the British mainland when they bombarded the north-east coast. Two former residents of Raunds were caught up in the attack and fortunately both escaped injury. Read how the incidents were subsequently reported in the Evening Telegraph:
21 December 1914 : "IN THE SCARBOROUGH BOMBARDMENT"
A Raunds gentleman has received the following interesting letter from his sister, now a resident of Scarborough, on the bombardment of that town by the Germans:
“Soon after eight o’clock this morning a German boat began to shell the town from the North Bay and we seemed to be in the thick of it as I think they were aiming for the wireless station at Falsgrave. Fragments of shell came both into our yard and our neighbours’ although I am gald to say that both houses have escaped better than almost any others in the neighbourhood, just a few panes of glass being broken in each.
All down Victoria Road is a mass of broken glass and bricks. A shell went right through the Co-Operative Stores opposite and set fire to a house near by. In Norwood Street almost opposite, there was great havoc, the roofs being taken off several houses. But in Commercial Street, a little further in Falsgrave, is the worst damage, the houses being almost demolished, eight people killed and heaps wounded. The Prince of Wales Hotel, on the South Cliff, is all shattered, and one corner of the Grand Hotel is unsafe.
I was just going to have my breakfast, my husband not being up, I thought nothing but that the house would all come down. I rushed upstairs to him and we got into our hats and coats as quickly as we could so as to be ready for anything, and just scrambled two or three things into a handbag. I thought that if we could get into the open away from the town it would be safer, but getting there was the thing. It was more dangerous outside than in so we just waited a few minutes with our hearts in our mouths, and then news came that they had gone. It had only lasted twenty minutes, but they had done plenty of damage. It’s marvellous that we should have escaped, and we feel very thankful I can assure you. But the awful feeling while it lasted! I haven’t pulled myself together yet.
You should have seen the people clearing out of the town during the morning; the cabs were busy and the station packed. We have got a trophy – a piece of shell which went clean through the middle of our washhouse door; and the house two doors from us has the chimneys and the roof all down so we almost feel as if our escape was miraculous. However, I hope the worst is over, and that we have no more of it. I never thought they could have got so near, but expected they did so in the fog.”
30 December 1914 : "FORMER RAUNDS VICAR’S NARROW ESCAPE"
The Rev A E Oldroyd, Vicar of St James, West Hampstead, and formerly Vicar of Raunds and Oundle, experienced a narrow escape during the recent bombardment of Scarborough. He and his wife were staying at his father in law’s house which was struck by 2 shells. These did considerable damage to the building and severely injured a maidservant.
Official records show that it was the German First High Seas Fleet under Admiral Franz von Hipper who bombarded Hartlepool, Whitby, and Scarborough on the 16th December 1914 killing 137 civilians and wounding 592. In response, British coastal defence batteries damaged three ships including the heavy cruiser “Blucher”.