Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Forth Bridge in 1939

This amazing photograph was taken on
16th October 1939, the Second World War arrived in Britain by way of Scotland and more precisely Edinburgh when nine Junkers Ju-88 attacked the Rosyth Naval Dockyard, on the north shore of the Firth of Forth; it was the first attack on Britain by the Luftwaffe.

Around 2.30 p.m. the German aircraft were sighted, and Spitfires of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force, were scrambled from RAF Turnhouse (the site of modern day Edinburgh airport) to intercept the raiders. Additionally Spitfires from 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, based at RAF Drem located to the east of Edinburgh, in East Lothian, were on patrol at 20,000 feet.

At around 14.35 hours, the Luftwaffe bombers began their attack and were met with anti-aircraft fire. The Spitfires of 603 Squadron that had taken off from Turnhouse were the first to engage the Junkers and soon shot down one of the bombers. The Spitfires from 602 Squadron were then ordered into the attack and they shot down another. During the action the Royal Navy suffered 3 officers and 13 ratings killed and a further 44 wounded on board the light cruisers, HMS Southampton and Edinburgh, and the destroyer HMS Mohawk. There were also two people injured on the ground in Edinburgh by falling shell cases.

4 comments:

jams o donnell said...

That is a stunning photo and a n interesting piece of history. THanks for sharing

Raymond said...

The intersting fact Richard omitted to mention was the proaganda use of the photo made by the Germans, who claimed it showed a direct hit on the Forth Bridge. The apparent 'smoke' is of course the island of Inch Garvie.

r morris said...

Is this pre-attack, during the attack, or after the attack?

Richard Havers said...

Not 100% sure Rob, but I think it's during....