Lest we forget: The Bombardment of Scarborough remembered 100 years on

145109a'Bombardment Service at the Town Hall'Watching the flotilla with the new  bench in the town hall gardens'Picture by Neil Silk'16/12/14
145109a'Bombardment Service at the Town Hall'Watching the flotilla with the new bench in the town hall gardens'Picture by Neil Silk'16/12/14

The people of Scarborough came together today to remember the devastating World War One Bombardment of the town 100 years ago.

The town’s sacrifices were remembered in a series of special ceremonies and events as it commemorated the centenary of the shelling, which left 18 people dead and around 200 injured.

The day of remembrance began with a poignant civic ceremony in the Town Hall gardens at 7.55am - just before the time a century ago when the first German shells were fired.

As the sun rose, casting a golden light over the service, more than 150 people gathered to hear the story of the Bombardment.

The ceremony also included a special poem, read out by the Mayor of Scarborough, Cllr Pat Marsburg, called Absent Friends by Scarborough poet Tom W Ward.

The Formal Act of Remembrance also included the Royal British Legion Exhortation, Last Post, two-minute silence, Reveille and the Epitaph.

School children from Gladstone Road Primary School, which suffered significant damage during the raid, attached 18 handmade poppies, one to mark each loss of life, to a new commemorative bench.

And a maroon was fired from Scarborough Castle after the name of each of the victims was read out by the leader of Scarborough Council, Tom Fox.

Outside the harbour a flotilla of boats, organised by the RNLI and Scarborough Yacht Club, fired flares and wreaths were placed on the water.

At the end of the ceremony 18 white doves were released to represent each of the victims who were killed in the shelling.

Another service was held at a packed St Mary’s Church at 11am, where wreaths were laid by two special guests from Germany: Dr Jann M Witt, from Deutscher Marinebund, the German Naval Association, and Commander Jan Hackstein, German Attache, on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany. Wreaths were also be laid by the Mayor, the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Mr Barry Dodd CBE, and Mark Vesey, chairman of the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre in memory of the 100 civilian mariners who lost their lives as a result of mines laid during the Bombardment.

At 1.30pm the Friends of Dean Road and Manor Road Cemetery and guests, which included 18 children from Barrowcliff School, laid a wreath on a newly-constructed commemorative cairn at the cemetery, where 17 of the victims of the Bombardment are buried, many in unmarked graves. The Friends group found all the graves, using recording work done previously, and several of them have been restored.

The final event was held at Scarborough Castle, which was hit by shells whilst operating as a barracks.

The keep was lit up with a large poppy and a choir sang by candlelight. The Mayor of Scarborough made a closing remembrance speech, followed by a two-minute silence.

A beacon of light then illuminated the night sky as the day came to a close and church bells rang out across the town.

• See this week’s Scarborough News for photographs from today’s events