An article from the Scarborough Pictorial 23rd December 1914, entitled "A SOLDIER'S STORY. Visit to parents disturbed. Graphic account of bombardment".
A story, remarkable for its clearness and wealth of detail, was told to a representative of the "Daily Telegraph" on Wednesday by Colour-sergeant Johnstone, of the Kings Royal Rifles, stationed at Sheerness, who arrived at Kings Cross on Wednesday from a visit to his parents in Scarborough.
The Colour-sergeant, whose father is a retired police detective inspector, was at Sheerness when the Bulwark was blown up. This is the story he told of the Scarborough bombardment.
I had breakfast with my people somewhere about 7-20, and, having collected one or two parcels and wished them "goodbye," he left the house shortly before eight o'clock.
The morning was dull, rather hazy you would call it, but for the time of year not so dark as you would suppose. I had not left Rothbury Street more than a few minutes, when I HEARD AN EXPLOSION
At first, I could scarcely believe that it was anything but firing at sea, but when there was another crash I realised that something out of the ordinary was happening. So, I rushed back to our house, and, as I expected, found my father and mother in a serious state of nerves.
The were not sure whether the noise, which was still going on, was thunder, and were in that state of mind to think that it was nothing worse. I new it was no thunder, but I did not wish to alarm them. I told them that there was some firing at sea- a sort of practice - but that it would be just as well if they sat tight. Then I left and made my way to the railway station, for my leave was up, and I was due back to Sheerness in the afternoon.
I had not gone far when the fragments of shell brought A CHIMNEY POT TOPPLING OVER in Barwick street. Crash it came when I was walking along.
"The experience, though it led to my wondering what was going to happen, did not scare me, for a reason which I cannot explain. It was a fascinating experience. I determined to take full stock of things. "Bang, bang, bang" I heard the guns go, and I counted 17 distinct and separate explosions.
I saw two houses inn West Square struck and demolished, but, so far as I could make out, the firing was out of range that is, if the purpose was to damage the town, for the rest must have fallen in the suburbs.
The excitement, as you may suppose, was tremendous, and, as it may seem, people came rushing from everywhere, making for what seemed to be a place of safety. The majority of these were women of the working classes, and most of them rushed along the street with their hair disordered.
Many of them had their children with them, and most of THE LITTLE ONES were crying. Not a few were without shoes and stockings. They made for the railway station, and their condition forced home the realities of war, as nothing else has done or could do.
These people came from Seamer and all the little places round about, "as I said, it was shortly before eight o'clock that the first shot was fired. The last fell half an hour later. The flash of the explosives was quite distinct. Precisely what damage was done I cannot, of course, say, for I was due to leave Scarborough at 8-30."