An article from Scarborough's Mercury 16th December 1915 entitled "BOMBARDMENT OF SCARBOROUGH"
"A surprise attack, in order to be justified, must be made in the first place on the armed forces of the hostile state, not on peaceful inhabitants" F Von Bernhardi
It is a year since "The Day," when German warships bombarded Scarborough, and residents would regard as poetic justice a big enemy defeat by way of celebrating the anniversary. The events of December 16th 1914, stand out so clearly in the memory of most residents that their recollections will need little stimulus to conjure up the tragic happenings. Shortly after eight o'clock on the fateful morning there loomed out of the fog four warships. Although they approached the town more closely than vessels of the same type usually do they were not suspected of being enemy ships, at least by the average eye-witness, and even when the ships' guns began to boom out it was not at once realised that an attack on the town was being made. In proof of this it only needs to be said that numbers of people, in order to obtain a good view of what they thought was a naval battle, took up positions which they afterwards recognised placed them in great peril.
Before long the dreadful fact that, in spite of the vigilance of the British Fleet, enemy ships had got across the North Sea in the fog, and were shelling the town became apparent, and when buildings were seen to be struck at widely separated points it dawned upon the inhabitants that they were witnessing an outrage - an open town was being bombarded, and the law of nations broken. It was small wonder that there were speeches and that in those tragic moments some were very betrayed into reproaching the British Navy. Such an attack was utterly unexpected, and at that time the dimensions of the war so little understood that a broad view of the operations involved and the duties imposed on the British warships was scarcely possible to those concerned in such a unique experience as Scarborough passed through.
We may pause here to say that nowhere more than in Scarborough is the work of the British Fleet more admired and the unreasonableness of blaming the navy for failure to stop the raid is apparent here. Nineteen people were killed, and many injured, at least two of the latter have not yet recovered. The damage to property was very extensive, and the historic castle wall was badly battered, while such conspicuous buildings as the Grand Hotel and the Town Hall were hit and shells fell into the Spa grounds. The old barracks on the Castle Hill was wrecked, a fact to which our picture attests. The Marine Drive did not escape. The first object of the Germans was evidently to destroy the signal station on the Castle Hill. Fortunately, those on duty succeeded in notifying the arrival of the ships directly they appeared. It was afterwards declared on good authority that British warships sent to cut off the raiders only failed by a few minutes, the fog being a serious handicap to the pursuers. The bombardment of Scarborough lasted from about five minutes past eight to 8-35, with an interval of about five minutes. The gunnery was very indifferent, and the shells, between 500 and 600, were scattered in reckless fashion. The attempt to dismantle the wireless station failed. Several churches were suffered, and the Hospital was also hit. Considering the terrible character of the experience the conduct of the inhabitants was commendable.
After the bombardment, however, a number of people took up their residence in other places. This exodus undoubtedly added seriously to the loss sustained by the town. Sympathy was expressed for Scarborough in most neutral and allied countries, and the town certainly attained a celebrity as a result of the raid which not even its many charms had given it. Welcome news since the bombardment was the Government's decision to compensate those whose property was damaged, and the announcement that a substantial grant from a Canadian source would be made to sufferers of the war. Further pleasing intelligence was the sinking of the Bluecher, generally thought to have been involved in the raid, on a memorable Sunday morning some months after the bombardment. There have been no German raids since the destruction of the Bluecher in what is known as "Beattie's battle." "Remember Scarborough" was the title of a recruiting poster (the original of which was presented to the town by the artist) which proved a stimulus to enrolment.