Winston Churchill's letter to Scarborough after the German bombardment of Scarborough in 1914.
The first official explanation came from the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr Winston Churchill) in a letter to the Mayor (Mr CC Graham) in which he said:
Dear Mr Mayor,
I send you a message of sympathy not only on my own account but on behalf of the Navy, in the losses Scarborough has sustained. We mourn with you the peaceful inhabitants who have been killed or maimed, and particularly the women and children. We admire the dignity and fortitude with which Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool have confronted outrage. We share your disappointment that the miscreants escaped unpunished. We await with patience the opportunity that will surely come.
...We see a nation of military calculators throwing calculations to the wind, of strategists who have lost their sense of proportion, of schemers who have lost their sense of proportion, of schemers who have ceased to balance loss and gain.
Practically the whole fast cruiser force of the German Navy, including many great ships vital to their fleet and utterly irreplaceable, has been risked for the passing pleasure of killing as many English people as possible, irrespective of sex, age, or condition, in the limit of time available. To this act of military and political folly they were impelled by a violence or feeling which could find no other vent.
It is very satisfactory, and should confirm us in our course. Their hate is the measure of their fear. Its senseless expression is a proof of their dishonour. Whatever feats of arms the German navy may hereafter perform the stigma of the baby-killers of Scarborough will brand its officers and men while sailors sail the sea.
MAYORS REPLY - "SCARBRO' HAS TAKEN HER PART - THE SAILORS CONSCIENCES - IRON CROSSES AND KING HEROD
The Mayor Mr CC Graham, today (Monday) sent the following letter to Mr Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, in reply to one which was received by the mayor:-
The Mayor's Parour, Town Hall, Scarbro', 21st December 1914
BOMBARDMENT OF SCARBOROUGH
On behalf of the inhabitants of Scarborough I have to thank you for the kind messages of sympathy conveyed in your letter to me of the 20th inst., and which will be greatly appreciated.
It is evident that the enemy did not dare to face our fleet, and so attacked this undefended town. In this way Scarborough has taken her part in this great struggle that is now proceeding. Whilst we deplore the loss of life and property, mourn for our dead and sympathise with our wounded, we are nevertheless, as fully determined as ever that war must be fought to a successful finish.
Our surprise at the attack was the greater as we were led to believe from the conduct of the plucky commander of the Emden that German sailors understood something about the glorious old traditions of the sea. It is evident from our experience of Wednesday that this is not so. Some new comers into the honourable professions first learn the tricks and lastly the traditions. As their commanders get older in the service, they will find that an Iron Cross pinned on their chest even by King Herod, will not shield them from the shafts of shame and dishonour. - Again I thank you for your letter.
Yours faithfully, CC Graham (Mayor)