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Historians search for descendants of German shelling casualties in Scarborough

Organisers of events commemorating the bombardment of Scarborough in 1914 are eager to track down any living relatives of the eighteen people that died at the hands of the German shells in the town so they can be invited to the Bombardment Commemoration Day.

Scarborough became the site of the first attack of the First World War on British soil on 16 December 1914 Credit: Topography/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

Scarborough became the site of the first attack of the First World War on British soil on 16 December 1914. Two German battlecruisers opened fire on the town, hitting the castle and the Grand Hotel in a 30-minute bombardment. They continued north, firing on Whitby and Hartlepool killing 137 people and injuring 592.

In total, seventeen people died on 16 December 2014 and one more died of wounds a short time later. The Falsgrave Road and Gladstone Road areas of town had almost half of the fatalities.

Scarborough became the site of the first attack of the First World War on British soil on 16 December 1914 Credit: Topography/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

The day is being remembered in the town with a civic ceremony. A maroon will be fired from Scarborough Castle, to simulate the 1914 attack, after the name of each individual that perished is read out. Scarborough Castle will also be lit up during the ceremony and a flotilla of boats will be stationed outside the harbour.

Scarborough became the site of the first attack of the First World War on British soil on 16 December 1914 Credit: Topography/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

Later, the Friends of Dean Road and Manor Road Cemetery and invited guests, which will include 18 local school children, will lay a wreath on a newly constructed commemorative cairn at the cemetery.

John Shields Ryalls, aged 14 months, one of the youngest victims of the bombardment on the 16th December 1914, in the arms of Miss Bertha MacIntyre, who was killed at the same time. Credit: S&G/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive

So far, searches have only thrown up leads on relatives of three of the eighteen people that lost their lives and so a renewed attempt to find people with a family connection to those that died has been launched.

A full list of the 18 victims is below:

  • Leonard Ellis, porter, (age 47) Londesborough Road
  • Harry Frith, delivery driver, (age 45),1 Bedford Street
  • Alfred Beal, postman, (age 41) 50 Raleigh Street
  • Margaret Briggs, maid, (age 29) Filey Road
  • John Shields Ryalls (age 14 Months) 22 Westbourne Park
  • Miss Bertha McIntyre, insurance agent, (age 42) 22 Westbourne Park
  • Mrs Johanna Bennett, housewife, (age 58) 22 Westbourne Park
  • Albert Bennett, driver with army, (age 22) 2 Wykeham Street
  • John Christopher H Ward (age 9) 2 Wykeham Street
  • George James Barnes (age 9) 2 Wykeham Street
  • John Hall, architect, (age 65) 28 Westbourne Park
  • Mrs Emily Lois Merryweather (age 30) 43 Prospect Road
  • George Harland Taylor, boy scout, (age 15) 45 North Street
  • Mrs Mary Prew, widow, (age 60) 17a Belle Vue Street
  • Mrs Ada Crow, maid, (age 28) 124 Falsgrave Road
  • Miss Edith Crosby, maid, (age 39) 1 Belvedere Road
  • Mrs Alice Duffield, housewife, (age 38) Esplanade
  • Mr Harry Harland, shoemaker - died a few days later in hospital

Anyone who might be able to help is asked to get in contact with Jan Cleary at the Friends of Dean Road and Manor Road Cemetery by emailing scarboroughcemeteries@googlemail.com or Mark Vasey at Scarborough Maritime and Heritage Centre by emailing sarboroughmaritime@yahoo.com

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