On 16th December 1914, the first year of World War One, five battle cruisers from First High Seas Fleet went on to bomb the towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, also taking Whitby in the carnage. Under the cover of darkness, the German naval group set upon some of the most used docks in Britain.
Derfflinger and Von Derr Tann headed south on course to Scarborough as the three remaining ships headed to Hartlepool. The two battle cruisers began covering Scarborough in shells hitting the Grand Hotel, three churches, and various homes and business were also hit, the frightened people of Scarborough fled to the train station for cover and stayed until the carnage stopped at 9.30. but the Germans weren’t finished yet
Defflinger and Von Derr Tann began their journey to Whitby, with smoke bellowing from the funnels they set upon the small Yorkshire coast town and with the captain’s order “Feuer Geben!” and with those two words the ships began shelling Whitby. The damage extended to a coastguard station, Whitby Abbey, and other buildings throughout Whitby.
Over the whole day over one thousand shells were fired which unfortunately killed 130 of the brave souls of Whitby, Scarborough, and Hartlepool, and wounding another 592. The raid had an enormous effect on the British public, terrorising them because of how close to home the raid was, it wasn’t surprising that they feared what would come. A famous campaign began to draft more soldiers into the war with the tagline “Remember Scarborough” it even made newspapers in America.