Golden Jubilee Brochure
Store Views (1)
Store Views (2)
Fire of 1940
Notes & Links
Destructive Blaze in North-East
Newspaper report – November 1940
The most destructive fire that ever occurred at a North-east of Scotland town occurred last night and caused damage roughly estimated at £50,000. It broke out about seven o'clock, and the conflagration, which must have been seen for fifty miles around, did not fail to attract an enemy bomber, which let fly a high explosive bomb. The fire originated in the premises of a large department stores.
Fire Leads to Bombing Attack – Brutal Raid on N.E. Town
Newspaper report – 12 November 1940
A big fire in a North-East Scottish town led to a brutal attack by an enemy raider last week. Women and children were among those killed when the bombs dropped on a block of houses and shops a short distance from the scene of the fire. A large crowd was attracted to the scene when the fire broke out, in spite of the risk from enemy bombers known to be in the vicinity, and it is surmised that had the raider not already dropped part of his load the casualties might have been much more severe. A darts match was in progress in a public house and many of the victims were men who had been watching the play.
by Robert [firstname.lastname@example.org]
My mother well remembers the night they bombed the Commercial Bar. She was living in the Old Police Buildings with her mother and sisters. Sergeant Dick Sim was on duty at Benzie and Millers on Mid Street, which had been set alight by the chain-bomb. He had been sent to stop the looters who were using prams to escape with the spoils.
Eric Rennie - born in 1932 and lived in Fraserburgh for 21 years.
What I can remember 1939 when the war broke out. Went to the pictures and saw it on the movie news, the Pathe News, bombing in London. We used to think, "They'll never bomb Fraserburgh, little wee village like us, a town." And I think it was about a year later the Heinkels appeared, they started bombing. This was exciting, this. The bombs got nearer the house and the house started shaking, "Oh my Goodness. This is terrible."
The bombers used to come in after having a go at the convoy, they used to sweep in, skimming the water - I'm exaggerating but you could see the bombs coming in. Used to watch the Heinkels coming in, that's a Heinkel German bomber, you'd see a gunner right in the nose, used to lie flat on the stomach - and just machine-gun the pavements.
I think it was way back in 1940, 5th November Guy Fawkes Night, we had the biggest blaze I think in Europe. I wasn't exactly sound asleep, I must have been just on the verge of sleeping and I noticed something, a glow coming through the curtains. And during the war no lights should be shown coming out of the house, and the best light was coming through. And a rap comes to the window, you can see the window from here, second window on the ground floor. And I'm not sure if it was George Ironside, but I'm sure it was, he says, "The town's on fire." So I climbed out of the window, got dressed, come out the window, cut across the gardens. By the time we got down to the bottom it was all cordoned off with soldiers, police. And we got through, worked our way through the crowds to the front and we saw the Commercial Bar obliterated and this soldier turned round and asked us, "What are you two laddies doing out here at this time of night?" And we said our house was bombed and of course he was so apologetic and he says, "I'm sorry, laddies." We realised we'd better get home and it wasn't long after that the police came up and said there was an unexploded bomb across the street, so I was evacuated to a house down in Pennyduff Road.
All this area was blasted, flattened. You couldn't see the street for rubble. Where Woolworth's stands now was the Commercial Bar with a few shops alongside. Of course the German Heinkel one-eleven bombers came in, bombed the Commercial Bar here, there was 34 people killed and over 50 injured. It was the night I sneaked out. It was down there I saw things going on. People being taken injured, out of the rubble and laid on wooden stretchers.