Life in Newburgh on Ythan

By Talpa

No 54 Broad Street

A very ordinary photograph of a house - but there is a real devil in the detail.

The town is Peterhead, the street is Broad Street  and the house in the centre of the photograph is number 54. You will notice that the roof of no 54 is decorated with ornate ridge tiles except for a length next to the chimney stack.

On September 29th, 1941 the Luftwaffe mounted an air raid on the naval base at Peterhead harbour. A 2-tonne parachute mine missed its target and fell on nearby houses in James Street. The piano from no 9 was hurled high into the air and crashed onto the roof of no 54 Broad Street. War time shortages meant that only plain ridge tiles were available for the repair.

Extra. James Street. Earlier that evening the children of James Street had held a concert and raised £10 for charity. Shortly after they returned home the bombs fell and devastated the street; 30 people were killed, including many of the children, several families were wiped out. (The devastation can be seen in this wartime photograph). One mother had sent her son to his room, because of his misbehaviour, just before the bombs dropped. He was to be the only survivor from his family. Those missing ridge tiles are a silent memorial to a shocking wartime tragedy that traumatised the local community.

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