Video

Aberdeen Blitz WW2

Aberdeen Blitz WW2
  • Description

    Lorna MacCallum was at a concert at the Music Hall on the night of Aberdeen’s blitz with her mother, brother and sister. Her father who was in the Home Guard was away at the Torry Battery with the Boys Brigade that night. After the concert ended and they were out on Union Street, they saw a German plane. “We all scattered and ended up in the air raid shelters up and down Union Street. Nobody knew what had happened”. When they came up, her mother was keen to get home and they started to walk back home, but there was more bombing, and someone shouted at them to come in and they ended up down below the Majestic Cinema. Lorna remembers a young man putting his arm around her and she felt much safer. She was trembling. When they came out they could see fires in the distance and they were worried about her father and the boys her was with. But he was all ok and safe. Lorna said, “as long as you had your mother and your father you were ok”. Her parents told her “when the sirens went off to come home, no one else’s home but our home. And we did”.

  • Transcript
    Well, I’ve got lots of memories of the Music Hall, connected with different things, through the years.

    The main one I was talking about today was the annual boys brigade display - which they did every year in the music hall, the different companies from Aberdeen - and this happened the night of what we call the Aberdeen blitz.
    And when the Germans came in unannounced, there was no time to warn people. So we were in the music hall: my father was connected with one of the boys’ brigade companies, so I was with my mother, my sister and my brother.
    It was the usual display, it was lovely, and we were sitting, can’t remember, round about I think, but I do remember people in the balcony.

    Towards the story, I remember I must have been having a look around, and I saw Tommy Mitchell, the provost, was there, in the front in his usual army uniform he always wore, as it was during the war.

    And somebody came and spoke to him, halfway through - near the end of, or halfway through the program - and he went out, and I didn’t think anything more about it.

    After the program, we left - my mother, my brother and my sister - to walk up Union Street. We were going home on our own; my father was taking some of the boys home somewhere else.
    And we were just out, walking up, and all of a sudden: pssswwwt! Down Union Street came [chuckles] what turned out to be a German plane firing tracer bullets.
    Pew pew pew - I can see them yet - pew pew pew - right in front of us. Ah! They missed us. And somebody shouted, “come in here”, so we were down in the depths of one of the bakers I think it was at that time.

    We got home eventually, but nobody knew there’d been - there hadn’t been - an air raid warning. Then once we were downstairs everyone decided they’d better just get going again, we weren’t sure what had happened. You could just see everything was stopped - tram cars, and buses.

    Then we went up Union Street further, and somebody - [chuckles] nothing towards us - another bang or two and somebody landed up underneath The Majestic - I think it was The Majestic cinema, further up the depths there.
    Eventually we got home and discovered next day what it was all about. I must have been about seven or eight. I don't think - I don’t have memories of any air raid shelters - but underneath the buildings, you could shelter there, I assume.
    And most churches had air raid shelters that you could go to.

    And they used to come to the door if you had a light showing - ring the bell: “you’ve got a light showing” - cause you had blackouts in those days. [Chuckles]. They used to let you know if there was a light showing, in your - out of your house, things like that.
Details

Film:

2016