Battle of the River Forth – Germany’s First Air Attack on Britain of WW2

First Luftwaffe Air Raid of World War 2

October 1939 and Scotland saw the first Luftwaffe Air Raid of World War 2.
On 3rd September 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany. Britain’s armed forces of soldiers, sailors and airmen were mobilised and sent to take on the might of the German war machine.
The residents of Scotland could be forgiven for thinking that this war was taking place many miles from home but on 16th October 1939 they would be proved very wrong.
On a bright Monday morning, the war arrived in Scotland on the Firth of Forth.
The Firth of Forth has long been a safe port for the Royal Navy with the Naval Base and Dockyard at Rosyth on the north bank of the Forth.
On 16th October, a reconnaissance mission of German Heinkel He111s thought they had spotted Battlecruiser HMS Hood in the estuary and a squadron of Junkers Ju 88 bombers were hastily armed and readied for flight.
It was in fact HMS Repulse that had been spotted but the Junkers Ju88 bombers still attacked HMS Mohawk and HMS Southampton that were at anchor close to the Forth Bridge.
Royal Auxiliary Air Force spitfires of 602 City of Glasgow Sqn and 603 City of Edinburgh Squadron stood in the way of what would become the very first time the Luftwaffe would attack Britain during World War 2.


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