The destruction of No. 15 – Wartime Bombings
Fraserburgh was a prosperous place until the Great 1914-18 war in Europe, when the loss of young men in battle, followed by decline in the herring trade slowed development. Nevertheless the fine buildings of the 19th Century meant that the Broch was still a good-looking place.
Pictures from this period show Commerce Street with the well-appointed Gardens of the Union Bank in the foreground. Frustratingly, No 15 is just out of sight behind the bank.
The Town however was to suffer greatly in the Second World War.
The factories of the Consolidated Pneumatic Tool, as well as passing merchant convoys, were targeted by German bombers between July 1940 and April 1943. During 17 raids, 53 people were killed and over 300 injured.
Extensive damage occurred to buildings in the town, including some along School Street, Castle Street, Commerce Street. The worst
single attack was a direct hit on The Commercial Bar on Broad Street, next to the Parish Church (now Iceland) in which 34 people were killed.
The Glover house was one of those destroyed. An abridged extract from ‘Air Raids In Fraserburgh 1940-43’ – a transcription of Police Sgt Thomson’s notes* reads:
“At 02.18 hrs on Thursday 26th June, 1941 a low level attack was made on Fraserburgh by a single German aeroplane….…two HE bombs believed to be about 500kg were dropped.
A crater of 51 feet in diameter 20 feet deep was formed in the garden at Union Bank Premises…. the buildings of which were partly demolished.
Another…. in the garden at rear of house, 17 Commerce Street, demolishing that house and also no 19.
Buildings in the vicinity were also badly damaged. Three people were trapped in the wrecked houses and others were injured, several by stones penetrating the roofs of their houses.
The casualties consisted of 2 killed and 14 injured.”
*produced by Fraserburgh Academy as part of ‘The Broch, Broadsea and Beyond’ Project.
A photo taken some years later shows the extent of the damage.
Despite some rebuilding, Fraserburgh was never quite the same again – and some wartime gap sites have never been filled.
15 Commerce Street was demolished, and the plot has lain empty ever since.
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