Royal Hotel Bombing

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Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby gizmo » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:04 pm

I heard years ago that one of the German airmen involved in the bombing had Campbeltown connections but never knew if this was the case. However I was told today the man in question had been a pupil at the Grammar and left school in approx 1937 and returned to Germany, apparently his mother worked as a seamstress where the hydro board shop is now. Can anyone confirm any of this or ideally come up with a name for this man.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby hugh » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:47 am

A German pilot? That'll be Otto.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby jamiemcivor » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:22 pm

This is one of the classic stories in local folklore... and totally without foundation! It's a disgrace that the Kintyre - The Mainland Island display opposite Aqualibrium repeats the story as fact. (Sorry - bugbear of mine as a historian by education. Grr.)

Anyway, a few years ago I attended an excellent lecture at the Ardshiel Hotel given by Admiral Mayo's son. He did a great deal of research about Campbeltown during the war and had even checked some surviving German archives.

His research showed that when Campbeltown was bombed in November 1940 - the time the Royal Hotel was damaged - it was almost certainly as a "target of opportunity" - in other words the Germans hadn't deliberately chosen to attack the town, it simply presented itself to a lost pilot.

The German archives had no record of an attack on Campbeltown that night but noted that bombs were dropped on Rhum by Kinloch Castle. Interestingly, if you look at a map you can see certain similarities between Rhum and the southern part of Kintyre... and, at a pinch, Kinloch Castle is not completely unlike the Royal Hotel. So you can see how a lost pilot, trying to work out where he had dropped his bombs hours after he had landed, could have thought he was actually attacking Rhum.

Certainly another piece of local folklore is that the Nazi propaganda broadcaster Lord Haw-Haw announced the night after the raid on Campbeltown that Kinloch Castle had been bombed. Naturally, a lot of people in the town took the name Kinloch to mean Campbeltown!

When Campbeltown was bombed in February 1941, the town was actually picked as a target in advance.

However the story about the pilot having attended the Grammar School seems to be just one of those local tales which has come to be regarded as true simply because so many people have heard it. There's nothing to actually back it up.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby smee » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:27 pm

Well said Jamie.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby jamiemcivor » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:11 pm

I'm doing a piece later this month about a chap who's written a book about all the small-scale air raids on Scottish towns and villages which would never have expected to have been bombed - I think he's the first to try to draw together these stories into some kind of narrative.

Does anybody know where I might be able to get a picture of the Royal Hotel and Victoria Hall after the air raid which we'd be able to use: ie where we know who owns the pic so there's no risk of a copyright problem.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby minsyb » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:01 pm

The Diner on Bolgam Street has a framed picture of the Royal Hotel following the bombings on their wall. :)
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby Ship called Dignity » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:45 pm

Jamie, found this too

http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/ ... ?content=2

Memories of air-raids on Campbeltown - Transcript

Memories of Campbeltown air-raids by residents who were interviewed in 1988 by pupils of Campbeltown Grammar School

"A German bomber flew over Campbeltown Loch and bombed the Royal Hotel and Victoria Hall. It machine-gunned Kinloch Road, killing a lorry driver. Then it continued out the Machrihanish airport(1) which was being constructed and dropped what they call a 'stick of bombs' along the Burma Road.

Four bombs were dropped altogether and they left big craters in the farmer's field. The workmen who travelled to and from work in lorries were very lucky as their stopping time was brought forward by half an hour that week owing to the changing of the clock. There would have been between two and three hundred men in these lorries."
N Brown (Drumlemble)

"Campbeltown had at least two raids. During the first I actually saw the aircraft as I was going to the pictures and my father and aunt escaped injury as he strafed the streets with gun fire.

The other time my sister was in bed with the measles and my mother put my brothers and me below the bed for safety. I remember seeing the town lit up with fires and the sound of ack-ack fire from the ships in the harbour. The next day most of the shops in the town had no windows."
Isobel McConachie (Campbeltown)

"It was terrifying one dark winter evening when a single enemy aircraft flew low along the loch dropping its bombs. At this time there were lots of naval ships and submarines in the loch. One of the bombs landed at Trench Point demolishing a house and killing a man.

The plane continued its devastation, machine gunning along the sea front - again a man was killed in the cabin of his lorry. I remember my father rushing out to look for my two younger brothers, they were in the cinema safe and sound, although shaken."
Mary Smith (Campbeltown)

(1)Machrihanish: Machrihanish airport was an important RAF base during the war.

Transript of interviews conducted with pupils of Campbeltown Grammar School, 1988
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby petewick » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:54 am

[

(1)Machrihanish: Machrihanish airport was an important RAF base during the war.

[/quote]


Machrihanish was actually a Fleet Air Arm base in WW2
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby gizmo » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Can you recall the name of the base during WW2?.... No googling.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby howlsatthemoon » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:33 pm

I think it was called HMS Landrail
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby EMDEE » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:49 pm

HMS Nimrod comes to mind as well. :?
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby howlsatthemoon » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:58 pm

Was HMS Nimrod not the houses at Princess st., John st. & Queen st. I think the navy used them as some sort of training camp.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby Malky » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:02 pm

I seem to remember being told that HMS Nimrod was at the Community Centre? It would have been the original Grammar School at the time.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby howlsatthemoon » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:11 pm

Malky give yourself a coconut :D

From Secret Scotland website:


HMS Nimrod was located in the original Campbeltown Grammar School (now believed to be a further education centre), and extensive building took place in an area to the south of the existing buildings. The administration was located in Stronvaar House, adjacent to a disused railway cutting. In the 1940s, Stronvaar Avenue was only a muddy track behind the houses on Kilkerran Road. Council flats, which had not been completed at the beginning of the war, were used as accommodation blocks, and may have been known as HMS Nimrod B. WRNS personnel were accommodated in Ardnacraig House, on Limecraigs Road off Kilkerran Road, in Limecraigs House, and in a group of Nissen huts built on the Quarry Green at the Kilkerran Road end of the Limecraigs Road.
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Re: Royal Hotel Bombing

Postby EMDEE » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:19 pm

Just checked The Campbeltown Book and there is quite a comprehensive note about HMS Nimrod. It appears to have been a very important training centre for anti-submarine warfare. It was indeed in the old Grammar School, and large private houses in the vicinity were taken over for admin and accomodation, and the Argyll and White Hart Hotels were used as officers messes. It also states that "the newly completed Council houses overlooking Kinloch Park were requisitioned and became known as "Nimrod B"". Presumably these are the houses referred to above by howlsatthemoon.
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