Forth Bridge Raid, 16 October 1939

John Furnevel

The centrepiece of a week of celebrations to mark the 125th anniversary of the Forth Bridge took place on Wednesday 4th March 2015. This included an event recalling the 'Forth Bridge raid' by the Luftwaffe on 16 October 1939, a few months before the bridge's 50th anniversary. The main target of the raid was the Royal Naval Base at Rosyth and the various British warships in the vicinity at that time. 
The highlight of the commemorative event on 4 March featured a replica Spitfire flying over the bridge.

Forth Bridge: Part of the 'Forth Bridge 125' celebrations included an event recalling the 'Forth Bridge raid' carried out by the Lufwaffe on 16 October 1939. The commemorative event, which took place on 4 March, featured a replica Spitfire flying over the bridge - seen here from South Queensferry. Below the bridge is Inchgarvie, a gun emplacement during WW2, providing protection for the bridge and the nearby Rosyth Naval Base (the target of the 1939 raid). Inchgarvie is said to resemble (from the air) a British Navy Battleship. Please yourself. John Furnevel 04/03/2015

Edward Thomson, an eye witness who was 10-years-old and travelling by train over the Forth Bridge at the time of the raid recalls:
'On the 16th October 1939 I was a passenger on the Dundee section of an Edinburgh to Aberdeen train which had just entered the first arch at the southern end of the Forth Bridge. The next stop was to be Leuchars Junction.
I was in the corridor with an older boy called Jack Thomas from Edinburgh. We were looking downstream to the right of the carriage and were trying to identify some of the fleet at anchor below the bridge. 
Almost simultaneously there was a giant waterspout as high as the bridge alongside one of the capital ships and a barge tied up alongside; it seemed to fly up in the air! The German bombers were in plain sight only a short distance away flying parallel to the bridge. Meanwhile the train stopped briefly and as it did so the painters and riggers working scrambled from the scaffolding of the bridge and made for shelter.
The train carried on without futher incident, only by this time RAF Spitfires had become involved and had driven the raiders out towards the sea.'