On this day in 1916 the German Navy’s battle cruisers bombarded the north east of England.
The Germans had hoped that the raid would draw out the Royal Navy’s capital ships in pursuit of the raiders and so forcing them into engaging in a sea battle. Their tactic was for a large number of ships of the German High Seas Fleet to join the fight by following on behind.
The British force, however, managed to avoid being drawn into an unbalanced fight with the bulk of the German fleet. Unfortunately for the towns attacked, signalling errors and deteriorating weather meant that the raiding ships managed to slip the Royal Navy’s attempt to intercept them. The tragedy was that nearly 140 people – predominantly civilians – were killed and 600 were injured.
Searching TheGenealogist website, I have found a contemporary report in one of the newspapers and magazines on this site which give a flavour of how enemy actions were reported in Britain. The Great War periodical gives us the sense of British outrage, at the time, under the no holds bared title of Crimes Germany has committed.
“The Bombardment by German warships of the coast towns of Scarborough, Whitby, and the Hartlepools, on the morning of December 16th, 1914, was a murderous act of barbarism.”
“A Berlin newspaper proclaimed this wholesale slaughter to be ‘a further proof of the gallantry of the German Navy”
If you are researching ancestors from the First World War then the articles in these publications on TheGenealogist can be very useful to fill in background and sometimes find an ancestor named in a report.
The late TV astronomer Sir Patrick Moore had built up an extensive personal archive of objects and written material including some of the draft scripts and memorabilia from the BBC programme The Sky at Night.
It has been announced that Sir Patrick’s collection has now been acquired by the Science Museum to preserve them. They will be kept at the Science Museum Library and Archives at Wroughton in Wiltshire.
If your surname reveals that your family came over from Normandy, the last time that England was conquered, then even today you are more likely to be upper class than the average member of the population in Britain. Quite astonishingly, the social status of your ancestors has more influence on your life chances than on your height. Normans recorded as property owners in the Domesday book of 1086 are 16 times more likely to be at Oxford or Cambridge in 1170 and still 25% more likely that their ancestors are there today.
Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis and Neil Cummins from the London School of Economics have published an article in the Journal of Human Nature that shows that social mobility from 1170 to 2012 has always been slow and even now is not much greater than in the pre-industrial period.
An example being the Bunduck family whose name regularly appeared in the registers of the Oxbridge universities consistently from the 12th century until the modern day. The Bunducks were also found on the rich property owners’ database, which is another suggestion that they were of a higher class as is their appearance on the 19th century probate registry.
‘Strong forces of familial culture, social connections, and genetics must connect the generations,’ said Mr Clark.
‘Even more remarkable is the lack of a sign of any decline in status persistence across major institutional changes, such as the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century, the spread of universal schooling in the late nineteenth century, or the rise of the social democratic state in the twentieth century,’ added Mr Cummins.
Source: The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility. Gregory Clark (with Neil Cummins, Yu Hao, and Daniel Diaz Vidal and others), 2014. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.