Air raid on Scapa Flow kills first civilian in Britain

junkers-ju88-bomber in flight

The Ju-88 bomber

James Isbister, 27, an Orkney resident became the first British civilian to be killed in an air raid on March 16th 1940. Fourteen Ju-88 Luftwaffe bombers attacked the British fleet at Scapa Flow and hit HMS Norfolk but some bombs hit cottages on the Mainland. The Royal Navy was making more use of Scapa Flow after the defences had been augmented following the sinking of the Royal Oak on 14th October 1939. The building of the ‘Churchill barriers’, which closed some of the channels between the islands around the anchorage, would not be completed until almost the end of the war

hms_hood_1940-in scapa-flow

HMS Hood as seen from HMS Rodney in Scapa Flow later in 1940, illustrating the size of the anchorage used by the British Home Fleet

Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: