Tam's Tall Tales

- Readers Write

Train Crossing the Forth Rail Bridge from Fife

Feedback From Readers
One of the highlights of my month is when I get a batch of letters from readers who have had some memory sparked by one of my stories. The readers are great! Lots of bouquets for things that strike a chord in their Scottish roots and generous even when I have made an error in some piece.

I can never predict what get people reaching for their e-mails. My pictures of the Forth Bridges certainly hit a spot.

I received two fascinating eye-witness accounts from people who had seen the attack on The Forth Rail Bridge in October 1939. (Note from editor: Nine German planes took part in the raid, which took British air-defence completely by surprise. The Germans’ main target was the Royal Navy fleet and base at Rosyth. They damaged three boats. Supermarine Spitfires of 603 Squadron ‘City of Edinburgh’ and 602 ‘City of Glasgow’ Squadron shot down two Heinkels into the Forth and a bomber off May Island. These were the first enemy aircraft of the war to be brought down over Britain). The graphic below is of a Spitfire in the colours of 603 squadron

John from Canada writes:

"I used to live in Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh, from 1935-1946, and seeing your photo of THE bridge - the only one at the time - reminds me of 16th October 1939, the day the Nazi Luftwaffe tried to bomb the Forth Bridge and the Royal Navy ships which were then at anchor in the Firth of Forth off Rosyth. That day my mother, siblings and I were walking along Queensferry Road on that glorious autumn day, when suddenly there was a Nazi plane 20 feet above us being machine gunned by 2 Spitfires. The German plane was later brought down just past Portobello."

Kathleen also wrote to me

Thank you for these pictures of our lovely bridge. I grew up living on the south edge of Dunfermline with a view of the top of a couple of spans of the bridge. Did you know it was the target of the first air raid of the war on GB? At that point, all the war meant to me was that school didn't start at the usual end of the summer holidays, so I was out playing with friends when the siren went - AGAIN!! (It was tested a lot in those early days) We continued with our game, paying no attention until we noticed that the planes flying over had black crosses instead of red, white and blue roundels on their wings. It dawned on us that it must be the real thing and not another practice

Frank said:

"Well Tam : When I read this article I was taken back to the days in the early 60`s when I and the family lived in Dunfermline. We very often went down to the site of the then new bridge being built from the North Side.
We lived in Dunfermline in those days, and working with Ferranti at Craigroyston house it meant of course train travel or car via the ferry system there."

And Nancy G wrote:

"Beautiful pictures of the Forth Bridge - makes me homesick for my homeland!!! I have crossed that bridge so many times growing up nearby and also when I am "home" on annual visits."

The Broons continue to hit the spot with people from all over:

From Sophia:

"Would never have believed an article could make me feel emotional. yes they were part of the family. am thinking of getting the annual from US Amazon."


"Remembering with great fondness "Oor Wullie" and "The Broons" from Kathleen in Toronto, Canada!"

Many thanks to all who wrote. Every e-mail is valued.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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