False alarm

On the night of September 7 1940, the church bells sounded in Stonehaven. This was a warning signal to prepare for enemy invasion.  However there was no invasion.

The warning codeword Cromwell had been sent out in the south and east of England. The message was copied to Scotland for their information only, however, part of the Scottish Command appeared to take the warning seriously.

There is little information about the reaction to the false alarm in the war diaries of the military units based around Stonehaven, although we know that at least two units jumped into action.  These were the 153 Infantry Brigade and the 276 Field Company Royal Engineers.

The 276 Royal Engineer unit's war diary tells us how they went directly to man the demolition of bridges, should it be required.

The Royal Engineers are a section of the British army that deals with all combat engineering and technical matters. These units were largely responsible for organising the construction of the defences, including Cowie Water's stop line.

One of their technical tasks was to demolish bridges so that the enemy could not use them to move across Scotland.