A persistent rumour in Dundee, Scotland holds that Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe not to bomb the city because of the fact that Dundee had "rejected" Churchill in the 1922 election, when Churchill lost his seat to the Prohibitionist candidate in a sensational upset which nearly derailed his political career. The theory holds that because of this, Hitler held some kind of affection for Dundee and therefore ordered that it not be bombed.

I have tried several times to research this, but have been unable to find any source which bears out this rumour. I am inclined to dismiss it as a local urban legend. However, it has to be said that it doesn't sound completely implausible, given Hitler's known tendency to make important military decisions based on personal whimsy, rather than sound strategic decision-making. It is certainly a tantalising theory. It is kind of strange that a ship-building and manufacturing town was not bombed, particularly since Glasgow (Clydebank) and Edinburgh both were (Glasgow extensively).

Does anyone know of any sources which can verify this rumour, or can I simply discard it as an unfounded rumour?

Should point out that there was actually one abortive Luftwaffe raid on Dundee during WW2. However, the bombers apparently dropped their bombs in the River Tay, missing the city, and then turned for home almost immediately. Some versions of the rumour hold that, rather than being military incompetence, this was intentional and thus proves the theory.

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    Actually, the Luftwaffe raid on 5 November 1940 didn't just dump their bombs into the River Tay. As for conspiracy theories about why Dundee was largely spared, there are even local stories that "Hitler's granny came from the city". All utter nonsense, of course. If you're looking for credible reasons, just remember that bombing raids in Scotland were flown without fighter cover, while RAF fighters were over home ground. Oct 19, 2017 at 20:25
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    This kind of reminds me of the various myths about why Tulsa never gets hit by a Tornado. Usually something about geography or Indian magic. Problem is, Tulsa has been hit by tornadoes multiple times. Got hit by one just this summer, in fact.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 19, 2017 at 22:07
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this verges on a conspiracy theory.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 19, 2017 at 23:07

1 Answer 1


Personally, I would discard it as an unfounded rumour. It's right up there with the "Hitler’s granny came from Dundee" rumour that you can still hear repeated around the city.

Dundee actually was hit by a Luftwaffe raid on 5 November 1940. The raid was probably intended to be an attack on the Tay Bridge, which would have been considered a high value target for the Luftwaffe.

A far more likely reason why Dundee escaped relatively unscathed is the fact that Luftwaffe bombing raids in Scotland had to be flown without fighter cover. The RAF, on the other hand, were fighting over home ground.

In the case of Dundee, the Spitfires and Hurricanes based at RAF Montrose are probably the reason that many of the bombers aborted their raid on 5 November 1940, dumping their bombs in an attempt to escape.

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