NEFA - The North East Folklore Archive

The Tragedy of Poor Mary

The Rosehearty Air Raid, 29th January, 1942

While we were studying World War Two, a teacher in the school came in and asked us to investigate a young girl, who lived in Rosehearty during World War Two. This girl was a relation of the teacher's friend. The girl's name was Mary Leitch. We had no idea where to start but luckily some people came to our rescue!

We had a visit from Mr Wishart, an archivist, Mr Catto a librarian and Mrs Driver, a registrar. They took an old box full of old documents and death registers. They also brought a big book of old Fraserburgh Heralds. There is only one copy of the Fraserburgh Heralds in the world. So we were very privileged to look at it and keep it in our classroom for a few weeks.

We used documents like the Register of Deaths, Rosehearty council minutes, the old Rosehearty School log book and newspaper articles from 1942. We found out that Mary was evacuated from Glasgow to Rosehearty during World War Two.

Five of the young air raid victims

Five of the seven young victims of the raid. From the People's Journal, Saturday, February 14th 1942. (Aberdeenshire Library Service).

At 6.40 pm, on Thursday the 29th of January 1942, five highly explosive bombs were dropped on Rosehearty. One of the bombs hit 25 and 27 Pitsligo Street. Mary was playing there with the Noble children. She was killed in the blast and her death was registered on the thirty-first of January, 1942.


Bombed houses






The homes destroyed in the raid. From the People's Journal, Saturday, February 14th 1942. (Aberdeenshire Library Service).







She was given a nickname, 'Poor Mary'. Poor Mary was only eleven when she died. She was evacuated for safety but was sadly killed. Her mother, Lily Leitch would have received a sympathy letter from the Council about the loss of her daughter. Mary's name has now been added to the memorial in Rosehearty.


Rosehearty War Memorial

The Rosehearty War Memorial, with Mary Leitch listed second from the bottom on the right.


The documents we were given helped bring this World War Two project to life as it was based in the village in which we live.


Rosehearty Primary School, October 2011.


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