Did Hitler plan to create Nazi base at a Scarborough hotel?

Adolf Hitler may have planned to transform a Scarborough hotel into a strategic base for the Third Reich if he had successfully invaded Britain.

Did Hitler want to create Nazi base in Scarborough?
Did Hitler want to create Nazi base in Scarborough?

Despite a wave of destruction left by the Nazis in Scarborough, the Grand Hotel was left untouched during the terrifying raids.

It is rumoured that Hitler had earmarked the stunning hotel as his headquarters for the Third Reich and that the Luftwaffe pilots had been told to avoid the 12-floor hotel.

Mike Covell, a local historian in Hull, said: "This is a story I first head a few years ago, I've been trying to get to the bottom of it all. It seems every avenue of research I've travelled down I've hit brick walls and people have gone quiet.

"Scarborough had been under attack. The town was targeted and yet these rumours were circulating that he didn't want [the Grand Hotel] touched - that he wanted to take over the hotel and use it as a base."

On March 18 1941, almost 1,400 buildings were damaged or destroyed and 28 civilians and military people were killed with hundreds injured. It was the worst air raid to hit Scarborough as 98 German planes dropped high explosive parachute mines on the town. Some were delayed action bombs which detonated later.

Yesterday (May 20), national media reported that newly found official documents revealed Luftwaffe pilots faced a court martial if they dropped a bomb on Hitler's desired base. And that Hitler had given strict orders to Hermann Göring, his second-in-command, to spare the hotel.

But Mike Covell confirmed he has found no official evidence to back up the "fascinating" story - nor is he aware of any documents being uncovered.

"I've been looking and looking but found no reference," said Mr Covell.

He added: "If you can imagine you are flying over Scarborough the seafront stands out but the biggest building is the Grand Hotel.

"Normally they would bomb a big building with fire bombs and actually use it as a beacon to light up the area. So it's quite strange that one of the biggest buildings was left unscathed and untouched whether that was intentional or bad luck for the Nazis. But Scarborough was hit on several occasions.

"I find it fascinating. I love stories like this that are quite quirky. Seeing Hitler in Scarborough is such a surreal thought."

Many official documents were burned by the Nazis towards the end of the war and as it stands no record of Hitler's rumoured plans have been found.

Mr Covell says in 1954 there are references to a lecture on the subject but there is no information on who organised the lecture or what was said.

An article in the Telegraph in 2006 references Hitler's plans, as does a book published by David Fowler, God Bless the Prince of Wales, which focuses on Scarborough during the Second World War.

Hitler has been linked to the Grand Hotel but there are numerous hotels, under the same name, dotted about the UK, says Mr Covell. A lot of people say that it's about the Grand Hotel near them, but Scarborough does has an advantage from a strategical point of view.

"At the time it was one of the biggest hotels in Britain," he said. "It was definitely the place to be. It's a fantastic location because of the 360-degree views it offers."