The Second World War
The period of the Second World War had a far greater impact than the First World War. Eight men of the congregation were killed in action, including John S. Mackay, whose father had died in the Great War.
The Rector, George Richard Lightfoot, lost his wife Edith to lung cancer in 1941, and then died suddenly of a heart attack in 1942. His successor, William Milne, hardly had time to settle in when, on the worst night of Aberdeen’s blitz, the church was hit by a 500kg. thin walled cluster bomb, which went straight through the chancel into the crypt and exploded.
It was 21st April, 1943, two days before Good Friday, and the Porters, a family belonging to the congregation, were killed the same night.
The church was declared unfit for worship until the walls had settled: the windows at the east end of the nave had shifted four inches, and the heavy door between the porch and church had been lifted off its hinges. The rood beam was in place, but the figure of Christ on the Cross was upside down in the crypt.
The congregation worshipped in Albyn School until the chancel was boarded off and the church made safe, then began the long battle with the War Damage Commission to have the building restored. Fortunately, along with the hundreds of letters of sympathy came some practical donations (only three churches in the whole of Scotland were damaged by bombing), and the crypt was reconsecrated in 1951 and the church in 1952.
The Green Organ and the altar and triptych in the War Memorial Chapel were the results of donations after the bombing.