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The first Blitz: Britain's 1915 terror attack

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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Jan 2007 11:28    Onderwerp: The first Blitz: Britain's 1915 terror attack Reageer met quote

The first Blitz: Britain's 1915 terror attack
Last updated at 23:37pm on 29th January 2007

Reconstruction reveals the first ever air terror was visited on Britain in 1915

Little Jack Brown stood in the playground and watched emotionless as the tiny burned and battered bodies were brought out from the wreckage of his school.

But what imprinted itself most clearly on the six-year-old's mind - and what he recalls vividly 90 years later - was not so much the carnage around him of schoolmates killed at their desks, as the headmaster calling out the register next day, and the tears pouring down the man's face each time no answer came.

There were 55 such dreadful pauses that morning.

Of headmaster Mr Denner's young charges at Upper North Street School, Poplar, in the East End of London, 18 were dead and 37 injured, the victims of a bomb from a German plane.

"I'd never seen a man cry before," Jack recalls. "In those days, boys were brought up never to cry.

"But here was the headmaster, a big man with a beard and a figure of stature in my life at the time, and to see him brought to this was a shock."

What shocked not just the immediate neighbourhood, but the country, was that the slaughter had happened in their own backyard.

They were frightened. The war they thought was being fought many miles away on battlefields in France was now being waged directly against them.

This was a first. There had never been an air raid by enemy bombers on London before.

Because this incident did not happen during World War II, as one might expect; not part of the Blitz of London by Goering's Luftwaffe in 1940. That lay a quarter of a century ahead.

The year the Upper North Street infants' school was flattened was 1917, and its destruction was part of an air assault on Britain that is largely forgotten.

It is reconstructed in a Timewatch programme, The First Blitz, to be shown later this week with Jack Brown, now 96, its main eye-witness.

The raid was brazen, carried out in daylight and in the certain knowledge that the British capital was defenceless and ripe to be taken by surprise.

It was late morning when a squadron of 14 new Gotha bombers, the Prussian Cross painted on their flimsy fuselages and tails, appeared over London with their 1,000lb bomb loads.

A large twin-engined bi-plane with a three-man crew, the Gotha was the very latest in technical know-how, built for speed but, more importantly, with a range that could get it as far as England and back to base in Belgium.

For the Kaiser, here was a weapon that would take the battle away from the western front and right into the enemy's heartland.

Their target was almost certainly the docks on the Isle of Dogs, where British destroyers were berthed. But just half a mile from the docks, the three-storey council school with its hundreds of children was right in the path of any bombs that fell short.

Jack Brown remembered sitting in class when, around 1pm, a teacher hurried in and whispered something urgent to his class teacher.

"She told us to get under our desks. No sooner had we done so than glass and everything fell in, and there was smoke and fumes and all sorts of stuff around us," he says.

A single bomb had smashed through the roof and floors of the two upper storeys, killing three children on the way. Then it exploded in the room next to Jack's. It was the infant class, packed with five-year-olds.

There were 64 of them. Fewer than a dozen came out of the fire and rubble unscathed.

In Jack's class, the teacher was marshalling them up off the floor, into the corridor and out into the playground. "There was no panic, no fear, because it was something so new and so sudden,' he recalls. 'I think we were just bewildered and stunned."

Through the smoke and dust wafted a smell he recognised. Roasted rabbit, the six-year- old thought, and that became another of his abiding memories - the smell of burnt human flesh.

The devastation was terrible. Newspapers would later report that 'babies' were so mutilated their mothers could not recognise them.

"As I was standing there, the caretaker came out with the first of the bodies," says Jack. 'I watched as rescuers went in and out with these little bodies and laid them in a row.

'Then someone unlocked the school gate and I dashed out and went home. My grandmother and my brother were there and then my mother came tearing down the street.

"She had one shoe on and the other in her hand - I always remember that! When she saw me, she just looked at me.

"My father came back home, too, from the docks. He had had the shock of his life because as he came past the school they were loading bodies [into ambulances] and he saw the boots of a child and thought they were mine."

The East End showed its collective grief in style, packing the streets in a way never seen before as 18 flower-bedecked, horsedrawn hearses went slowly through the streets to the mass grave in which the dead children were buried.

Money rolled in for a public memorial, which stands today in a local park.

The names of the dead are listed in alphabetical order from Alfred Batt to Florence Ward, but what catches the emotions is the repetition of their ages - "aged five, aged five, aged five..." No wonder the East End was shocked.

But alongside the grief was anger, fuelled by rumour and newspaper headlines denouncing the raid as child murder. Condolence cards were distributed "in memory of the victims of the Hun death-dealers".

Anti- German feeling was strong. Propagandists declared that the school had been the target after all.

And that day, as well as the 18 children at the school, bombs from the Gotha squadron killed a further 144 Londoners, almost all civilians.

A line had been crossed and warfare would never be the same again. The bomber, capable of dealing death and destruction indiscriminately, had made its debut on the world stage and in the years ahead would have a large and terrible part to play.

What made that raid on London in June 1917 (and one on the resort of Folkestone three weeks earlier, killing 95 people) a landmark was that it was carried out by aeroplanes.

Until then, the only threat from the skies had been from German airships, the Zeppelins.

Because they were highly inflammable, the Zeppelins had been seen off after little more than a year. But in that short time, the threat they posed, though often dismissed, had been a considerable one.

These air raids were brought on by Britain's tactics as the Royal Navy blockaded Germany's ports with the intention of starving the Germans into submission.

In retaliation, the Germans bombarded the English coast from the sea, then unleashed their Zeppelins.

The massive, cigar- shaped balloons, filled with hydrogen and with a cabin slung underneath, had been turned by the German navy from their peacetime use, carrying travellers across continents and oceans, into airborne weapons.

Unlike the primitive planes of the era, Zeppelins could travel long distances and at great height. The North Sea was no barrier to them. The east coast of England was at their mercy.

"Britain can be overcome by means of airships,' Peter Strasser, the commander of the Zeppelin force, confidently declared.

On January 19, 1915, two of his airships - numbers L3 and L4 - silently crossed the Norfolk coast and then split up, one heading south, the other north. Over Great Yarmouth at 8.25pm, the crew of L3 hurled their bombs over the side.

Below, 53-year-old Sam Smith heard explosions and came out of his workshop to see what was happening. A bomb then hit a house opposite, flying shrapnel struck his head and he was dead before anyone could reach him. He has the dubious honour of being the first ever victim of a bombing raid on Britain.

L4, meanwhile, was along the coast, bombing King's Lynn and killing two more civilians. The death toll may have been small but, as the news spread, the psychological effect on the British was huge.

Morale slumped. For the first time, mighty Britain and its empire seemed terribly vulnerable.

Through 1915 and 1916, the Zeppelin raids became a regular feature of life in towns along Britain's eastern coast and in London.

The airships would loom out of the night sky, some as big as battleships, a terrifying sight. Houses were blasted, people left dead and injured.

On the ground, there was no civil defence and little warning. No sirens wailed. Instead, boy scouts blew bugles and policemen on bicycles blew whistles and whirled rattles.

In the absence of public shelters, people were told to go indoors and hide under a table or in the cellar. For some, however, the threat from the air was so new and fascinating their curiosity got the better of them, and they went out into the streets to watch.

There were 52 Zeppelin raids in all, killing 556 people and injuring 1,357. The newspapers thundered against German "murderers". They ran poignant photographs of the victims: under one of an 11-year-old girl, a caption asked: "What had she ever done to Germany?"

But though casualties mounted, the military, the Timewatch programme says, took little interest in what was going on at home.

The raids were not hitting vital military installations, and, anyway, the war effort was concentrated across the Channel, where the slaughter in battle made these losses at home seem insignificant.

However, the effect on morale did worry the authorities, and some artillery guns were diverted to the home front and converted into anti-airship guns. Pointed straight up, their shells could reach 18,000ft, high enough to catch a Zeppelin.

Dozens of gun positions were erected around London. This socalled 'ring of steel' has the distinction of being the first-ever air defence system in history.

It was, though, ineffective in bringing down Zeppelins, although the peppering they were now getting from the ground did give the airship captains pause for thought as they continued their raids.

The real breakthrough against the raiders came in May 1916 when fighter aircraft were at last diverted from France to form four Home Defence squadrons. Significantly, their guns were loaded with the latest weapon - incendiary bullets, fatal to the hydrogen-filled Zeppelins.

Britain was now to have its first air hero, William Leafe Robinson, who on September 3, 1916, flew in close and fired his incendiaries into the bag of a Zeppelin. It plummeted to the ground in flames, the first ever kill on British soil. Robinson received adulation and a Victoria Cross.

Three weeks later, a 12-craft Zeppelin attack was beaten off by the combined efforts of ground gunners and aircraft.

Two were shot down, one in flames with all its crew dead. There was no escape as they plunged to the ground. Weight restrictions in the tiny capsules meant no parachutes were carried.

Back in Germany, the airship crews were rattled. A deep sense of foreboding overtook them. Each pondered a morbid dilemma - if it came to it, would they burn or would they jump?

WHEN the question was put to the most infamous and most successful of the airship commanders, Captain Heinrich Matty, he declined to answer, but his moment of truth came soon enough.

In October 1916, his own L31 was hit over Potters Bar in Hertfordshire. "I saw her go red inside, like an immense Chinese lantern," the fighter pilot who downed her recalled.

Matty did not wait to burn. He jumped, and crashed full-length into a field. He was alive but died soon after. When they took his body away, the deep imprint of it could clearly be seen in the ground.

His death marked the beginning of the end for the Zeppelin offensive on Britain. The raids petered out. The Allies toasted their victory over German air power...

And then the first Gotha bombers arrived over Folkestone and London, dropping even more death and destruction, bewildering small boys like Jack Brown and making grown men weep.

The genie of war-in-the-air was never to be squeezed back into the bottle. It was in the air that future wars would be fought. The First Blitz would not be the last.

The First Blitz, Timewatch, BBC2 on Friday at 9pm.
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Aurel Sercu

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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Jan 2007 20:05    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Sorry, Yvonne, ik heb deze Topic pas gezien nadat ik al mijn prentje gepost had op

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BerichtGeplaatst: 31 Jan 2007 8:55    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Aurel Sercu @ 30 Jan 2007 20:05 schreef:
Sorry, Yvonne, ik heb deze Topic pas gezien nadat ik al mijn prentje gepost had op


Geeft niets Aurel, als mensen het nu nog vergeten is het iig niet onze fout Wink
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Percy Toplis

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BerichtGeplaatst: 17 Jan 2010 18:35    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

‘… the little island in the silver seas was at the end of its immunity…’ - H. G. Wells

How did London civilians respond to the German airship raids of 1915?

Nine months into the Great War London joined the English counties of Norfolk, Northumberland, Essex, Suffolk and Kent, when she too became a victim of the German airship raids being unleashed on England. Bringing English civilians not only into a war, but a war like never before, the German Government believed that these raids would so terrorise English civilians that they would demand their government make peace on German terms. As The Times wrote, ‘It takes little to throw civilians into a panic in peace; it was natural, therefore, to expect that bomb dropping would throw them into a panic in war.’[2]

Less than two decades before these airship raids began, aerial warfare was a terrifying prospect people could only visualise.[3] Having, however, a very real and serious nature, it led to the 1898 Hague Declaration which prevented belligerent countries from launching projectiles or explosives from aerial vessels.[4] Due to remain valid until 1907, over the following decade aviation advanced: the first German Zeppelin was flown in 1900, and the first free flight in a power-driven airplane followed in 1903.[5] The 1907 Hague Conference aimed to reflect this advancement. Forbidding world powers from bombing undefended areas by any means, its outcome was Article 25 of the Land War Convention, the only international rule referring to aerial bombardment. Specifically phrased to imply attack from the air, twenty-seven representative countries out of forty-four pledged their support. Of the powers involved in the war only four gave theirs: Britain agreed, largely because the Anglo-German Naval Arms Race was at its peak and she feared Germany would add marine reconnaissance and bombing to the list of airship capabilities; and Germany declined, largely because it was not clear what constituted an undefended area and, despite Article 2 of the Naval Convention attempting to clarify, it was felt that, if applied too literally with regards to aerial bombers, certain problems were insurmountable.[6] For all practical purposes it was therefore recognised that expediency would decide aircraft uses in war.[7] In the following year H.G. Wells published The War in the Air - a fiction about a catastrophic aerial war when German airships destroyed New York. Little did Wells know then that by July the subsequent year, following the first aeroplane flight across the English Channel by Frenchman Louis Blériot, this fiction would be closer to reality.

By 1914 German airships had flown over 100,000 miles and carried 37,000 civilian passengers without incident.[8] In the years which preceded this however, the German military became interested in airships and it was not before long that her Army operated mostly Schütte-Lanz airships and her Navy operated Zeppelin airships. Originally content to employ airships for scouting missions, the Army soon joined the likes of the Navy who had the proactive mission of bombing England.[9] Envisaging that they could take any war to the enemy, they visualised that airships would be at the forefront of any offensive in the expected conflict with the Triple Entente, the alliance between Britain, France and Russia.[1]0 When war broke out in August 1914 the Chief of the German Naval Airship Division, Peter Strasser, expressed the utmost belief that Germany ‘…should leave no means untried to crush England and that successful air raids on London… would prove a valuable means to this end.’[11] German civilians also expressed this sentiment as they believed airship raids would be their retribution for Britain’s declaration of war.[12] This desire to use airships became evident throughout Europe four months into the war: ‘Fly, Zeppelin, Help us in the war, Fly to England, England will be destroyed by fire, Fly, Zeppelin!’[13] Composed by a relative of Germany’s Supreme War Lord, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the origin of this children’s song was to boost German morale and popularise the notion that the war would be over by Christmas when England would be brought to her knees.[14]

Despite this eagerness to begin airships raids on England, the Kaiser prevaricated, just as he did in late 1915 when German submarine warfare increased its attacks on all enemy ships,[15] and also in early 1916 when renewed pressure mounted upon him to sanction immediate unrestricted submarine warfare against enemy ships and neutral vessels.[16] Fearing the effect that this unprecedented warfare might have on neutral countries opinions, principally America, he also believed, as many did, that the war would quickly culminate and that strategic bombing would thus be unnecessary.[17] Following the realisation however that the war would not be over by Christmas, the Kaiser experienced mounting military and public pressure to sanction raids on England. Succumbing on 9 January 1915 he agreed that these were to be ‘…expressly restricted… London itself was not to be bombed.’[18] Admiral Hugo von Pohl, Chief of the Naval Staff, confirmed in a telegram the following day: ‘Air attacks on England approved by Supreme War Lord. Targets [are] docks and military establishments in the Lower Thames and on the English Coast.’[19]

Although many agreed with Strasser that London was a highly important target for she had significant military establishments, and also with von Pohl who believed that the effects of the latter would deteriorate morale, in early 1915 no airship had enough range to reach London.[20] Other British cities of military value were therefore targeted and only ten days after the Kaiser’s approval Navy airships L3 and L4 were ordered to bomb military establishments on the River Humber, whilst airship L6 was to attempt to reach London.[21] The latter endured crankshaft failure and returned to Germany, but L3 and L4 reached Norfolk and the former bombed Great Yarmouth whilst the latter bombed Sheringham and Snettisham. Their intended military establishments, including a gasworks and a hall packed with National Reserve men, were in the proximity of their bombs although they instead hit residential areas.[22] Four were killed and sixteen were injured. All but one injured soldier were civilians.[23] Despite hitting these alleged unintended targets the Kölnische Zeitung announced, ‘A triumph of German inventiveness… has shown itself capable of… carrying the war to… England! An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’[24] The following month an Imperial Order extended January’s telegram: ‘No attack is to be made on the residential areas of London…’[25] Both this order and the earlier telegram were futile in their efforts to avoid civilian casualties (accurate bombing was not possible and their targets were located within densely populated areas),[26] yet rivalry grew between the Army and the Navy to bomb London first.[27] The latter had the advantage for at the start of 1915 it had begun to build airships which could undertake short hauls to the Capital.[28]

This desire to attack London was fuelled further when it was documented in early 1915 by the German General Staff and the Admiralty that ‘…there is nothing in International Law or… international agreements against it… London is a defended city… Its bombardment by Zeppelins would constitute no violation of the laws of war…’[29] Furthermore, the German official view also believed that because the 1898 Hague Declaration had expired, and because Germany did not completely ratify its newer form in 1907, ‘The Hague Declaration… does not hold good.’[30] Regardless of this however, with no airship able to reach London, six airship raids (four Army and two Navy) commenced elsewhere in England in April and May. During one of these raids Army airship LZ38 attempted to reach the Capital yet only succeeded in raiding Southend.[31] Confirming Germany’s intentions Captain Hauptmann Linnarz dropped a card overboard threatening, ‘You English. We have come and will come again. Kill or cure. German.’[32]

During May the German military pressed the Kaiser for a free hand over London for they believed it would be a mistake to spare the Capital, would not be understood by the German nation and would be regarded by England as weakness.[33] The Kaiser failed to yield to this pressure, yet on 31 May Linnarz - allegedly believing he had stuck to the Kaiser’s original conditions regarding the bombing of London - showed he was true to his earlier threat when he successfully bombed the Capital. Dropping 119 bombs on civilian populated areas in the north-east of London, including Stoke Newington, Leytonstone and Shoreditch, there were no intentional military targets.[34] Seven were killed and thirty-five injured, all but two injured soldiers were civilians.[35] The Germans, including the Kaiser, were overjoyed: ‘The City of London, the heart which pumps the life-blood into the arteries of the brutal huckster nation…’ read the Neueste Nachrichten of Leipzig, ‘…has been sown with bombs by German airships.’[36]

Four further raids on London followed in 1915 and again there were generally no intentional military targets, more just an ethos of bomb what you see fit on the night. Furthermore, military targets were rarely hit and most bombs fell on residential areas. London’s second raid on 17 August saw Navy airships drop 107 bombs on East London, including Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone.[37] Ten civilians were killed and forty-eight were injured.[38] The Army followed on 7 September by dropping 97 bombs on the east and south-east of London, including the Docklands and Deptford.[39] Although one airship bombed the Millwall Docks, a section of South Eastern and Chatham Railway track and an area near to the Royal Dockyard,40 eighteen were killed and thirty-eight were injured, all but one injured soldier were civilians.[41] Spurred on by this success, Navy airships targeted London the subsequent night.[42] Dropping 152 bombs over Central London, including Bloomsbury, Holborn and the City,43 whilst some warehouses north of St Paul’s bore the main brunt of this attack and an area of Liverpool Street Station had a few yards of track ripped up, residential areas were again hit.[44] Twenty-six were killed and ninety-four were injured, all but two of both the latter and the former were soldiers.[45] London’s, and England’s, final airship raid in 1915 came on 13 October. Causing the greatest casualties of all airship raids during the war, 189 bombs were dropped on mainly Central London, including the Strand and Aldwych, although Woolwich was also hit.[46] Whilst some bombs slightly damaged Woolwich Arsenal, the majority, although aimed at the Admiralty near Trafalgar Square, fell half a mile off target.[47] Striking the heart of London’s Theatre Land, seventy-one were killed and one-hundred and twenty-eight were injured. Seventeen of the dead and twenty-one of the injured were soldiers.[48]

Whilst these raids would have been significant for any country, their significance upon England was greater for it meant that ‘Britain was no longer protected… by the mightiest fleet which had ever ridden the seas.’[49] Although no country had experienced aerial warfare, many countries were conscious that they could be subject to invasion. Not however vulnerable to this as long as the Royal Navy maintained its naval supremacy, no successful invasion of England had commenced since 1066. Furthermore, not only was it the first time in centuries that England had experienced major conflict at home (the last being the major Jacobite rebellions in 1715 and 1745), but it was generally the first time that English civilians en masse were targeted by their enemy at home.[50] Unlike their European neighbours for example, English civilians had not experienced great conflicts with foreigners which either involved civilians or were fought in civilian populated areas. This thus brought about ‘…the realisation that they were no longer immune from war… they too, like their soldiers, were in the firing line’;[51] as The Times wrote, ‘…while armed airships might be the proper means of attacking armies and navies, it was an entirely new and barbarous practice to use them as weapons of aggression against defenceless civilians.’[52] The publication of the following cartoon demonstrates this.[53]

Britain knew little about what to expect from these raids and little preparation was thus made for them.[54] When the war broke out the Board of Admiralty was granted the task of defending London and in September Winston Churchill, the only man in the government convinced of the air threat potential,[55] undertook this responsibility.[56] There was however no independent British air service (air power was divided between the Army’s Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Navy’s Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS)), and only thirty-three anti-aircraft guns existed in the whole of England.[57] The significance of these raids is therefore huge and it is interesting to understand how London’s civilians responded to the first year of them. Unfortunately however, because these raids occurred in a decade when no social research organisation existed in Britain (Mass Observation was not established until 1937), it has not been possible to consult official material written during the year of these raids which refers directly to London’s civilian’s responses.[58] Furthermore, although two sources used in this dissertation refer to the recent comments of adults who were young children in 1915, because these raids commenced over ninety years ago it has not been possible to speak to other survivors who would have been able to provide me with detailed accounts of what they believed civilian responses to have been.

Because of the above, and also the fact that only a few letters, diaries extracts and other primary sources have been available for me to use in writing this dissertation, I have primarily had to research newspapers which have provided both details of the raids and also what journalists viewed and reported civilian responses to have been. Although I have also been able to use books and other publications which have been written about these raids (many of which were originally written over thirty years ago, although have been re-published within recent years), none of these publications record a comprehensive account from the viewpoint of the ordinary civilian. Furthermore, when looking at these publication’s bibliographies it is evident that they generally have not included the unpublished primary sources and serial publications which I believe have been so essential in writing this dissertation. I would therefore argue that a publication about this little-known topic is missing and that, by using the many archives which appear to have been previously untouched, a dissertation regarding this subject is required. Although aware that the newspapers that I have used can not be guaranteed to be the totally accurate responses of London’s civilians, particularly due to the fact that these raids commenced during war and therefore journalists would have been likely to have emphasised the high-spirit of London civilians as opposed to the contrary, these newspaper, along with all the other sources, have enabled me to answer this question to the best of ones ability.

Both the death and material damage caused by these Baby Killers were thankfully not huge. The same cannot be said for the psychological impact: as historian Michael Praed argues, and historian Thomas Fegan agrees,[59] ‘The psychological effect was every bit as powerful as that of the blitz of the Second World War.’[60] Causing various responses amongst London’s civilians, these raids increased civilian determination to win the war, caused anger in many, and fear amongst others. This was in addition to other lesser responses. Whilst it is necessary to stress that few individuals expressed one singular response to these raids, this dissertation studies these responses within these self-titled chapters before concluding how London’s civilians responded to the German airship raids of 1915.

(1) H. G. Wells, The War in the Air (Middlesex, 1973), p. 140.
(2) The Times, 10 September 1915, p. 9.
(3) Michael Paris, ‘Fear of Flying: The Fiction of War 1886-1916’ in History Today, Volume 43, Number 6, June 1993, p. 29.
(4) Raymond L. Rimell, Zeppelin! A Battle for Air Supremacy in World War One (London, 1984), p. 30.
(5) Joseph Morris, German Air Raids on Britain 1914-1918 (Sussex, 1993), pp. 3-4.
(6) Rimell, op,cit., p. 30.
(7) Morris, op,cit., p. 4.
(8) Michael Praed, quoted in BBC Timewatch, ‘Zeppelin: The First Blitz’ on BBC 2, 2 February 2007.
(9) Thomas Fegan, The ‘Baby Killers’: German Air Raids on Britain in the First World War (South Yorkshire, 2002), p. 11. (10) ioc.cit.,
(11) Morris, op,cit., p. 11.
(12) Rimell, op,cit., p. 31.
(13) ‘Fly, Zeppelin: A Children’s Song’, cited in Robert Hedin (ed.), The Zeppelin Reader: Stories, Poems, and Songs from the Age of Airships (Iowa City, 1998), p. 81.
(14) Wilbur Cross, Zeppelins of World War One (Lincoln, 2001), p. 9.
(15) Robert K. Massie, Castles of Steel (London, 2004), p. 542.
(16) ibid., pp. 685-689.
(17) Fegan, op,cit., p. 15.
(18) Morris, op,cit., p. 11.
(19) Rimell, op,cit., pp. 31-33.
(20) Kenneth Poolman, Zeppelins over England (London, 1975), p. 39.
(21) ibid., p. 41.
(22) Rimell, op,cit., pp. 33-34.
(23) J. A. Hammerton (ed.), The Concise Universal Encyclopedia (London, 1929), p. 38.
(24) ‘Kölnische Zeitung’, cited in Douglas Robinson, The Zeppelin in Combat: History of the German Naval Airship Division, 1912-1918, (England, 1966) p. 64.
(25) ibid., p. 67.
(26) Fegan, op,cit., p. 16.
(27) Arthur Banks, A Military Atlas of the First World War, (London, 1989), p. 286.
(28) Poolman, op,cit., p. 41.
(29) The Times, 2 April 1915, p. 6.
(30) ioc.cit.,
(31) Rimell, op,cit., p. 35.
(32) Poolman, op,cit., pp. 41-42.
(33) Morris, op,cit., pp. 28-29.
(34) ibid., p. 265.
(35) Hammerton (ed.), op,cit., p. 38.
(36) ‘Neueste Nachrichten of Leipzig’, cited in Poolman, op,cit., p. 42.
(37) Morris, op,cit., p. 266.
(38) Hammerton (ed.), op,cit., p. 38.
(39) Morris, op,cit., p. 266.
(40) Rimell, op,cit., p. 41.
(41) Hammerton (ed.), op,cit., p. 38.
(42) Rimell, op,cit., pp. 41-42.
(43) Morris, op,cit., p. 266.
(44) Rimell, op,cit., p. 42.
(45) Hammerton (ed.), op,cit., p. 38.
(46) Morris, op,cit., p. 266.
(47) Rimell, op,cit., p. 44.
(48) Hammerton (ed.), op,cit., p. 38.
(49) ‘Dusseldorfer General Anzeiger’, cited in Westminster Gazette, 14 August 1916, p. 8.
(50) J. P. Kenyon, The Wordsworth Dictionary of British History, (Hertfordshire, 1994), p. 196.
(51) John Williams, The Home Fronts 1914-1918 (London, 1972), p. 67.
(52) The Times, 3 June 1915, p. 6.
(53) Michael Wynn Jones, The Cartoon History of Britain (London, 1971), p. 222.
(54) Rimell, op,cit., p. 12
(55) Cross, op,cit., p. 26
(56) Morris, op,cit., p. 7
(57) Ian Beckett, quoted in BBC Timewatch, op,cit., 2007.
(58) Mass-Observation Archive, ‘A brief history of Mass-Observation’,
(59) Fegan, op,cit., p. 9.
(60) Praed, quoted in BBC Timewatch, op,cit., 2007.

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“I hope you live a life you are proud of. If you find that you are not, l hope you have the strength to start all over again.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Mrt 2010 22:40    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Hier nog een linkje naar een dramatisch ooggetuigenverslag van een Engelse journalist over het neerstorten van een Duitse zeppelin nabij Londen in 1916:

Gr P
Wie achter de kudde aanloopt, sjouwt altijd door de stront.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 24 Mrt 2010 19:48    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Op de flickr site van de National Archives twee foto's mbt zeppelins gedurende WOI

Schade van Duitse Zeppelin aanvallen in Hull:

En een prachtige foto van een Zepplin in aanbouw:
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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Nov 2012 20:45    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Death from above - airships over Waltham Forest in World War One

LONG before the planes of the Blitz terrorised residents of east London, it was airships that brought fear from above during World War One. DANIEL BINNS finds out more.

The German airforce began using airships for bombing raids on England in 1915. The technology was initially seen as superior to planes due to the crafts' endurance under fire, range and greater bomb-holding capacity.

But while the airships were successful from a propaganda perspective, they swiftly proved to be rather inefficient militarily, especially once the British later developed incendiary ammunition which targeted the crafts' flammability to devastating effect.

One prominent example of the airships' failure militarily was the deadly bombing of Waltham Forest in August 1915.

A total of four Zeppelins – a type of airship – took part in the raids, but they all failed to hit their intended targets. Two fled back to Germany after developing mechanical problems, while another bombed Ashford in Kent in the mistaken belief it was Woolwich.

The fourth mistook the reservoirs of the Lea Valley for the River Thames, and so dropped its payload on the borough.

Bombs soon rained down on Hoe Street, the Bakers Arms and Lloyd Park in Walthamstow, along with Leyton High Road and Grove Green Road, among other streets.

But there was a revenge of sorts when a German airship was spectacularly shot down in the skies above Walthamstow and Chingford the following September.

The 'SL11' aircraft had earlier bombed Finsbury and Victoria Park before being intercepted by pilot William Leefe Robinson.

Nine British aircraft had earlier tried and failed to shoot down the mammoth craft, but after several attempts Robinson aimed at the thinner, rudder end, successfully igniting the ship into a ball of fire.

Large crowds in Walthamstow watched as the monster swirl of flames and wreckage drifted slowly down to earth, eventually ending up in Cuffley, Hertfordshire.

“For thousands of people it was without doubt one of the most memorable events of the entire war,” according to Bill Bayliss, an amateur historian from Chingford who has researched the impact of airships on the borough.

He told the Guardian: “I get a lot of interest about the subject because many older people in the borough or their parents remembered seeing it very clearly. It must've had a huge impact to see something like that.”

By the end of the war airship technology had been emphatically usurped by planes and the use of such crafts in military bombings soon became consigned to the history books.

Voor meer over de SL11 zie:
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BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Jan 2013 13:14    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

On the afternoon of the 2nd September 1916, sixteen airships, twelve from the German Naval Airship Division and four from the Army Division, set out for England on what was to be the biggest air raid of the war. For the first time the two services were combining. The vessels were carrying a total load of 32 tons of bombs. The 'Leader of Airships,' Fregattenkapitan Peter Strasser, was still determined that his airships would bring England to her knees.

Among the army airships was one from the Schatte-Lanz factories at Leipzig. The SL11 was the most recent addition to the fleet having entered into service on the 12th August 1916. It had set off on the raid of 31st August, but had been turned back by bad weather. On 2nd September it would complete the journey to London for the first, and last, time.

In command of SL11 was Hauptmann Wilhelm Schramm, an experienced airship captain who knew the area he was to bomb better than most of his colleagues. He had been born at Old Charlton, Kent, and lived in England until the age of 15 when on the death of his father, the London representative of the Siemens electrical firm, he returned to Germany and joined the army. He was given his first command in December 1915. Schramm had an experienced crew flying with him that night who had already served with him on several raids in the Zeppelin airship LZ39. They totalled only 16 men, machinists, gunners, 'elevator' man and 'bomb' man, officers and Captain.

At approximately 23.00 hours the Home Defence squadrons were put on alert. Radio messages from the airships had been intercepted, and a welcoming party was prepared. Ten aircraft were sent up that night. First away was BE2c 2963, her pilot having first personally supervised the pre-flight checks. The fog was thick and getting worse, but Robinson was convinced it would be clearer higher up. He had three drums of Brock and Pommeroy ammunition, and just enough fuel to keep him aloft for three and a half hours. He took off safely and disappeared into the mist.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Jan 2013 13:14    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

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BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Jan 2013 13:23    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Some Londoners still Care about First London Blitz Hero

The Leefe Robinson public House in Harrow was recently taken over by steakhouse chain Miller and Carter, which put its brand name on the front of the pub. But locals objected to the change, and protested the Leefe Robinson name should be restored given its historical significance and importance to Harrow.

Captain William Leefe Robinson was a pilot during World War One for the Royal Flying Corps. On the night of September 2, 1916, the pilot became the first man to shoot down an enemy airship over British soil when he gunned down a German SL11. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest military award, for the achievement and became an overnight hero and household name.

However, the hero pilot was shot down and captured in April 1917 by legendary German pilot Manfred Von Richtofen, and spent the remainder of the war in captivity, despite several escape attempts. He returned to England in 1918, but died of Spanish Flu in Stanmore in December of that year.

He is buried in the cemetery of All Saints Church, in Uxbridge Road, and the pub opposite was named in his honour. (This is London) There is still time to book a place for lunch and a talk on the First Blitz 29 Jan 2013
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