Zeppelin raids, Gothas and 'Giants'

Britain's First Blitz - 1914 -1918

Ian Castle looks at the World War One air raids on Britain - the First Blitz

40 (3)

Lincs., Northants., Norfolk and Herts.

1st/2nd October 1916

(Part 2)



Zeppelin L.34, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Max Dietrich, was on her first raid over England and came inland near Cromer on the Norfolk coast at 9.42pm. Dietrich steered to the south-west until, at 11.20pm, south of Peterborough he took a westerly line. At midnight, as he approached Corby, a searchlight caught L.34 and two 6-pdr AA guns fired off eight rounds. Presuming the guns must be guarding a worthwhile target, Dietrich began dropping a line of 17 HE bombs as he passed over Kirby Hall, between there and the mouth of the Corby railway tunnel. The only damage caused by these bombs was a broken railway telegraph wire. It seemed certain that L.34’s next bombs would land close to the AA guns, but at that crucial moment Dietrich turned away onto a north-east course, dropping 13 incendiaries in fields either side of the Rockingham to Gretton road where they caused no damage. Dietrich then took L.34 on a direct route back across eastern England, reaching the sea at 1.40am between Sea Palling and Horsey on the north-east Norfolk coast.


Oberleurnant-zur-See Kurt Frankenburg brought L.21 inland at Weybourne, near Sherringham on the north Norfolk coast, at 9.20pm. The weather was bad, limiting visibility for much of the time. Frankenburg flew westwards at first, dropping two incendiaries harmlessly at Heacham (one failed to ignite) before reaching the coastline of The Wash. He followed the coast around to Lincolnshire, reaching Kirton, south of Boston, at 10.45pm. From there L.21 followed a south-westerly course and, at 11.20pm, dropped an incendiary at the village of Kirkby Underwood. At midnight she was at Oakham from where the crew saw L.31 burst into flames in the distance. Frankenburg turned for home. At 12.30am an HE bomb released over the fenland village of South Kyme killed a sheep after which L.21 followed a direct line across Lincolnshire to the coast, reaching it at Donna Nook at 1.10am.


L.16, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Erich Sommerfeldt, reached the Lincolnshire coast at Theddlethorpe, north of Mablethorpe, at about midnight where she dropped a single HE bomb. Sommerfeldt headed south and at 12.45am dropped an incendiary at Huttoft followed, five minutes later, by an HE at Willoughby. Neither caused any damage. L.16 continued heading south until she reached Wainfleet at 1.10am, at which point she steered west as far as the hamlet of Westville where she changed her heading again,  to the north-east, dropping three HE bombs between there and Stickford. Five minutes later two incendiary bombs fell at East Kirkby, followed at 1.20am by four HE and two incendiaries at Hameringham. The only damage caused was at the latter place where the bombs killed a cow and injured two horses. Sommerfeldt’s penultimate bomb, an HE, fell at Scrafield, with the final bomb, an incendiary, landing at Fulletby at 1.30am, neither causing any damage. L.21 then returned to the coast, which she reached at 2.00am near Wainfleet.  





Hauptmann Kuno Manger brought L.14 in over the Lincolnshire coast at Friskney, north of Boston, at 12.45am, however she remained in the proximity of Boston for some time, only passing Coningsby at 2.20am, just 15 miles inland. Ten minutes later L.14 dropped five HE bombs and seven incendiaries over Blankney Dales followed a few minutes later by an HE bomb that fell at Kirkstead. The only damage caused by these 13 bombs was a broken window at the latter place. Just over two miles to the north, Manger then released 11 HE bombs over the village of Stixwould. Five of these failed to detonate and although the others caused no structural damage, they did kill a horse and three sheep. Another couple of miles on and an HE bomb landed harmlessly at Bucknall where L.14 changed on to a north-east course and, at 2.55am, dropped an incendiary at Horsington without effect. A broken window was the only result of four HE and two incendiaries bombs dropped five minutes later over Hemingby. Over the next few minutes L.21 continued to bombard this remote rural area; four HE bombs fell at Goulceby and another at Stenigot. At 3.10am Manger discharged his final bomb, an HE, which landed without harm in Burwell Woods south of Louth. Now just nine miles from the coast, L.14 went out to sea at Mablethorpe at 3.20am.


Zeppelin L.17, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hermann Kraushaar, crossed the north Norfolk coast at Weybourne at 1.45am but appears to have experienced navigation problems. Following a course southwards, he reached Guestwick at 2.10am and Reepham ten minutes later. A change of course took L.17 to the east of East Dereham and Shipdham, reaching Hingham at 2.46am where she turned to the north-east and at 3.10am dropped an HE bomb at Marlingford and another moments later at Easton; neither caused any damage. Passing to the north of Norwich, L.17 was now heading back to the coast, which she reached at Caister at 3.35am. Records show that she jettisoned a number of bombs when back out over the sea.  



 For more details on this raid see Part 1