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)

Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, London, Surrey, Kent, Sussex

For Casualties and Damage

see Part 1

Oberleutnant zur See Werner Peterson brought L.16 inland near Bacton at about 6.40pm, ten minutes behind L.14 and L.15; she was the Navy’s latest Zeppelin, commissioned only 19 days earlier. Ten minutes later, Peterson dropped a high explosive (HE) bomb at Banningham, which caused no damage. L.16 then followed a slightly erratic course southwards. Near Chelmsford, she came under fire from a maxim gun and at Kelvedon Hatch, at about 9.30pm, a 1-pdr pom-pom convinced Peterson to turn away from London. Steering north, he appeared near Sawbridgeworth at about 9.45pm from where he saw lights about 10 miles off. These were reputedly showing from the hospital and the factory of G. Garratt and Sons in Hertford. Arriving over that town at about 10.00pm, L.16 dropped 14 HE and 30 incendiaries. The incendiaries landed in four clusters: seven in or near Hartham recreation ground, 12 around the Old Cross area, six in a garden on North Road and the last four in other gardens on North Road. The first nine HE bombs landed, well spread, between the Folly and North Road. One, which landed outside the Conservative Club in Bull Plain, killed five and wounded four, and at No. 37 killed a child. Bombs in North Road killed two men, both labourers, outside Garratt’s Mill, and also Bombardier Arthur Cox, 2/1st Norfolk Battery, Royal Field Artillery, not far from St. Andrew’s church. The last five HE bombs landed in a group, on Welch’s Meadow and close to the hospital. Total casualties in the town amounted to nine killed and 15 injured. In addition, ten buildings suffered considerable damage and 141 lesser damage.


Peterson then set course for home, crossing the coast near Mundesley at about 12.05am, seemingly believing the River Lea at Hertford was the Thames and he had bombed London.


Commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Horst Freiherr Treusch von Buttlar-Brandenfels, L.11 was the last of the raiders to come inland, arriving over the coast near Bacton at about 8.25pm. She followed a south-west course and twenty minutes later arrived over Coltishall. There, L.11 dropped nine HE bombs, two of which failed to explode. The other seven detonated in open fields between Coltishall and Great Hautbois, not far from Coltishall station. The only recorded damage was ‘a tin shed partly blown down and a few panes of glass broken’. L.11 also dropped seven incendiary bombs close by which landed near a group of three cottages, but buckets of water quickly applied served to extinguish them. Over Horstead, L.11 dropped four more HE and three incendiary bombs, which all fell in open fields resulting in just seven broken panes of glass.


L.11 then continued towards Wroxham where she may have picked up the railway line to Norwich, because as she approached that city at about 9.00pm, a Royal Horse Artillery 15-pdr at Mousehold Heath fired two rounds, convincing her commander to turn east and head towards the coast. She went out to sea near Great Yarmouth at about 9.15pm.









13th/14th October 1915 (Part 2)


von Buttlar-Brandenfels commanded L.11 when it bombed Norfolk on the night of 13 October

Von Buttlar1