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)

London, Kent, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Herts., Beds., Cambs., Lincs., Notts., E. Yorks.

2nd/3rd September 1916

(part 3)


Kapitänleutnant Robert Koch, commanding L.24, came in over the Norfolk coast at Trimingham, near Mundesley, at about 12.30am, but did not venture far inland. Ten minutes later he had reached Blickling, about nine miles from the coast, then dropped two HE bombs harmlessly at Briston at 12.50am, followed by an incendiary at the village of Plumstead before returning to the coast at Bacton around 1.00am where AA guns opened fire. L.24 followed the coast to Mundesley where she was engaged by an AA gun at 1.12am and retaliated by dropping five HE bombs which fell on the beach below the cliff where the gun was positioned.  Koch brought L.24 inland again, dropping two incendiaries without effect at the village of Trunch at 1.25am then, homing in on the flares burning at RNAS airfield at Bacton, dropped 13 HE and 28 incendiary bombs five minutes later near the neighbouring village of Ridlington, all without causing any damage. L.24 then steered out to sea over Bacton.


Zeppelin L.30, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Horst von Buttlar, crossed the Suffolk coast at Southwold at 10.40pm and travelled on a north-west course inland for 15 miles into Norfolk. At Earsham, near Bungay, von Buttlar dropped nine HE and 12 incendiary bombs at about 11.15pm, injuring a man and partly demolishing the farm house and other buildings at Hill Farm, and also smashing windows and damaging buildings at Park Farm. Eight HE bombs and an incendiary fell moments later on Bungay Common, killing two cows and injuring three others, followed by six HE bombs that landed at Ditchingham. Here bombs broke 50 window panes at Ditchingham House, another 21 panes at The Grange as well as removing roof tiles then, at the House of Mercy, a female reformatory, the blast broke 52 windows and a number of roof tiles, while two windows were also smashed at St. Mary’s Church. Three minutes after the bombs struck Ditchingham, four more HE fell north of Broome, smashing cottage windows at Redhouse Farm. Two 3-pdr AA guns at Fritton, about four miles south-west of Great Yarmouth, opened fire claiming hits on L.30 but she went out to sea and returned home safely.


Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schütze brought L.11 inland over Great Yarmouth at 10.15pm. Three minutes later he dropped an HE and an incendiary bomb on marshy land about half a mile north-west of Southtown railway station without effect. These were the only bombs L.11 dropped on land. Schütze dropped more bombs at sea after AA guns opened fire and then followed the coast south towards Felixstowe and Harwich. At about 2.30am L.11 dropped three HE and an incendiary bomb over Harwich harbour but all fell in the water. Six AA guns of the Harwich garrison then opened fire at which point L.11 turned away, headed back up the coast and went out to sea at Aldeburgh at 2.50am.


Commanding L.23 over England for the first time, Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Ganzel approached the Norfolk coast over The Wash, releasing a number of incendiary bombs in the sea at 10.15pm near Snettisham. He then crossed The Wash, appearing over Kirton Fen, south of Boston, where he dropped an HE bomb. it broke windows and damaged






buildings while also demolishing a fowlhouse and killing some chickens. Five minutes later another HE bomb dropped, landing at Kirton Holme, then two landed at Swineshead before L.23 turned south and released another that fell at Gosberton. There was no recorded damage. Having followed a great circle since coming inland, Ganzel then turned north dropping four HE and an incendiary on Boston at 10.54pm. These bombs damaged a signal box on the Great Northern Railway and smashed glass at a workshop and an office at the gasworks as well as damaging the interiors. A house was also partly wrecked in Fydell Street and windows smashed in 75 homes with some doors blown in. A bomb at the Grand Sluice on the River Witham killed 17-year-old Horace Oughton, also injuring his parents and another man. Heading south from Boston, L.23 circled between Wisbech and Spalding for about 35 minutes before dropping an incendiary bomb without effect at Weston. She then flew out over The Wash at 11.55pm, dropping 23 bombs at sea.


Zeppelin L.13, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Eduard Prölss, came inland south of Cleethorpes on the Lincolnshire coast at 10.56pm where, attracted by a searchlight, she dropped six HE and two incendiary bombs at Humberston four minutes later, without causing damage. She passed Market Rasen and at 11.40pm dropped an incendiary, which fell harmlessly at the hamlet of Caenby, south of Glentham.  Following a westward course, Prölss passed north of Gainsborough before releasing four incendiaries at Morton without damage, then five HE and five incendiary bombs over the village of East Stockwith at about 12.15am. These demolished two cottages, injuring a woman who later died of shock, smashing windows in other dwellings as well as breaking others in the neighbouring village of West Stockwith. L.13 reached Tickhill at 12.47am before heading towards Retford in Nottinghamshire where she began to drop the first of 15 HE and four incendiary bombs at 12.56am. These demolished a small fruit warehouse in Spital Hill, broke windows at the Wesleyan School Room on Grove Street, seriously damaged a house in Grove Street and seven more in Trent Street, where three women were injured. The most significant damage occurred at the Retford Gasworks. A combination of HE and incendiary bombs destroyed all three gasholders, accounting for most of the monetary damage that night. Damage also occurred to the manager’s house and the Works office. Throughout the town another 67 houses had windows smashed. Prölss headed back towards Gainsborough and at 1.05am dropped an HE bomb that fell harmlessly at Lea. A final incendiary landed at Aylesby, west of Grimsby at 1.25am, before L.13 went out to sea a few miles south of Cleethorpes five minutes later.  


Zeppelin L.22, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Martin Dietrich, came inland near Donna Nook at about 10.50pm and meandered across Lincolnshire. She reached Goole in East Yorkshire before turning back towards Scunthorpe where she arrived at about 12.20am. From there Dietrich picked out the Humber, which he crossed near Killingholme at about 12.35am. When east of Hull seven minutes later, AA guns at Marfleet and Sutton-on-Hull opened fire on L.22. Dietrich continued on a north-east course towards the coast, dropping his only bombs of the raid on the village of Flinton, where three HE bombs landed harmlessly in fields. L.22 went out to sea at Aldbrough at 12.55am.


For more details on this raid see Parts 1 & 2