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)


2nd/3rd September 1917


While the crews of Kagohl 3 were undergoing night-flying training, aircraft of Kagohl 4, normally assigned bombing missions behind the Allied lines on the Western Front, were carrying out attacks on Calais and Boulogne. According to British sources two diverted to attack Dover, while German sources claim only one made the raid.  


The aircraft approached from the north-east and came in close to Dover Castle at 11.05pm, dropping three HE bombs on a military camp at Northfall Meadow. The bombs destroyed a hut and killed 2nd Lt. Henry Larcombe of 6th Royal Fusiliers, injured another officer of the regiment and two privates of the 583rd Employment Company, Labour Corps, attached to the Fusiliers. The next bomb was an unusual one. It landed in the grounds of Castlemount Hospital where it failed to explode and on examination was found to be a 9.84-inch trench mortar shell adapted to be dropped from the air. Weighing 91 kgs this type was known on the Western Front as a ‘Crashing Christopher’. Another bomb struck a house in Castlemount Road, blowing out a side wall, and the family were lucky to escape with just slight injuries to one child, Daisy Warman.


Two 12kg HE bombs then fell on Leyburn Road (now Leyburne Road) in a section known as Guilford Terrace. One struck No. 15 where it wrecked the attic and that of No. 17 next door. Although considerable damage occurred no one was hurt. The other bomb landed in the garden of an unoccupied house at No. 39 breaking windows and scarring the walls. Another 12kg bomb fell behind the post office in Maison Dieu Road, shattering courtyard walls close to Prospect Cottages and injuring two women. Following a curved course, the raiders were heading back towards the harbour when the next bomb dropped on the timber yard of W. Crundall & Co., just off the High Street, blowing off the roof of the saw mill and causing other damage including a small fire which the Fire Brigade were able to extinguish. Moments later a second 91kg bomb fell at the back of the Angel Inn on High Street, where the garden reached to the back of houses in Wood Street, close to Crundall’s timber yard.

The bomb gouged a great crater and caused much damage to the backs of houses in High Street and Wood Street. Over the Western Heights three bombs fell close to the 64 Steps near the Drop Redoubt but all merely dug craters about five feet deep. A final bomb fell in the sea.


Dover received no advance warning of the raid and as such the AA guns did not open fire. One RFC aircraft took off from Dover at 11.05pm but it was too late to have any effect. Another aircraft took off 20 minutes later but by then raider/s were on their way home.









Casualties:  1 killed,   10 injured


Damage: £3,486