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)


23rd/24th August 1916


News of the approach of a single army Zeppelin, LZ.97, likely commanded by Hauptmann Erich Linnarz, was received at Harwich at 23.33pm. The commander of the garrison gave the ‘Take Air Raid Action’ warning three minutes later. LZ.97 came inland over the mouth of the River Debden near the Bawdsey Ferry and took a south-west course towards Felixstowe and Harwich. Passing over the AA gun at the club house on the golf course south of the ferry, LZ.97 dropped a high-explosive bomb in a field about 200 yards north of the village of Old Felixstowe, followed by another on a field at Cowpasture Farm, about 600 yards north of Walton church. The raider then appeared to head towards Landguard Fort at Felixstowe but turned away before reaching it. Now heading northwards, LZ.97 passed over Blofield Hall and dropped five HE bombs in fields between there and Trimley station where a single incendiary bomb narrowly missed the station buildings.  From the station, LZ.97 steered towards the village of Trimley St. Mary, dropping four incendiary bombs on the way then, circling over the village, she dropped five more incendiaries. One fell at Street Farm, one at The Grange, one at the Rectory and two at a house known as The Limes. There one landed in the garden and the other smashed through the roof of a barn but fell into a bath full of water which extinguished it.


LZ.97 then took an easterly course away from Trimley, dropping an HE bomb at Mill Farm and another near Hill House in the parish of Walton but which failed to detonate. From there LZ.97 followed a north-east line, dropping another ten HE bombs between there and  a stretch of water known as King’s Fleet, which all fell on fields or marshland without causing any damage. The sodden nature of the ground meant the exploding bombs made little noise. LZ.97 crossed back over the Debden, was heard at Hollesley at 12.12am and went out to sea near Orford Ness. At no point during the raid did anyone see LZ.97, her course only tracked by the sound of her engines and by her bombs.






Casualties: 0 killed,  0 injured


Damage: £3