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)

Hants.,Yorks., Lancs.

and Lincs.

25th/26th September 1916

(Part 2)


L.21's raid continued as Frankenburg steered towards a concentration of lights, which he believed marked Derby, but his navigation was way out as his course took him towards Bolton, about 60 miles north-west of Derby. Approaching the town over Astley Bridge, he dropped a bomb close to Eden’s Orphanage on Thorns Road. Two bombs followed rapidly, an HE in Hobart Street, breaking a number of windows, and an incendiary in Darley Street. Then, at Lodge Vale, an HE bomb demolished the end of a terrace of cottages but rescuers managed to pull the three occupants from the rubble. Two incendiaries landed harmlessly, in Waldeck Street and at the junction of Chorley Old Road and Avenue Street, after which L.21 flew over Queen’s Park and passed the gas works before dropping two incendiaries, setting fire a stable at the council’s Wellington Yard Depot and a house in Wellington Street. Moments later though, disaster struck as five HE bombs exploded around Kirk Street. The blast killed 13 people (five men, five women and three children), seriously injured nine other peoples and destroyed five terraced houses (58 – 66 Kirk Street) in this working class area of the city, as well as causing widespread damage in the locality. At the same time a bomb in Back John Street caused more damage and killed a horse in a stable. Passing over Queen’s Park again, completing an anti-clockwise circle, L.21 dropped an HE bomb that failed to explode.


Continuing on a wider radius circle this time, an HE and incendiary that Frankenburg dropped at Washington Street, set fire to a rope works and caused some damage to the Co-operative Laundry. An incendiary bomb that struck Ormrod & Hardcastle’s Mill in Parrot Street caused a fire that the mill’s sprinkler system extinguished, and an HE bomb exploding in Back Apple Street did considerable damage to a number of houses, but no one was seriously injured. A dud HE bomb followed, smashing through the roof of Trinity Church by the railway station. The last bombs released by L.21 fell near the Town Hall, in Mawdsley Street, Ashburner Street and Mealhouse Lane. The fire brigade quickly dealt with the fires that broke out. Starting back towards the coast, L.21 passed Blackburn, Burnley and Skipton, where she was at 1.30am. At Bolton Abbey, a few miles east of Skipton, she dropped an HE bomb. It landed in a field but failed to explode. Passing Ripon and Thirsk, L.21 then flew over the North Yorkshire moors, eventually reaching the coast at Whitby at 3.05am.






L.22, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Martin Dietrich, came inland at about 10.30pm near Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast and followed a westward course. Once inland she dropped an incendiary at Maltby-le-Marsh and another about a mile south-east of Market Rasen. Neither appears to have caused any damage. At about 12.15am, L.22 dropped seven incendiaries over Tinsley Park Colliery without effect. Dietrich crossed over Sheffield towards Fulwood before circling back to the Burngreave area, north-east of the city. Here he commenced his attack at about 12.25am.


The first two bombs, both incendiaries, landed in Burngreave Cemetery where they burnt a patch of grass, but seconds later an HE bomb fell in Danville Street, killing a man in bed and injuring three other people. Immediately one followed in Grimesthorpe Road, which killed an elderly woman and her daughter. In Petre Street those exploding bombs attracted Thomas Wilson to his bedroom window just as another exploded outside. A fragment of the bomb killed him where he stood. The AA gun at Shiregreen searched for L.22 through the mist that hung over the city; unable to find her the frustrated crew defiantly fired off two rounds in the direction of the sound. The next HE bomb landed on a house in Writtle Street where it mortally wounded 57-year-old Elizabeth Bellemy. Tragedy next struck in Cossey Road where two HE bombs exploded. The first demolished Nos. 26, 28 and 30. At No. 28 the bomb killed a married couple, Albert and Alice Newman. Next door, at No. 26, the bomb killed eight, including the occupiers of No. 24 who had come to shelter in their neighbour’s cellar. The second struck No. 10, killing a young couple, Levi and Beatrice Hames and their one-year-old son, Horace. George Ineson, age 28, caught outside during the raid, was also killed nearby. L.21 then passed over a large concentration of important industrial works but only dropped one incendiary, causing a small fire at the Atlas Steel and Iron Works. L.21 resumed dropping HE bombs over Corby Street. One demolished No. 136, killing all seven of the Tyler family. It also killed an 11-year-old boy who lived next door and Martha Shakespeare of No. 143, who died of her injuries. A bomb in Princess Street destroyed the Primitive Methodist Chapel before L.21 crossed over the River Don, dropping an HE and an incendiary in Washford Road. The HE bomb caused widespread destruction but incredibly no one was seriously injured. The last death occurred near the railway at Woodbourn Junction. William Guest had gone to tell a neighbour in Woodbourn Road that a light was showing from their window when a bomb exploded and killed him. Other bombs caused a fierce conflagration at the railway sidings.  A few more bombs were released at Manor Oaks and The Manor, south of the railway, without causing any damage, before L.21 turned away to the north-east. The final bomb, an incendiary, narrowly missed the Railway Carriage & Wagon Works at Darnall. Instead it set fire to a house in Nightingale Street but the occupants had taken shelter elsewhere and were unharmed. Dietrich left Sheffield behind, passing south of Doncaster at 12.45am and north of Scunthorpe at 1.20am. Around the Humber, L.21 came under fire from a number of AA guns, although some struggled to see the target. She passed over the coast near the village of Garton at 2.05am. In the north of England the RFC had only two aircraft airborne due to the fog but neither saw either L.21 or L.22.  


 For more details on this raid see Part 1