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

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29th/30th April 1915

On the night of 29th/30th April 1915, Hauptman Erich Linnarz flew the Army’s new P-class Zeppelin, LZ.38, on the first of a series of headline-grabbing raids that lasted five weeks and eventually saw him bomb London.


At about 11.55pm on 29th April, LZ.38 crossed the Suffolk coast just north of Felixstowe and headed inland towards Ipswich. LZ.38 dropped five incendiary bombs on Ipswich. Newspaper reports tell of a bomb falling close to the wall of the Presbyterian Church, which failed to ignite, followed by another nearby which fell in the roadway on Waterloo Street. The next bomb – which appears to be an incendiary - struck No. 60 Rosebery Villlas in Brooks Hall Road. The occupiers, Mr Goodwin and his family, escaped unhurt, as did his neighbours, but the fire gutted his house as well as Nos. 56 and 58.


Five incendiaries were then dropped on Bramford, without causing any damage, then, at about 12.20am five explosive and 11 incendiary bombs fell on Nettlestead and Willisham but only caused damage to crops.


Once over Bury St. Edmunds and its environs, LZ.38 rained down four HE and about 40 incendiary bombs. The worst fire broke out in Butter Market where an incendiary smashed through the roof of bootmaker Jeremiah Day’s shop at no. 32. The fire quickly spread to neighbouring buildings. Alice Clark, who ran a tobacconist’s at no.31, lost her pet dog in the fire, the only casualty of the raid. Another fire broke out a short distance away at St. Andrew’s Hall - an auction room - and at some neighbouring stables.


LZ.38 turned homewards over the neighbouring village of Westley on which she dropped one HE and six incendiary bombs, then, at Woolpit, LZ.38 dropped a few more incendiaries and the last four HE bombs, gouging a great crater six feet deep in open land. Her final five incendiary bombs dropped ineffectively at Creeting St. Mary, Otley, Bredfield, Melton and Bromeswell. LZ.38 finally left the British coast near Aldeburgh at about 2.00am.


A heavy ground mist prevented aircraft from RNAS Yarmouth attempting to intercept LZ.38 while she was over England.

Bury St Edmunds 1915a

Rosebery Villas, Brooks Hall Road, Ipswich

Butter Market, Bury St. Edmunds

Casualties: 0 killed, 0 injured


Damage: £9,010

Ipswich 1a

(Courtesy of the David Marks Collection)