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)

Lincs., Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambs., Kent

31st July/1st August 1916


Another large air raid, involving eight Zeppelins, but again effects were minimal. Areas of mist and fog did not help either the attackers find targets or the defenders to engage.


L.14, commanded by Hauptmann Kuno Manger, came inland over the Wash close to Sutton Bridge at about 12.10am. Taking a southerly course, L.14 dropped two high-explosive (HE) and two incendiary bombs at 12.33am at March. Landing close to the railway at Whitemoor Junction, one of the bombs cut through three telegraph wires. Turning east, L.14 dropped an incendiary at Hockwold, which failed to ignite, before releasing seven HE and an incendiary at 1.30am, on Croxton Heath, north of Thetford. A short while before L.22 had dropped a flare there, causing the heath to burn. Presuming an important target lay below, Manger added his bombs to the fire. Fifteen minutes later L.14 dropped two incendiaries at Bunwell, then a single incendiary half a mile east of the station at Buckenham. She then followed the railway line to Reedham, dropping four HE bombs at 2.05am, before going back out to sea just south of Great Yarmouth at 2.15am.  


L.22, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Martin Dietrich, came inland near Lowestoft at 10.30pm and followed a south-westerly course, dropping her first bomb, an incendiary, at the village of Poslingford at 11.45pm. After changing course twice, attracted by a light at West Wickham aerodrome, L.22 dropped four HE bombs at 12.20am, one of which landed on the airfield and the others within 300 yards of it. Five minutes later she dropped six incendiary bombs in fields near Haverhill Gasworks, followed by five HE bombs at Withersfield, breaking windows in four houses. A HE bomb at Great Wratting failed to explode. Next, L.22 approached Thetford at 1.25m, aiming three HE bombs at Snarehill airfield south-east of the town, but without damage. Over Croxton Heath, L.22 released a flare and started the fire that attracted L.14. Dietrich then released six HE and four incendiaries near Hevingham, where bomb splinters injured a horse. The final bomb, an incendiary, landed at Burgh-next-Aylsham, before L.22 passed out to sea between Mundesley and Happisburgh at 2.10am.


L.16, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Erich Sommerfeldt, crossed the coast near Skegness at about 11.35pm, shortly after L.14. She dropped only six incendiary bombs, causing no damage. Proceeding across Lincolnshire towards Newark, she dropped two incendiaries at Caythorpe at 1.35am. Five minutes later L.16 dropped another at Skinnand, followed at 1.55am by one at Langford Common. Turning for the coast, she dropped two final bombs, at Metheringham at 2.15am and West Ashby at 2.25am, before heading out to sea near Mablethorpe.

















Casualties: 0 killed,  0 injured


Damage: £139