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)


7th May 1917


On the night of 6/7 May 1917 a single Albatros C VII of the Army’s Feldflieger Abteilung 19 approached London from the north-east. Offizierstellvertreter Rudolf Klimke (pilot) and Oberleutnant Walter Leon (observer) do not appear to have received official permission for the raid.


The first indication of an aeroplane over London came from Wanstead AA gun station who reported engine noise at 12.40am. Moments later a 12.5kg HE bomb landed on open ground on Hackney Marshes near the White House Inn, digging a crater six feet in diameter and three feet deep. The Albatros dropped five more 12.5kg bombs as it followed a westward course across north London.


The next bomb landed in the back garden of 130 Stoke Newington Road, breaking 40 panes of glass in the house, damaging the contents as well as smashing a number of windows in a greenhouse. The blast also smashed windows in neighbouring buildings in Stoke Newington Road and Wellington Road. Two minutes later a bomb smashed through the roof of 9 Newington Green Mansions on Green Lanes and exploded in the flat where Frederick and Annie Dawson were asleep. The bomb killed Frederick and severely injured his wife. Another woman in the building was slightly injured and five other flats suffered serious water damage when the bomb smashed the cistern. The next bomb fell on a gravel path at 19 Aberdeen Park, off Highbury Grove, where it dug a crater, smashed some glass and damaged a chicken house, killing a chicken.


The final two bombs failed to cause significant damage. One dropped on the open space at Highbury Fields, close to Ronalds Road, gouging out a three feet deep crater and smashing a water main. The other failed to explode when it struck a house at 65 Eden Grove, off Holloway Road, but still caused damage to a bathroom.


Two RFC aircraft of No. 50 Squadron took off from Bekesbourne, and two of the RNAS were airborne from Manston, but none caught a glimpse of the raider on its homeward flight across Kent.  







Casualties: 1 killed,  2 injured


Damage: £510

An Albatros C VII

Albatros CVII