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/8th September 1915 (part 1)

London, Suffolk, Herts.

Casualties: 18 killed, 38 injured


Damage: £9,616

German Army airships returned on the night of 7th September, when three – including one of the wooden-framed Schütte-Lanz airships - attempted to strike against London.


Zeppelin LZ.77, commanded by Hauptmann Alfred Horn, came in over Clacton at about 10.40pm but failed to strike at the capital. Instead she meandered, apparently aimlessly, around Essex and Suffolk until 1.30am when she dropped an incendiary bomb on Monks Soham, west of Framlingham, which landed in a field at Church Farm but failed to ignite. About ten minutes later a high explosive (HE) bomb fell in a wheat stubble field at Pound Farm, Framlingham. The bomb buried itself three feet in the ground but failed to explode. The next bomb – an incendiary – landed at Great Glemham, amongst buildings on Home Farm owned by the Earl of Cranbrook, destroying a reaper/binding machine with a value of £7. The final three bombs – all incendiaries - landed in fields at the village of Benhall, south of Saxmundham, two at Old Lodge Farm and one at Green Farm. LZ.77 then continued up the Suffolk coast before finally departing over Lowestoft at about 2.20am.


Schütte-Lanz 2 (SL.2) came inland at the mouth of the River Crouch at about 10.50pm. Tracing a path over Essex towards London, she reached Leytonstone at about 11.40pm where her commander, Hauptmann Richard von Wobeser, turned south. Following the River Lea to the docks on the Isle of Dogs, he dropped seven incendiary and one HE bomb there at about 11.45pm. The HE bomb completely destroyed 8, 9 and 10 Gaverick Street, off West Ferry Road, and injured 11 people. Moments later an incendiary fell on the John Evelyn, a sailing barge moored at Snowden’s Wharf, close to the entrance to Millwall Docks. The master and mate of the barge suffered horrific burns and both died in hospital a few days later.


Crossing the Thames, SL.2 dropped further bombs across south-east London. In Deptford, at 34 Hughes Fields, one of these tragically killed five members of the Beechey family; the surviving child was taken in by Dr. Barnado's. Further bombs fell in Greenwich but caused only minor damage, including one that fell close to the Royal Observatory. The final bomb dropped in Kingsman Street, Woolwich, where flying glass injured three people. At 11.54pm, a 6-pdr gun at Woolwich Arsenal fired three rounds at SL.2, and the 13-pdr across the Thames at Royal Albert Dock fired once, all without effect.


Official reports state that SL.2 then turned back west and, coming over Bermondsey, commenced a second bombing run. A close inspection of all the reports, however, suggests SL.2 departed and another Zeppelin, LZ.74, appeared over south-east London.

Hauptmann Alfred Horn, commander of Army Zeppelin LZ.77


Courtesy of www.frontflieger.de

HORN ALFRED_foto-1 (3)