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)

North-East, N. Yorks., E. Yorks., Norfolk, Scotland

8th/9th August 1916 (part 1)


This large raid saw eight navy Zeppelins appear over the north-east coast of Britain and one over Norfolk. The most effective attack took place on Hull.


Kapitänleutnant Robert Koch, commanding L.24, came in south of Flamborough Head at 12.15am. He headed inland as far as Market Weighton where he changed course, appearing uncertain of his position until, heading south he struck the Selby to Hull railway line and the River Humber, which he followed to the east. At 1.18am L.24 passed over Hessle, dropping eight high-explosive (HE) and two incendiaries which all fell harmlessly in fields between Swanland and Hessle, only breaking a few windows. From there Hull became an obvious target. Approaching the city from the north-west, at 1.20am L.24 released three HE bombs that fell on the golf course followed by another which failed to detonate and four incendiaries dropping around the tracks just south of Spring Bank Junction on the Hull and Barnsley Railway.  Koch then steered L.24 along the south side of Anlaby Road, dropping eight HE bombs causing considerable damage in Sandringham Street, Granville Street, Walliker Street and Selby Street. A bomb which landed in the backway between Sandringham and Granville Streets injured Mr and Mrs Broadley and killed their three-year-old son John Charles who had gone there seeking protection from the bombs. The bomb wrecked two houses in those streets and damaged others. A bomb in Walliker Street killed Charles Lingard at no. 61 and Emma Evers (46), who was sheltering in a doorway. It also destroyed a fried fish shop and a house in that street and wrecked two others on the corner of Brunswick Avenue. Bombs also destroyed two houses in Selby Street and damaged a number of others,  killing Mary Louisa Bearpark (aged 44) and Emmie Bearpark (14), and three members of the Hall family - Rose (31), Elizabeth (9) and Mary (7). Three other residents of Hull died from shock brought on by the bombs. Engaged by an AA gun, L.24 started to climb and, while circling West Park and Hymers College, a bomb dropped in Arnold Street which set fire to a haystack, before Koch struck off northwards, dropping a succession of incendiary bombs on the following Streets: Wyndham, Derringham, Louis, Princes, Clumber and Belvoir. In Park Avenue four fires broke out, and in Victoria Avenue there was at least one fire. L.24 went out to sea near Hornsea at 1.47am.





L.14 (Hauptmann Kuno Manger) came inland at Berwick-upon-Tweed at 12.25am, crossed the border into Scotland and dropped an incendiary on a farm at Fallside Hill near Gordon without damage. Turning to the south-east, Manger released three HE bombs at Grahamslaw in the parish of Eckford at 1.08am where they fell in a turnip and grass field, followed by an incendiary at Kersknowe a minute later. Another three minutes and two more incendiaries landed at Clifton in the parish of Morebattle. The only recorded damage was to a field of thistles. L.14 then flew east over the Cheviot Hills, dropping an incendiary half a mile south of Southern Knowe before reaching the coast at Alnmouth at 2.00am.


L.11 (Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schütze) came in over Whitley Bay, north of the mouth of the Tyne, at 2.30am. After releasing a flare, which landed in a field south of the cemetery, L.11 dropped seven HE bombs in a line from Whitley Road to the railway station, a distance of 223 yards. The first bomb seriously damaged premises owned by a confectioner, a fish merchant, a baker, a poulterer and the Tyneside Gas Company. The second bomb wrecked a house in Albany Gardens while the third bomb detonated in a yard at 23 Albany Gardens causing severe damage to the house. The next two fell close to the corner of Algernon Road and Clarence Crescent, bursting a water main, damaging a wall and breaking many windows. Then two more fell near the Station damaging a signal post, fences and a hen house. Turning south L.11 then dropped an incendiary on a house in Burnfoot Terrace but the Fire Brigade quickly extinguished it. Two more incendiaries struck houses in Lish Avenue causing minor damage, then another HE bomb dropped between Lish Avenue and Carlton Terrace but may not have detonated. The final two bombs, incendiaries, landed in Carlton Terrace where a serious fire broke out at no. 3 practically destroying the building. Five people suffered injuries in the raid. The 3-inch AA gun at Whitley Bay got off four rounds but mist prevented the searchlight from illuminating the target.


Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Mathy, commanding L.31, arrived off the coast between Sunderland and Seaham and appears to have released a number of bombs over the sea between 12.15 and 1.15am, either aimed at shipping or to gain altitude. Coming inland at Whitburn, between Sunderland and South Shields, L.31 passed over Bolden and Cleadon at about 1.45am before turning back towards the coast. Over Marsden, Mathy aimed six HE bombs at Salmons Hall, a large house formerly known as Marsden Cottage, which along with surrounding buildings was now providing miner’s dwellings. The bombs broke numerous windows, blew slates off the roof, damaged the gable end and killed a horse, but no one was injured. Mathy then passed over South Shields and Tynemouth but a very effective blackout and fog on the Tyne meant he dropped no more bombs and went back out to sea.


For more details about this raid see Part 2








Casualties: 10 killed,  16 injured


Damage: £13,196