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)

8th/9th September 1915

(part 2)

London, North Yorks.,


For casualties and damage

see Part 1

Kapitänleutnant Alois Böcker, commanding  Zeppelin L.14, intended to attack London but encountered engine problems shortly after coming inland at about 8.10pm, over Blakeney, Norfolk. He followed a line that he believed would take him to Norwich, but he was a little off course and approached East Dereham instead.


At about 8.45pm Böcker, attracted by lights on the ground, began dropping bombs which fell close to a camp of the 2/1st City of London Yeomanry in the grounds of Bylaugh Hall,  about four and a half miles north-east of East Dereham. L14 dropped a high explosive (HE) bomb, which landed about 150 yards from the tents, and between 14 and 17 incendiary bombs, which fell in neighbouring fields. The only casualty was a cow.


L.14 then arrived over East Dereham at about 8.55pm, dropping 15 HE and 16 incendiary bombs on the town. One incendiary fell on an oil store behind an ironmonger’s shop in Market Place, causing a significant fire. Another bomb smashed through a house adjoining the Corn Hall, an historic building which had its glass roof shattered. Other bombs caused serious damage to buildings in Church Street, including the White Lion pub where two customers, Harry and Sylvia Johnson, were severely injured. Other bombs killed 61-year-old James Taylor, Harry Paterson, a 44-year-old jeweller and Lance Corporal Alfred Pomeroy, 2/1st City of London Yeomanry. Private Leslie MacDonald of the same regiment later died of injuries caused during the raid. Bombs also landed - without damage - close to tents at the V.A.D. hospital in the grounds of the Old Vicarage on St. Withburga Lane.


L.14 dropped nine more HE bombs on Scarning, to the west of East Dereham, which caused no damage. She then headed back to the coast, crossing out to sea shortly before 10.00pm.


Three pilots from RNAS Yarmouth went up to search for the raider. One returned early with engine problems. Another made a forced landing due to fuel issues.  The third, Flight Sub-Lieutenant G. Hilliard flying a BE2c, died when his bombs exploded on making a heavy landing at Bacton.    



Sightseers throng Church Street, East Dereham, after the raid by Zeppelin L.14

(Courtesy of the David Marks Collection)

A postcard showing the damaged building next to East Dereham's historic Corn Hall, and the Corn Hall's shattered glass roof

(Courtesy of the David Marks Collection)

For air crew losses see Part 1

Dereham milA DerehamA