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)


9th/10th July 1916


There were two incursions over Kent on 9 July. The first, in the morning, appears to be a photo reconnaissance flight over the new RNAS airfield at Manston, near Ramsgate. At about 10.40am a German aircraft was sighted at about 12,000 feet approaching the north-east Kent coast. It came inland between Westgate and Birchington, flying directly to Manston before circling back to the coast. A mobile AA gun fired three rounds into a cloudy sky without success. Although defence aircraft flew 19 sorties, only two pilots saw the raider. One lost it in cloud, but the other, Flt sub-Lt F. S. Mills, flying a Bristol Scout from Manston, pursued it out to sea for 25 minutes (40 miles) and fired two drums of ammunition from his Lewis gun without effect, then, coming under return fire, he turned back.


Later that day, at about 11.50pm, a Friedrichshafen FF 33h seaplane came inland over Aycliffe, between Dover and Folkestone. It flew west along the coast to Capel-le-Fern then came inland and turned back towards Dover, passing over St. Radigunds Abbey and Buckland, before flying over the town at a height estimated between 800 and 1,000 feet. Credible observers ascertained that the aircraft flew over Dover with its engine switched off; with no engine noise and flying low, the raider evaded detection as it crossed the town and therefore no defensive action took place.


According to the commander of the Dover garrison, the raider dropped eight 10kg high-explosive bombs in a line just to the west of the castle. The first fell behind Castlemount Cottages followed by two more in the grounds of Castlemount, which served as a military hospital (where Monastery Avenue now runs). The next fell at the north end of Lauriston Place, then two in the grounds of Victoria Park. The penultimate bomb landed against a cliff, striking an old stable block on the east side of Trevanian Street, close to Castle Hill Road. The final bomb dropped in a garden at 1 Douro Place where it blew off the top of an old well. The bombs caused no personal injuries and the only damage recorded was a large number of broken windows.  

Casualties: 0 killed,  0 injured


Damage: £48