Monday 13 June 2016

Bombing Raids on Civilian Targets during WW1

There appears still to be little public knowledge of the air raids that took place in the UK during the First World War.  Most people know about the bombardment of Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby from the sea on 16th December 1914 by German Battlecruisers but there were also Zeppelin raids during the First World War and later bombs were dropped from Gotha Gv bomber planes.

An eye witness who was five years old and living in South London was witness to a burning Zeppelin and described how women came out of their houses shaking their fists and shouting obscenities at the burning airship.
In September 1916, Zeppelin raids on the UK were scaled back in favour of Gothas and the first air raid by Gotha Gv bombers took place in May 1917.

The last Zeppelin raid was in August 1918 when 4 airships bombed targets in the Midlands and the North of England.
In all, 557 civilians were killed, 1,358 were injured and 5,000 bombs were dropped with £1.5 million worth of damage done.  Among the dead were 18 primary school children who were killed when a bomb was dropped on their primary school in Poplar on 5th June 1917.   The raid was described at the time by Commodore Lionel Carlton as being "the beginning of a new epoch in the history of warfare…".  Prophetic words.,_Hartlepool_and_Whitby

CROSS, Robin "World War I in Photographs".- Paragon, Avonmouth, 1996.