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 2)

London, Suffolk, Herts.

For Casualties and Damage

see Part 1

At 11.55pm, while the Woolwich guns engaged SL.2, the Waltham Abbey guns fired three rounds at LZ.74, commanded by Hauptmann Friedrich George. Believing he was over Leyton, and wishing to lighten his ship, George released 45 bombs while he was actually over Cheshunt. No casualties occurred, although they inflicted damage to 13 buildings, smashed numerous windows, broke a section of railway track and wrecked a great number of greenhouses at the market gardens and nurseries in the locality.

 

Following the River Lea southwards towards London, LZ.74 appeared over the City and, with 33 bombs still on board, dropped a sighting incendiary bomb that fell close to Fenchurch Street station, before crossing the Thames. Passing close to the Surrey Docks, bombs dropped in Keetons Road, Bermondsey and a HE bomb landed on 181 Ilderton Road, Rotherhithe, killing six and injuring five. Another bomb injured three in Sharratt Street before a HE bomb that fell on 32 Childeric Road, Deptford, killed three members of the Suckling family and injured three of the Pain family. Seconds later, another HE bomb dropped on 66 Clifton Hill, killing Frederick and Emma Dann and injuring Janet, their 16-year-old daughter, as well as 73-year-old Tamer Marchant. Hauptmann George then steered LZ.74 southwards until he reached Bromley, then he turned, passing close to Chislehurst before heading back to the coast, crossing the Thames at Purfleet at about 12.55am where she briefly came under anti-aircraft fire. When LZ.74 reached Belgium, Hauptmann George recorded receiving two minor hits on LZ.74.

 

Misty weather on the east coast meant only two RNAS aircraft took to the sky to oppose the raid - from Yarmouth and Felixstowe - these only getting airborne at 2.15am and 2.30am respectively, as both SL.2 and LZ.74 headed homewards. Flight commander R.J. Hope Vere escaped injury when the BE2c he flew from Felixstowe crash landed near Trimley in Suffolk, after engine failure forced him down.

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German propaganda postcard showing Zeppelin raid on London docks