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Guest Simon Bull

First Zeppelins shot down

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Guest Simon Bull

I know that the first Zeppelin was the one shot down by Leefe Robinson VC at Cuffley.

I know that not very long afterwards another Zeppelin was shot down at Potters Bar. Was the one shot down at Potters Bar the second one to be shot down?

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Dolphin

Simon

In brief, the answer is "No".

2Lt W Leefe Robinson, of No 39 Sqn RFC, flying BE 2c 2092 or 2693, shot down German Army Schütte-Lanz airship SL11 on 3 September 1916.

On 24 September, 2Lt F Sowrey of No 39 Sqn, flying BE 2c 4112, shot down German Navy Zeppelin airship L32 over Great Burstead. On the same night, L33 crashed at Little Wigborough.

On 2 October, 2Lt W J Tempest, of No 39 Sqn RFC, flying BE 4577, shot down German Navy Zeppelin airship L31 over Potters Bar.

I hope this helps.

Gareth

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Andrew P

Have the diary of a AIF soldier who was on leave in the UK when the Zepplin was shot down over Potters Bar. Sounded like the crash site was quite a tourist attraction as they had trouble getting a ride out there from London to go and see it.

Regards

Andrew

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welshdoc

On the 31 march 1916 a Zeppelin was shot down over london, by the Royal Artillery. A crew at Depford claimed the kill and a financial reward for doing so. However several other batteries also claimed it so the money was spent on gold medals for the crews. So if this the Potters bar Zeppelin it was earlier than those posted by others with the proviso that it was by ground fire. The medal is listed in the Medal yearbook. I also had an in law who was a right basta*d whose father was one of those who claimed and was awarded the medal. Gareth

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Dolphin

Andrew

The wreckage of L31 was certainly an attraction for spectators and souvenir hunters for several days after the event. Newspapers gave guidance on how to get to the site, and thousands turned out, including the band of the French Garde Republicane, who were on a concert tour of the UK at the time.

There's now a Tempest Avenue (after 2Lt Wulstan Tempest, who shot down the airship) in Potters Bar; the crash site is between Nos 9 and 11. I wonder if a locally-based Pal might be able to take a photograph?

Regards

Gareth

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Tom Morgan
Andrew

The wreckage of L31 was certainly an attraction for spectators and souvenir hunters for several days after the event. Newspapers gave guidance on how to get to the site, and thousands turned out, including the band of the French Garde Republicane, who were on a concert tour of the UK at the time.

There's now a Tempest Avenue (after 2Lt Wulstan Tempest, who shot down the airship) in Potters Bar; the crash site is between Nos 9 and 11. I wonder if a locally-based Pal might be able to take a photograph?

Regards

Gareth

There's an article based on my own visit, with details and a photograph of the crash-site as it looks today if you click here.

Tom

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Dolphin

Tom

Thank you very much for the link.

Best wishes

Gareth

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Boreenatra

Robinson and Sowrey in a different mode of transport. The official announcement of the Secretary of State for War, which appeared in the Gazette for the 5th September 1916 states "His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned officer Lieutenant William Leefe Robinson Worcester Regiment and R.F.C. for most conspicuous bravery. He attacked an enemy airship under circumstances of great difficulty and danger, and sent it crashing to the ground as a flaming wreck. He had been in the air for more than two hours and had previously attacked another airship during his flight"

So this bears out what Gareth has said many times before about the V.C. being awarded for the shooting down of an airship rather than a Zeppelin. Regards Steve

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Dolphin
On the 31 march 1916 a Zeppelin was shot down over London, by the Royal Artillery.

Gareth

Gareth

The Zeppelin shot down on 31 March 1916 was the German Navy airship L15, which received a direct hit from a gun at Purfleet at 2145, which damaged two gas cells. The airship gradually lost height, despite the crew throwing overboard everything they could in an effort to make their craft lighter. The airship eventually came down in the sea 15 miles north of Margate just after 2300. One crew member drowned, while the others were rescued by a British destroyer.

Regards

Gareth

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Andrew P

Thanks Gareth & Tom. Very interesting info on Potters Bar

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Guest Farnboro Flyer

My Father was 16 at the time of the Cuffley incident...........he lived in the Stanmore area of North London.

I recall him telling me that he cycled over to the crash site, and recovered a small piece of the structure.

I had that piece for many years, until my wife(at the time) threw it out without consulting me!!!dam.

Ian

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Rosemary Clarke

I would recommend The Airship VC - Raymond Laurence Rimell's biography of William Leefe Robinson.

Very sadly, tragedy followed heroism for Leefe Robinson - do read.

Rosemary

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tombowcock
Gareth

The Zeppelin shot down on 31 March 1916 was the German Navy airship L15, which received a direct hit from a gun at Purfleet at 2145, which damaged two gas cells. The airship gradually lost height, despite the crew throwing overboard everything they could in an effort to make their craft lighter. The airship eventually came down in the sea 15 miles north of Margate just after 2300. One crew member drowned, while the others were rescued by a British destroyer.

Regards

Gareth

My wifes grandfather Gunner Stanley Rolling was part of this action with 2 Coy Cornwall RGA.

As it was impossible to decide who had provided the killer blow the then Lord Mayor of London Sir Charles Wakefield had a medal struck in 9ct Gold and presented to the men. About 200 in total I believe though I have seen no definitive list anywhere...not even in Sir Charles' personal archive.

The medal was engraved with the recipients name. It was classed as a civillian award so not part of normal army dress.

They still come up for auction from time to time.

Cheers

James

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spike10764

Fron Cosford RAF Museum, an RFC bage made from a piece of L31 shot down over Potter's Bar (you can just make out the inscription saying Potters Bar Zep)

post-1137-1146223367.jpg

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spike10764

A picture they had of Leefe Robinson and the Schutte Lanz Airship LII as wreckage.

(please forgive the reflections It's hard to get a good picture when everything is behind glass)

post-1137-1146223659.jpg

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spike10764

And......... a photograph of Warneford VC framed on the tip of the plane he shot his Zeppelin down in

post-1137-1146224165.jpg

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corinne mills

Hi

Were Sowrey and Robinson stationed at Hornchurch?

This postcard reads billetted in Hornchurch on the reverse

postcard.jpg

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Ladon
Hi

Were Sowrey and Robinson stationed at Hornchurch?

This postcard reads billetted in Hornchurch on the reverse

Robinson, Sowery & Tempest were all in the 39th Home Defence Squadron based at Suttons Farm (later RAF Hornchurch).

Regards

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LowNslow

For those in the UK who may be interested. There's a forthcoming Channel 5 production on the history of the Victoria Cross, which will feature the story of Leefe Robinson.

The second in the series, the Leefe-Robinson episode will be broadcast at 9pm on Channel 5, on Sunday 19th November.

For a sneak 'behind the scenes' on the filming, check out the news section of www.biggles-biplane.com.

Steve

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cpaige

It is seldom known but the first Zeppelin downed was by Reggie Warneford of the RNAS who on June 7th 1915 shot down L37 over Ghent. He used six 20 pound incendiary bombs which he dropped on top of the Zeppelin. There was one survivor, the helmsman who had miraculous escape. Warneford was awarded the VC. He lived only 10 more days as he was killed in a flying accident.

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A.A.Savery

Does anyone know of areas or streets hit by the zeppelins in London?

More specifically I am reffering to information in my grandfather's letters of 1915, where he writes of there being damage in The Strand. Also his sisters reported having had their kitchen ceilings falling in due to the blast which may have been in the Marylebone area.

Was there ever a list of dates compiled with the attacked areas and damaged buildings in London?

I'd be very interested if anyone can add any more to this

Tony

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john w.

Saw the Timewatch programme last night on Zepplins/First Blitz

So just been into Great Burstead to locate the actual crash site of L32 shot down by Sowery.

I read that the 22 crew were buried in a cemetery and then moved up to Staffordshire.

Which church? or churchyard?

The location is shown as Snails Farm, South Green. There is a Snails Hall Farm in South Green on the junction with Outwood Common Road, would the two be the same?

John

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SiegeGunner
I read that the 22 crew were buried in a cemetery and then moved up to Staffordshire.

Which church? or churchyard?

Cannock Chase.

Mick

post-11021-1170517621.jpg

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