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J T Gray

Zeppelin over Essex

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J T Gray

Elsewhere this interesting little thread is running:

 

As someone from near Radwinter, I am fascinated by the idea of our bucolic surrounds being worthy of a visit from the "Babykillers" - surely some mistake, or on their way to bomb Courtalds at Braintree?

Does anyone know any more about a raid over North Essex/Cambridgeshire on the above date?

I add the following, roughly contemporary account (also c/o Kevrow - thanks!)

"Given what Adrian has mentioned about Radwinter I thought I would look up the said date in an interesting book called "Journal from a small village", a diary kept by the Pampisford postmaster during WW1 and who seemed to take an interest in zeppelin raids. Low and behold for 24 May 1917, "Air raid over this part of the country last night. They were heard at Hinxton & Sawston about 2 am. They say fire bombs were dropped in a field at Radwinter but did not explode". "

Thanks for the assistance!

Adrian

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Dolphin

Adrian

The German Navy launched a raid on London using five airships on the night of 23/24 May 1917: L40 (Kptlt E Sommerfeldt), L42 (Kptlt Martin Dietrich), L43 (Kptlt H Kraushaar), L45 (Kptlt Waldemar Kolle) and L47 (Kptlt Richard Wolff).

Due to adverse winds and cloud cover, none of the attackers reached London, but 60 bombs were dropped on the countryside, with one unfortunate person being killed. Some 600 pounds' damage was caused.

The poor weather also hampered the efforts of the RFC and RNAS defensive operations, though the crew of Curtiss H-12 flying boat 8666 were able to attack L40 off Terschelling.

I hope this is useful.

Gareth

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snavek

Where did the airships dump their bombs? grandfather's pocket book has two entries around that date, he was back in Suffolk recovering from a 'blighty' in May and wrote 'Bombs were dropped on East Coast May 20th somewhere but we dont know where'.

The next day he travelled to join his new Unit at Whitley Bay and wrote 'Last Zepp raid Wed. 23rd May '17'. Could he have been referring to the Whitley Bay area or was it back in Suffolk?

Keith

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J T Gray

Very useful, Gareth. Thank you! It goes a long way to explaining why they dropped bombs where they did - sounds as though they just wanted to get rid and go home! Just out of interest, where is that info published?

Interestingly I've spoken to the local history recorder at Radwinter - he has never heard of it, and there was no mention in the parish magazine either. Most odd!

Adrian

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Dolphin
Just out of interest, where is that info published?

Adrian

There are quite a few books with details of the German air raids, but the easiest reference is probably Christopher Cole and E F Cheesman's The Air Defence of Britain 1914-1918, ISBN 0 370 30538 8, published in 1984.

Best wishes

Gareth

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Jempie
Very useful, Gareth. Thank you! It goes a long way to explaining why they dropped bombs where they did - sounds as though they just wanted to get rid and go home! Just out of interest, where is that info published?

Interestingly I've spoken to the local history recorder at Radwinter - he has never heard of it, and there was no mention in the parish magazine either. Most odd!

Adrian

Hi!

Most of those Zeppelins mentioned were destroyed on a raid during October 1917!

Than they were shot down or stranded mainly in France and were destroyed.

L 50 went lost over the Mediterrean Sea...

About L44 , I have it mentioned that during May 1917 ( day not mentioned!) on a raid on Harwich it drifted, with only one motor running ,over the city as free balloon...reason was that many of the crew by temperatures of - 40 ° C and into thin air became unconcensius!

At that time they hadn't oxygen aspiration devises!

The book says "Höchenkrankheit" (Altitude illness)

I have a photo from MALDON (County of Essex) of a destroyed house who was hit by zepp-bombs...

This should match eventually the raid from 23/24 May?

See if I can make a scan of it and post it here!

Source is "L'Evénement Illustré -Brussels" Contemporary paper 1917.

greetings

Jempie

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J T Gray

Thank you for that extra information, Jempie! If anyone can confirm that it was from he same date then I would be very interested in a scan of that picture. If the date is confirmed here I'll PM you with my email!

Being unconscious seems a very good reason for being lost...

Adrian

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Jempie
Thank you for that extra information, Jempie! If anyone can confirm that it was from he same date then I would be very interested in a scan of that picture. If the date is confirmed here I'll PM you with my email!

Being unconscious seems a very good reason for being lost...

Adrian

Hello!

I have the info out of a German bookwork by Georg Paul Neumann

"Die deütschen Luftstreitkräfte im Weltkriege" published 1920

The photo I added was published during 1917!

Annotation : house recently destroyed by a Zeppelin bomb...Maldon -County of Essex.

I cut the pages out of such bound in magazines...forgot what month it was published, could eventually search it up as I know volumes of this magazines are available by a friend-antique bookschopper!

But not having much time at this moment!

Main ennemy was in fact the wind (storms) for Zeppelins as these by many occasions did drift them out of course by times thus running our of fuel! So October,20th 1917 a five zeppelins was out of course and went over France...Not being anabled to sail against the unfavarable stormwinds!

L44 was shot down by AA fire, others finally stranded in France as L41, L45, L55 and L50 went lost over the Mediterranean Sea on same day! Never a trace from found back again!

The French all scrapped them who came down....to recuperate the aluminium from it!

To reduce the volume for transport, they used a road contruction-steamwalshmachine who drove over the collected frameworks! Making from these flat elements!

But I keep an eye on the forum to see if you need a full size picture from this photo!

greetings,

Jempie (Bruges Belgium)

I havent any idea where Maldon is situated, but you can judge, I guess if into flightroute compared with other mentioned villages, it could farewell be about that date indeed!

L44 was shot down on 20th October 1917, returning from a raid on England, over Luneville/St. Clément -France There were no survivors!

Made 5 raids on England and made 8 reconaissance flights. In total I have given up it made 25 flights!

Was based respectively at Ahlhorn...Commander was Flight Lt. Stabbert.

(One other book gives up it was also based at Nordholz! However into a book on the history of Nordholz base I have his name is not listed!)

vbr

Jempie

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Jempie

Hi!

I just visited the rubric POWS!

There is a thread on a zeppelin bomb donated to a museum there by locals !

1917 but on a reply on it someone posted a pivture of an inciandiary bomb!

Notice : MALDON on the postcard and Zepplein Air Raid on Maldon April 1915 it seems me to!

I'll try once to get an insight in to these magazines to see what week/month/ year the Maldon photo I posted was indeed published!

Might be I was wrong with dating it on probably May 1917 !

Ther has been many raids, in more , it was so that in general sevral zeppelins took part on a same attack on the British Isles, but got by times dispersed over the country during flight...

But April 1915 ?

Could be they took off from Zeppelin bases situated in Germany (Metz, Köln, f.e.) , Belgium & France (Maubeuge) as well!

That was rather early into the warfare period...

It was also so that f.e. zeppelins on a British Isles raid did land first at Namur/Belgium to refuel and wait there for the favourable weather before the raid to undertake and were coming from their normal bases in

Germany! Namur remained in service during the full WWI while the other bases at Gontrode (1 shed) , Brussels (3 sheds) and Maubeuge (France - 1 shed) after the British bomb attacks on the Brussels shed and with the destruction of LZ 37 by Warneford (7th June 1915) were only kept available by the Germans for "Notbelegung" , emergency stations were a zeppelin could land in emergency situations !

So a returning zeppelin running out of fuel or with damaged gasbags, could eventually try to get back to one of those zeppelin stations instead of returning to their normal airship station!

Apart of "Namur-sheds" (3 sheds), sofar I, now during WWI the other sheds got no visit anymore of WWI zeppelins!

But for "Namur" it's difficult to tell if the airships there which have been visiting this station were on their wey to the British Isles or were eventually returning from a raid!

For this I should need to know the data of all raids undertoken by each of the participating zeppelins in perticular!

Somehere in germany ,I know, the records (detailed logbooks or rapports) of all Marine-zeppelins have survived! (at Dresden?)

Which is not the case for the German "Army-airships"!

vbr

Jempie

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Jempie

hallo J.T. Gray

Sorry, but indeed the photo destructed house is very probably May 1915!

I am just busy with deposing my documentation into boxes and did sort them out.

The front cover of the magazine mentions indeed Maldon-Essex bombed by a zeppelin, but the number is from May 1915! (Not 1917!)

So to see there had been also another Zeppelin-raid in this region 1917 on which bombs did come down!

The May 1915 frontcover depicts an inciandary bomb which didn't explode and was recovered by the locals.

here that picture.

Greetings,

Jempie

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