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Remembered Today:

Sheffield Phantom Air Raid Warnings?


Brigantian
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On 3 and 4 December 1918, following relaxation of wartime censorship, the three main Sheffield newspapers published accounts of the City’s only Zeppelin raid, including details of casualties, streets bombed and photographs of the damage caused. The Sheffield Daily Telegraph and the Sheffield Telegraph and Star also printed a list of 23 dates during the war when air raid warnings were given in the City. Two of these warnings fall on dates for which I can find no record of air raid activity over Britain, 27 October 1915 and 10 February 1916.

I appreciate that the two dates could have been inaccurately reported, were genuine warnings in response to a perceived, but absent threat or I could have missed something obvious.

Has anyone come across similar lists for other parts of the country, particularly for east coast areas, and are these two dates mentioned?

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Hi Brigantian,

In May 1915 the Southend Standard really upset the government in that after the Zeppelin raid on Southend-on-Sea of 10/5/15 it published an Air Raid Supplement in the Southend Standard of 13/5/15 with photographs of all the places hit by the raid and photographs of the wounded and dead, photographs of soldiers locally based cleaning up the mess and holding bombs that had not gone off.

This was preceeded by a Special Zeppelin Supplement in another local paper, The Southend and Westcliff Graphic, on 11/5/1915 covering more photographs, eye witness accounts etc.

In the following days there were large riots in Southend with the anti-German sentiment running very high with some locally based Territorial Battalions and Service Battalions being turned out against the local population. These riots were not only of a anti-German nature but protesting against the government for the lack of any air raid warnings or precautions. This first raid on Southend was at a time when the Zeppelins were trying to find their way to London along the River Thames.

Andy

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  • 5 months later...

Bump!

Inadvertently, this became a post and forget!

Belated thanks for the information Andy – the events in Southend must have contributed to the much tighter newspaper censorship surrounding later Zeppelin raids.

Can anyone help with my old query?

Regards

Mark

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There may have been restrictions on reporting (or even planted false accounts) because the Germans were using British newspaper reports to determine if they'd hit the right target (or even which target they'd hit). There is a documented case of one German pilot involved in the early hit and run raids in 1915/16 who discovered that he could get the British papers via Holland the morning after and before any news reached Berlin. He was doing his raids, releasing his bombs on something somewhere and on return delaying completing his flight report until he'd seen the British papers and using these to fill in the target attacked section - so if the Daily Bugle said ' a German aircraft dropped bombs in a field on the outskirts of Muggelsby' he would complete a report saying ' attacked a British Army camp on the outskirts of Mugglebury'. He gained a shortlived reputation for being eagle eyed and an extremely accurate navigator. When his scheme was detected he gained a posting to hazarous duties somewhere very unpleasant. However for the more scrupulous the British press could fill the role of a post raid recce.

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Centurion

Neutral Holland was certainly a source of information for some of the earlier raids. The example you give may well refer to Oberleutnant Freiherr von Buttler.

During a raid on over England on 15 April 1915, Von Buttler in L-6 saw lights below and dropped his bombs. At the time he had no idea where he was and after returning stalled filing a flight report. The evening edition of a German paper quoted a London correspondent of the Dutch paper Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant reporting a Zeppelin raid on Malden. Von Buttler then submitted his flight report giving Maldon as the target and was later praised for his accurate navigation!

Regards

Mark

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Brigantian - it looks as if there were at least 2 German airmen playing this trick as the guy I'm referring to wasn't an air ship man (as I said one of the early 'hit and run' raiders). I'll dig out his name.

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