I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
Friday, January 16, 2015
100 Years Ago - First Aerial Bombing Raid On Britain
hundred years ago World War One was gaining momentum across Europe. But on the evening
of January 19, 1915 the war took a turn that made all participants realize it was not going to be like any other war.
On the night of January 19, three
German Naval Zeppelins, L3, L4 and L6 were to carry out the first strategic
bombing raid, but airship L6 had mechanical
problems and had to turn around. Dirigibles L3 and L4 proceeded on toward the
target, the town of Humberside, but strong winds forced the raid to end quickly, so the Zeppelins sought
targets of opportunity on which to unload their bombs.
towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn on the eastern coast of England were
hit, instead. Four people were killed when bombs fell from the sky: Martha Taylor and
Sam Smith died in Great Yarmouth, Alice Gazely and Percy Goate were killed in
King’s Lynn that night; the first aerial bombing raid had been completed.
Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin
The first idea
for a Zeppelin came about in 1874 and was built in 1893. Germany embraced and
patented the balloon in 1895. (The U.S. issued a similar patented in 1899.)
Named for its inventor, Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, the rigid steel-framed
airship was propelled with a motor and carried a crew of about 20, along with
massive amounts of hydrogen gas for fuel. The dirigible was first used to carry passengers between German cities in 1910. But the Zeppelin
was temperamental and not sturdy in high winds; it could be brought down by any adverse weather and most ended their careers
crashing to the ground due to high winds and bursting into flames.
Zeppelin Caught in Spotlights
the Zeppelin did not stand up well to being fired at (hydrogen gas was
extremely flammable), the Germans decided to use the dirigibles for bombing
villages and towns that did not have weapons or military stations, thereby killing
or wounding civilians in an attempt to lower the morale of the English.
of lowering morale, such raids only re-enforced the British sense of outrage
and united English citizens against the Germans. Most Londoners would rush out
into the streets when an air-raid signal was given in order to cheer on the
English pilots defending their country against the Germans in the air.
the dirigible could travel great distances, antiaircraft fire rendered the
airship practically useless in war compared to the airplanes being used in
battle.By 1915, the main use of the
Zeppelin was for reconnaissance over the Baltic and North Seas. By the end of
the year, the German Navy had 15 airships in commission. The air raids
continued into 1916. By 1917, the Zeppelin could now fly higher with an
altitude of 16,500 feet and a ceiling of 21,000 feet, but high winds and engine
problems continued to plague the ships. They were soon replaced by airplanes,
which could carry more bombs, resulting in more deaths, injuries and damage.
all, 84 Zeppelins were built by Germany during the war: over 60 were lost –
half to accidents, weather and mechanical problems: the other half due to repercussions
from the enemy. German Zeppelins took part in over 50 bombing raids on Britain
during WWI, killing 557 people and injuring 1,358.
the Treaty of Versailles it was stated that Germany could not keep any “dirigibles … dirigible sheds or shelters, or
… plants for the manufacture of hydrogen.”
would take a few years before Germany, again, became openly involved with the
production of Zeppelins, this time for the purpose of carrying passengers and
mail across the ocean, and around the world.