Liveblogging World War I
Matt Brown: Zeppelin Airship Attacks On London:
From 1915–1917, German airships unleashed hundreds of explosives and incendiaries on London…. For Londoners of the time, the attacks were unprecedented, unexpected and lethal. Around 200 people lost their lives in these night raids…. The first attack came on 31 May 1915. Number 16 Alkham Road in Stoke Newington carries the unenviable distinction of sustaining London’s first ever aerial bomb damage. No one was seriously injured. From there, however, the airship looped south over Hackney and round past Stratford, killing seven and injuring 35. The population and emergency services were caught by surprise in what must rank as one of the most terrifying nights in our city’s history….
The airships flew at such a height that the ponderous air force fighters of the time were often unable to climb to the defence. Even when British pilots could engage with the enemy, the airships proved remarkably resilient to gunfire. When, finally, tactical and technical advances allowed British planes to engage, the Zeppelin crews stood no chance. Without parachutes, they were faced with the terrible decision of death by fire or fall. The airship threat soon disappeared after a number of missions were gunned down. The final attack came on 19 October 1917. Flying higher than normal, the craft once again took the capital by surprise, killing 33 people.
Originally published at www.bradford-delong.com.