WW1 bombing


The first confirmed aerial bomb to arrive in the UK was delivered by a Friedrichshafen FF29 plane, landing in the sea near Dover's Admiralty Pier, during December 1914. The following month, saw the first aerial raid on the country using airships and on the 19th January 1915, Samuel Smith became the UK's first victim of aerial bombing.

Airship raids, 1915 to 1918

The intended target of the raid on the 19th January 2015 was Humberside, however strong winds meant that towns along the Norfolk coast were actually bombed. A map showing the route taken by the German Navy's two pioneering Zeppelins, is pictured.

Although often referred to as Zeppelin raids, Schutte-Lanz airships were also used.  Over fifty raids were undertaken using airships, dropping over 5,000 bombs, ending in August 1918, killing 577 people in total.  

Navigation was difficult and bombing was inaccurate, meaning that much ordnance was unintentionally dropped on open countryside. By 1916, the most advanced Zeppelins were claimed to have an operating range of up to 1800 miles, fly at nearly 65 mph and carry a bomb payload of up to 4 tonnes. The increasing range of the airships meant that bombing extended to Aberdeen, Rosyth, Wigan (thinking it was Sheffield), Bolton (mistaken for Derby) and Coventry (aiming for Birmingham) although London was the worst affected area.


Aircraft raids, 1917 to 1918

There were also more than 50 raids by aircraft on England, starting in May 2017 and ending in May 2018, causing 836 deaths.  This bombing focused on London, Kent and Essex, with a single raid on London in June resulting in 162 deaths.

The photo shows a Gotha aeroplane loaded with 100kg and 50kg high explosive bombs, preparing for a night raid.  They had a range of over 500 miles and a top speed of nearly 90 mph.

Contemporaneous maps will be reviewed to establish the likelihood of your site having WW1 aerial dropped ordnance located on it.

Further to the aircraft raids, there were a small number of occasions when the German Navy bombarded coastal towns, such as Yarmouth and Lowestoft, with their guns.  Some of these shells failed to explode.