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Zeppelin LZ24 (L3) in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Zeppelin LZ24 (L3)



   Zeppelin LZ24 was a Class M Military craft which had its first flight on the 11th of May 1914 It carried out 24 reconnaissance missions over the North Sea and participated in the first raid over England on the 19th January 1915.During a later mission on the 17th February 1915, it was abandoned by its crew after a forced landing in Denmark due to engine failure, compounded by strong headwind and insufficient fuel to reach Germany. The wind was so strong it blew the airship, now unmanned but with engines still running, out across the sea.

19th January 1915 First Zeppelin Raid on Britain  Following an attempt on 13th of January 1915 which was abandoned because of the weather, the first successful raid took place on the night of 19th–20th January 1915. Two Zeppelins LZ24(L3) and LZ27(L4) targeted Humberside, but were diverted by strong winds, and dropped 24 50kg H.E.bombs and 3 kg incendiaries on Great Yarmouth, Sheringham, King's Lynn and the surrounding villages. Four people were killed and 16 injured. Monetary damage was estimated at £7,740. There was a third Zeppelin on the raid but it turned back due to engine trouble LZ31(L6).

The two craft had left Hamburg only that morning and had run into bad weather- so bad, in fact, that a third zeppelin, L6, was forced to abort its westward mission. L3 and L4, however, continued to force themselves on through driving wind and snow until they finally reached the line of land below. At this point, on the very edge of England, the two Zeppelins split up. L3 made its way south-east along the coast, around and down to the town of Yarmouth. There it dropped its bombs on and around the harbour. L4 drove north-west to the village of Sheringham, swiftly getting lost. In a meandering way it travelled west, dropping incendiaries on the villages it passed below, until it finally found Kings Lynn. The bombs that L4 dropped there, at 10.50pm, like the bombs dropped on Yarmouth by L3 two and a half hours before, caused death and destruction. As the Zeppelins left England behind they also left four people killed and nineteen injured.

  • 8pm 1915 the zeppelins cross Britain's shore
  • 8:25 the L3 bombs Great Yarmouth
  • 8:45 L4 bombs Sheringham
  • 9:50 L4 bombs Hunstanton
  • 10:30 L4 Snettisham
  • 10:50 L4 bombs Kings Lynn, killing the first British civilians of the Great War.
  • 12:30am L4 bombs Great Yarmouth.

The raid prompted alarmist stories about German agents using car headlights to guide Zeppelins to their targets and there was even a rumour that a Zeppelin was operating from a concealed base in the Lake District.

Given the large and gruesome expanse of the First World War, the four lives lost in Norfolk that evening might seem insignificant. Yet with the visit of those Zeppelins to England on a dark night in January there also arrived a new age of strategic bombing and modern, total warfare which obscured by the quiet anonymity of the first victims. In Yarmouth a shoemaker named Sam Smith and an elderly lady called Martha Taylor were killed instantly by a bomb that fell in St. Peter’s Plain, a working class district of the town. In Bentinck Street, Kings Lynn, bombs blew open several terraced houses, resulting in the death of a 26 year old woman, Alice Glazely, and a 14 year old boy, Percy Goate. These were no military men. They were an old man, an elderly and young woman, and, most horrifying of all, a child. And they all were dead, killed at home, in Great Britain. From these small, murderous beginnings, greater horrors were to grow in the twentieth century.

19th Jan 1915 Zeppelin Raid  Zeppelins L3 and L4 participated in the first raid over England on the night of the 19/20th January 1915. The two German Zeppelin airships crossed the Norfolk coastline at around 8.30pm. Having crossed the coast the L3 turned north and the L4 south. The incendiary bombs were dropped to enable the pilots to navigate to their chosen locations Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn where they dropped their bombs.

“I went to see what the light was. I found that they had dropped a fire-bomb on a house. It had gone through the roof and the bedroom floor, making a hole large enough to crawl through, and setting the bed on fire, in which were two children. I went in, and helped to put out the fire. The poor women and the two children were terribly frightened, but they were not hurt. I heard the noise from the Zeppelin for five minutes, and then it cleared off. There was no time to get a shot at it.” Private William Smith, Sherwood Rangers.

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Zeppelin LZ24 (L3)

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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