The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
31st January 1916On this day:
- Enemy Fire 6th County of London Brigade RFA report a quiet morning. Enemy concentrated fire on the trenches behind the Copse, Lens Road and Hairpin at 1500 probably in retaliation for our shelling the barricades. Enemy shelled our communication trench to Loos with 5.9s and 4.2s at intervals from St Pierre. Liaison officer (Centre Battalion) reported that no direct hits were obtained on Snipers House during fire by Poole Group.
Lt J.H. Van Den Bergh & Lt S.C. Woollett proceeded to 47th Divisional Gunnery school at Gosnay.
At 1930 Lowe Group in conjunction with other artillery violently bombarded the German front line, then their communication trenches and then right back along their line. This strafing lasted for about half an hour.
- Zeppelin raids in West Midlands Tipton, Bradley, Wednesbury and Walsall were bombed in one of the heaviest air raids of the war, with the loss of 35 lives. Nine Zeppelins set out from the north west coast of Germany with Liverpool being their primary target. The L21 dropped bombs on the Black country between 2000 and 2030 when Kapitan Leutnant Max Dietrich, lost in the clouds, mistook the Black Country for Liverpool.
Three high explosive bombs fell on Waterloo Street and Union Street, Tipton, demolishing two houses and setting the gas main on fire. Three incendiary bombs then fell on Bloomfield Road and Barnfield Road. Fourteen residents of Tipton were killed.
Five high explosives fell on Lower Bradley, resulting in the deaths of Maud and William Fellows, on the bank of the Wolverhampton Union Canal, a commemorative plaque still hangs on the wall of the Bradley pumping station nearby. At 2015 the Zeppelin was over Wednesbury, dropping bombs near the Crown Tube works, in the area of King Street and at the back of the Crown and Cushion Inn in High Bullen and Brunswick Park Road. Fourteen lives were lost.
The Zeppelin then headed north and bombed Walsall, destroying Wednesbury Road Congregational Church, on the corner of Wednesbury Road and Glebe Street. It went on to bomb the grounds of the General Hospital, Mountrath Street and the town centre, where three lives were lost outside the Science and Art Institute in Bradford Place, including Mary Julia Slater, the Lady Mayoress of Walsall, who was a passenger on the number 16 tram.
A second wave of bombs was dropped by L19 at about midnight, causing considerable damage to buildings in Wednesbury, Dudley, Tipton and Walsall.
31st Jan - 1st Feb 1916. The first raid of 1916 was carried out by the German Navy. Nine Zeppelins were sent to Liverpool on the night of 31 January – 1 February. A combination of poor weather, difficult navigation and mechanical problems scattered the aircraft across the English Midlands and several towns were bombed. A total of 61 people were reported killed and 101 injured by the raid. Fifteen of these fatalities occurred in the town of Tipton. Despite ground fog, 22 aircraft took off to find the Zeppelins but none succeeded. Six aircraft were damaged beyond repair and two pilots were killed when attempting to land. One airship, L 19, crashed in the North Sea because of engine failure and damage from Dutch ground–fire with all 16 crew being lost.
- 31st Jan 1916 7th Northumberlands into Trenches
- 31st Jan 1916 In the Trenches
- 31st Jan 1916 Stand To
- 31st Jan 1916 Into Billets
- 31st Jan 1916 On the March
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