It is easy to forget that Britain suffered from German bombing during the First World War, as well as the Second.
This rather wonderful example of German propaganda made clear the threat. The message at the top left reads ”Fiery greetings (itself a pun) from Swabia”. The message at the bottom Left states: “Rubble/debris may be unloaded here”.
Airships made about 51 bombing raids on Britain during the war.
These killed 557 and injured another 1,358 people. More than 5,000 bombs were dropped on towns across Britain, causing £1.5 million in damage. 84 airships took part, of which 30 were either shot down or lost in accidents.
Weather conditions and night flying conditions made airship navigation and maintaining bombing accuracy difficult. Bombs were often dropped miles off target (one raid on London actually bombed Hull) and accurate targeting of military installations was impossible.
The civilian casualties made the Zeppelins an object of hatred, and they were dubbed “baby-killers”.
The creation of Count von Zeppelin, a retired German army officer, the flying weapon was lighter than air, filled with hydrogen, and held together by a steel framework. When the war started in 1914, the German armed forces had several Zeppelins, each capable of travelling at about 85 mph and carrying up to two tonnes of bombs.
With military deadlock on the Western Front, the Germans decided to use them against towns and cities in Britain.
The first raid took place on the eastern coastal towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn, on 19 January 1915.