Zeppelins Over Norfolk

Part 2

Zeppelin L3

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Ormesby St Michael Church and the field where the first Zeppelin bomb landed on 19th January 1915.

Zeppelin L3, under the command of Kapitän Leutnant Hans Fritz, crossed the Norfolk coast between Happisburgh and Winterton and as it did so it dropped parachute flares to navigate its way from Martham towards Great Yarmouth. The first bomb, an incendiary, landed in a waterlogged field on George Humphrey’s land at Little Ormesby close to St Michael’s Church causing no damage. The next bomb, another incendiary, fell to the rear of Norwood Suffling’s house on Albermarle Road in the shared garden area known as Norfolk Square, near the Wellesley recreation ground, the explosion caused a crater two feet wide but no casualties. The first high explosive bomb to land hit the pavement at the back of 78 Crown Road, but it failed to explode.

It was recovered by Army reservists and was later defused. The fourth bomb fell on St Peter’s Plain and the Spinster Martha Taylor and shoemaker Sam Smith became the first civilians to be killed in an air raid with two more being injured. We will look at their story in another blog.

The blast also blew out the front of St Peter’s Villa and seriously damaged Pestell’s Buildings. The fifth bomb failed to explode and was recovered from a stable owned by the butcher William Mays in Garden Lane, near South Quay.

Bomb No 6 fell outside the First and Last Tavern on Southgates Road and the third incendiary to be dropped fell between two vessels and caused some damage to Beeching’s South Dock. Luckily there were no casualties.

The eighth bomb bounced off the Stone Quay at Trinity Wharf, narrowly missing a sentry and a crane turntable, before it fell into the river. Bomb number nine, another explosive bomb, fell behind the Fish Wharf, causing extensive damage to the rear as well as destroying the Fish Wharf Restaurant Rooms and bursting a water main, one person was slightly hurt by flying glass.

The final two bombs dropped by L3 damaged the steam drifter Piscatorial and struck the road running along the back of the old racecourse grandstand on South Denes, killing a large black dog and destroying a fence.

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A postcard made after the raid depicting the bomb damage on Great Yarmouth. I’ve always found it strange that the central image is a beach scene!

L3 had effectively dropped ten bombs in ten minutes and encountered no resistance. Kapitän Leutnant Hans Fritz then navigated L3 out to sea where it is recorded in Der Krie Zur See that they left the English coast in rain and fog.

We will come back to Great Yarmouth’s raid in another blog.

 

 

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