Which local towns and villages were bombed by Zeppelin’s in WW1? 

The damage to St Peter's Plain in Great Yarmouth after a zeppelin attack in 1915

The damage to St Peter's Plain in Great Yarmouth after a zeppelin attack in 1915 - Credit: Archant

War has returned to Europe, and our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. We watch in horror at what is happening as buildings explode and people die. 

Some of you reading this will remember the Second World War, when the Luftwaffe set out on missions to cause death and destruction in this country. 

We called the main attacks ‘The Blitz’ – and Norwich was singled out for special attention with hundreds of men, women and children dying. 

But what of the victims of the First World War across our region and the rest of the country more than one hundred years ago? 

Church Street in Dereham was attacked in 1915

Church Street in Dereham was attacked in 1915 - Credit: Archant

There were no television cameras to record events, and press censorship meant newspapers could not say where the raids had been. 

One man who knows more than most about the impact on Britain of the giant airships – Zeppelins – is author Ian Castle. 

His first book Zeppelin Onslaught – The Forgotten Blitz 1914-1915 was a moving look at the start of the onslaught and how the first raids in 1915 killed Samuel Smith and Martha Taylor in Great Yarmouth and Percy Goate and Alice Gazley in King’s Lynn. 

Super Zeppelin

One of the new 'r' Zeppelins, known to the British as the 'Super Zeppelins', flying over the battleship Ostfriesland on the North Sea - Credit: Author's collection

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His latest offering looks in amazing detail at the following year, 1916, as the world entered the second full year of global conflict when the cities, towns and villages of Britain continued to lay vulnerable to aerial bombardment. 

It is a fascinating account of the impact of the raids across the country, including Norfolk and Suffolk, and illustrates how important it is that we should not forget those who died during the raids and where the bombs fell. 

At the start of the war German Zeppelin airships and seaplanes had come and gone at will, their most testing opposition being the British weather. This was the first assault from the air. 

A crater in East Anglia

A bomb crater somewhere in East Anglia. Despite extravagant claims by commanders, a great number of bombs did little more than dig holes in fields, creating photo opportunities for local folk - Credit: David Marks Collection

Aerial view of awrecked shell of a German Zeppelin in an English Field in 1918

Aerial view of awrecked shell of a German Zeppelin in an English field in 1918 - Credit: Contributed

Civilians were now standing on the frontline – the Home Front – like the soldiers who had marched off to war. 

Then, early in 1916, responsibility for Britain’s aerial defence passed from the Admiralty to the War Office and, as German air attacks intensified, new ideas and plans made dramatic improvements to our defence capability. 

The results, giving early warnings of approaching raiders, were spectacular and lifted the mood of the nation and changed the way the campaign was fought over Britain. 

The German air campaign against Britain in the First World War was the first sustained strategic aerial bombing campaign in history. 

There has never been a national register of the names of civilians killed in air raids in the Great War, but now author Ian Castle has, for the first time, managed to trace and list the names of those dials killed by airships in 1916. And finally we can remember the victims. 

Zeppelin Inferno: The Forgotten Blitz by Ian Castle is published by Frontline Books at £25. 

East Anglia’s fallen 

Ian discovered evidence of 300 deaths across the country in 1916. 

Individuals were killed in air raids, or died as a result of them. 

March 31/April 1 in Bury St Edmunds:  George Adams (15), Henry Adams (60), Annie E Dureall (29), James I Dureall (5), Kathleen Dureall (3), Harry Frost (44), Pte. Hubert Hardiment (19) 

March 31/April 1 in Ipswich: David Bishop Cattermole (57), Jane Hopestill Hoff (75), Ester Louisa Olding (64) 

March 31/April 1in Sudbury: Ellen Ambrose (37), Thomas Ambrose (50), John Edward Smith (50), Ellen Wheeler (64), Rfn. Frederick Robert Wilson (42) 

April 24/25 in Dilham: Fanny Gaze (79) 

September 2/3 in Dersingham: Violet Ellen Dungar (36) 

Locations bombed during the WWI Zeppelin blitzes 

Norfolk: Ashby St Mary, Bacton, Billingford, Briston, Brockdish, Broome, Buxton, Congham, Croxton Heath, Dersingham, Dilham, Ditchingham, Earsham, East Tuddenham, Hardwick, Hevingham, Holt, Honing, Honingham, Letheringsett, Long Stratton, Mundham, Ovington, Pulham Market, Reedham, Ridlington, Salhouse, Sedgefield, Silfield, Snettisham, South Creake, Starston, Swaffham, Tacolneston, Thurning 

Suffolk: Bury St Edmunds, Covehithe, Creeting St Peter, Haverhill, Ipswich, Kesgrave, Kirton, Little Livermore, Lowestoft, Mildenhall, Newmarket, Ramsholt, Shotley, Southwold Common, Stowmarket, Sudbury, Trimley, Wangford, Wixoe 

  

If anyone can help with any more information contact IanCastleZeppelin.co.uk