Zeppelin Bombing Blue Plaque - St Peter's Plain, Great Yarmouth, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Master Mariner
N 52° 36.195 E 001° 43.866
31U E 414066 N 5828892
This blue plaque, erected by the GYLH & AS, is attached to a building in St Peter's Plain and tells of the death of two civilians, the first in Great Britain caused by an air raid. BBC reported the placement of the plaque on the 100th anniversary.
Waymark Code: WMQ8HF
Location: Eastern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 01/10/2016
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 1

The BBC website reported the erection of the blue plaque to mark the 100th anniversary of the Zeppelin bombing:

Great Yarmouth marks Zeppelin bombing with blue plaque.

A blue plaque has been unveiled in a Norfolk town to mark it as one of the first places in England to suffer aerial bombardment in World War I.

St Peter's Plain, Great Yarmouth, was bombed by a German naval Zeppelin on 19 January, 1915, killing spinster Martha Taylor and shoemaker Samuel Smith.

Although the war lasted until 1918, there were no further civilian casualties in the seaside town.

The plaque was unveiled by Yarmouth mayor Barry Coleman on Thursday.

Retired naval commander Simon Askins worked with the Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society (GYLHAS) to research the events of 1915 and said the bombs fell on the town during the night.

"It's believed that two of them [Zeppelins] set off from their German base to bomb Humberside and the docks, but they couldn't find it in the dark - so one went to King's Lynn and the other to Yarmouth," he said.

"The L3 flying over Yarmouth dropped 10 bombs across the town and a couple of them hit the area of St Peter Plain and killed a couple of residents."

Records show the Zeppelin was piloted by Captain Lieutenant Hans Fritz.

"One bomb fell in St Peter Plain and killed Ms Taylor, the other caused splinters to decapitate poor Mr Smith. They are certainly some of the very first casualties caused by aerial bombardment in Britain," said Mr Askins.

The local history society also placed a plaque at the Salvation Army building near the Central Library.

It marks the residence of a notable son of Yarmouth, Robert Warmington (1740-1812), who lived in Row 1804. He was the town's mayor in 1780 and 1808 and agent to Lord Nelson.

The new plaques are part of an ongoing programme by GYLHAS to showcase the town's history to local residents and visitors.

"We're trying to commemorate famous local people, those who've made a contribution to the town's history and remind people of the buildings or sites where they used to exist," said GYLHAS vice chairman Margaret Gooch.

"We want Yarmouth to make the most of its heritage in the hope of attracting more visitors to the town and therefore bringing new money into the local economy."

The Gazette website has an article about the raid that tells us:

“I saw a bomb drop through the skylight and strike the pillow where Percy was lying… I tried to wake him but he was dead. Then the house fell in. I don't remember any more.”

During WW1, Great Yarmouth in Norfolk was the first British town to experience the horror of civilian fatalities during an aerial bombardment, with King’s Lynn soon to follow.

On the morning of 19 January 1915, 2 German Zeppelin airships, the L3 and L4, took off from Fuhlsbüttel in Hamburg, Germany. The airships had been heading for the Humber, but bad weather led them to reroute and discharge their bombs over Norfolk.

The Zeppelin airships crossed the Norfolk coastline at about 8.30pm. The L3, captained by Captain Lieutenant Johann Fritz, then turned south east, towards Great Yarmouth, and the L4, under the command of Kapitanleutnant Count Magnus von Platen-Hallermund, turned north west, towards King’s Lynn.

The L3’s path

After dropping parachute flares between the coastal villages of Happisburgh and Winterton to assist navigation, and incendiary bombs with no fatalities caused, the Zeppelin L3 dropped bombs on the working class district of St Peters Plain in Great Yarmouth.

The bombing's 2 fatalities were killed instantly. Samuel Smith, a 53-year-old shoemaker, was the first British civilian to be killed by aerial bombardment. He was said to be standing in the road when the bomb dropped.

Martha Taylor, 72, lived at 22 St Peter’s Plain, and was next to be killed in the attack. A blue plaque, unveiled in 2012, stands in their memory on St Peter’s Plain.

Extensive damage was also caused to the area. Windows were blown out and walls and woodwork shattered in all directions, and there was devastating blast damage to the front of St Peter’s Villa. Beeching’s South Dock was hit when two vessels were targeted.

The L4’s path

After dropping incendiary bombs on Sheringham, Brancaster, Heacham, Snettisham, Dersingham and Grimston, the L4 went on to King’s Lynn at about 10.50pm. The town had been plunged into darkness on the town’s chief constable’s orders, but the streetlights had already been seen. Bombs were dropped that were to cut short the lives of Alice Gazeley, 26 – widowed just 3 months earlier after her husband had been killed on the Western Front – and Percy Goate, aged just 14.

Percy’s mother said in an inquest report: “I saw a bomb drop through the skylight and strike the pillow where Percy was lying… I tried to wake him but he was dead. Then the house fell in. I don't remember any more.” A further 13 people were injured, as further bombs went on to destroy densely-packed terraced houses and damage the town’s docks.

After dropping bombs on King’s Lynn, the L4 turned east, ignoring the city of Norwich, most likely due to poor visibility, and headed towards the coast.

This air raid brought the effects of war home to the British people. These were not military men, but civilians, as young as 14, going about their everyday lives, who were the victims. There was much anger, and morale among the British people dropped as further raids were feared, and the dread that a German invasion would be soon to follow.

About 52 raids by Zeppelin and other airships were carried out on the UK during WW1, killing a total of 557, and injuring 1,358.

Type of publication: Television

When was the article reported?: 01/20/2012

Publication: BBC News

Article Url: [Web Link]

Is Registration Required?: no

How widespread was the article reported?: regional

News Category: Arts/Culture

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