Remember January 19, 1915: Centenary of the First Air Raids on Britain

January 19, 1915 [One Hundred Years Ago] – German Zeppelins flew conducted the air raids on Britain causing the death of four people.

It was the first time Britain was attacked from the air.

The Norfolk coast of Britain was raided by the German giant airships.

Prior to the onslaught, the zeppelins were already used during the bombing of Liège and Antwerp when Belgium was invaded by the Germans at the start of the Great War — on August 1914.

For the January 19th attack on Britain,  Zeppelins L3 and L4 emerged imposingly over the coast of East Anglia in Britain. They were trying to reach the port of Hull which was situated further north but were thwarted by the winds.

The first air raid against Britain happened on Great Yarmouth and resulted to the death of two locals —  53-year-old Samuel Smith and  72-year-old Martha Taylor.

Ultimately, one of the zeppelins went on further along the coast and dropped bombs on several towns and villages on its way — Sheringham, Thornham, Brancaster, Hunstanton, Heacham and Snettisham.


That zeppelin reached King’s Lynn, Britain at ten-thirty in the evening and killed two more individuals — Alice Gazley and Percy Goate.

In connection to the centenary of the first air raids in Britain, remembrance ceremonies took place at Great Yarmouth yesterday. On the other hand, a sound and light show event was held in King’s Lynn marking the start of Zeppelin Week, a program of commemorations in remembrance of the giant airships’ raids one hundred years ago. The said event will run until January 25.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE