On this day :The 19th of January 1915

1st British town hit by a Zeppelin raid

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When Kaiser Wilhelm gave his agreement to the bombing of civilians by Zeppelin airships, following attacks on German cities by French bombers, it was decided to test the machine’s capabilities with a coastal raid, the intended target being the vital port ofHull . Navigational problems meant that the raiders missed Hull, reaching land further south at Great Yarmouth, and moving on to Sheringham and Kings Lynn .

Two Zeppelins were used for this trial. These massive aircraft were 190m long, 13m in diameter and carried crews of up to 40 men.

The Royal Flying Corps attempted to intercept the Zeppelins with their first night time flights, but were unable to do so.

Great Yarmouth became the first British town bombed in WWI , extensive damage being done in the area of St Peter’s Plain. Miss Martha Taylor, aged 72, and Mr Sam Smith, 50, were the first British civilians killed in an air raid.

The town would suffer attacks later in the war, this time from the sea, with naval bombardments in 1916 and 1918.

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