Tag Archives: Aerial warfare

Arthur Linfoot occasionally wrote about Zeppelin raids and other airborne fighting around the UK.

25 April 1916; Tuesday

On parade in the morning. Bank holiday1 in the afternoon and allowed out. Walked into town with Leishman. Had a drop tea at the Y.M. Went to Inwoods’ for belts2. Arranged to go to Victoria Hall concert. I met Mrs Inwood and Franchie in the car and went down together. Pretty good concert. After concert big rush for cars3. Mrs Inwood, Green and Leishman got in and left Franchie and I outside. We walked up to the Town Hall before we could get one. Stayed to Inwoods’ to supper. A man got *4 knocked down by a car and I helped to pick him up. Mr Inwood wrote out the paper of the Dublin Rebellion5.

Lowestoft6 Naval Raid.

  1. Actually the preceding day, 24 April, was the Easter Monday Bank Holiday. 

  2. “Belts”: clearly written as plural; uniform belts were often taken off indoors: presumably others besides ALL had done so the previous day. 

  3. “Cars”: Meaning tram-cars, as usual. 

  4. “Shorthand looks like “regiment”; ALL interrupted while writing – “. . man from regiment knocked down . .”? 

  5. “Wrote out the paper…”: Possibly the Proclamation of the Irish Republic

  6. Lowestoft: this was intended to be a very big operation, and was timed to coincide with the Dublin Easter Rising, the Irish rebels having asked for German supporting action. Very briefly: 8 Zeppelins bombed Norwich, Lincoln, Harwich and Ipswich on 24 April, then a strong German naval force arrived off East Anglia, and by bombarding Lowestoft and Yarmouth hoped to draw divided Royal Navy forces to be attacked and beaten separately; the Germans correctly believed that the High Seas Fleet was widely divided, part of it trying to carry out a similar plan on the German coast, but some British ships had returned after colliding in fog, and were not where the Germans expected. The German leading battleship hit a mine, and all in all the whole operation was greatly disrupted and achieved nothing. 

4 April 1916; Tuesday

Lay in late. Went down to see Ernie. Out with Mother and over the water1 to see the damage done by the Zeppelin raid2. Out late in afternoon. Called at Whittakers3. Called for Ernie at night. Went over with him to Whitburn later. Had photo taken at Eccles’† in Holmeside4.

  1. “over the water”: phrase commonly used by ALL and his contemporaries (usually rendered as “ower the watter”) for “across the Wear to north Sunderland”; nothing to do with the Jacobites’ “King over the water”.  

  2. “Zeppelin raid”: Presumably the raid on Sunderland of 1 April noted in that day’s diary entry

  3. “Called at Whittakers”: Willie Whittaker‘s family. Willie might not have been there, having enlisted in November 1915, although he was present a few days later. 

  4. Holmeside was (and remains) a shopping street in the middle of Sunderland. Perhaps “Eccles” was a commercial photographer? 

1 April 1916; Saturday

At football match in the afternoon. Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday.

Zeppelin Raid over Sunderland1.

22 killed. 100 injured. Damage to Deptford, and Monk<wearmouth>.2

  1. At about 10pm on the evening of 1 April 1916 German Imperial Navy Zeppelin L11 under the command of Korvettenkapitan Viktor Schutze crossed the coast to attack Tyneside. The defences around the River Tyne had recently been strengthened. Because of this and the prevailing adverse weather conditions, Schutze decided to manoeuvre round and attack the less well protected port of Sunderland

  2. A commemorative clock dedicated to the memory of the victims was recently installed at the Wheatsheaf junction in Monkwearmouth. 

31 January 1916; Monday

On parade as usual. No lecture. On fatigue all day. Went to pictures at night. Stayed beside Black and his girl and her friend. In Y.M. last thing and Mrs Proctor told me off about not going to Mrs Ide’s to supper last night. She explained how Metgrave had asked me.

Big Zeppelin Raid1.

  1. Nine Zeppelins took part in the raid of 31 January -1 February 1916, seemingly targeting several cities in the Midlands. A lengthy description of the raid may be found here

16 June 1915; Wednesday

At work as usual. Busy all day. Finished in decent time. Went over to the Tyne with Hoggetts & saw the damage done by the air raid1. Train to South Shields, walked to Tyne2 Dock, car3 to Jarrow, and train from Hebburn back again.

Visited the Tyne. Reggie Bailes4 left the Office.

  1. Air raid: See yesterday’s entry

  2. The shorthand clearly has “town” and “town dock”, but “Tyne” and “Tyne Dock” must be right. 

  3. “Car” means “tram-car”, as usual. 

  4. “Reggie Bailes”: evidently another work colleague who may have joined the war effort. As of 12 June 2015, Lives of the First World War lists only four people with that name. One of these served with the 6th Durham Light Infantry but without any further clues – and, sadly, there are none – it would be pure speculation to suppose that this was the same Reggie Bailes. 

15 June 1915; Tuesday

At work as usual. Busy all day. Finished in decent time. Went down to practice. Walked up with Willie Whittaker and Blaikie and Joe.

Air Raid on the Tyne1. Damage to Palmer’s†2 works and 16 killed & many injured. Zeppelins arrived about mid-night. They were seen by some people in the town here.

Miss Aitchison commenced in the Office.

  1. This page at Strong-Family.org has extensive detail about the air raid. 

  2. Palmer’s: the shorthand, which is indistinct, looks more like “Abraham’s” or “Abram’s”, but has been transcribed as “Palmer’s” because a) that is known to have been the business most damaged in this raid and b) the detailed record at Strong-Family.org as noted above confirms the same number of fatalities at Palmer’s shipyard as recorded in this diary entry by ALL. 

7 June 1915; Monday

At work as usual. Busy all day. Took down summary. Fine day. Mr Lawson in at night.

Sub. Lt. Warnebrooke brought down a Zeppelin near Bruges12 . Success at Dardanelles.

  1. The name ‘Warnebrooke’ is clearly written in longhand, but appears to have been an error, on the part of ALL or of the report on which he relied, and should have been written as ‘Warneford.’ Sub-Lt. Reginald A J Warneford RNAS, based at Veurne on the Belgian coast and flying a Morane-Saulnier Type L over Ghent, on 7 June 1915 destroyed airship LZ37 by bombing it in the air. He was awarded the VC and Legion d’Honneur, but on the same day as receiving the latter (17 June) was killed in a flying accident. 

  2. More recently Reginald Warneford has been the subject of some controversy, apparently arising from a decision not to include him in the series of new memorials honouring those awarded the VC during the First World War which are planned to mark the centenary. According to The Telegraph, only VC winners born in Britain are to be included – Reginald Warneford was born in India.