Tag Archives: Aerial warfare

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

6 June 1915; Sunday

At church as usual. Went down to Sunday School and met John Wilkinson and stayed to talk to him. Walked up Holmeside with him. He has joined the Flying Corps and is going away next week. Had usual walks. Fine day. Mr Chadwick preaching.

Air Raid on Hull1. 24 killed, 40 injured.2

  1. Internet accounts are unclear, but Hull suffered either 8 or 12 Zeppelin raids from 1915 to 1918, with raids in 1916 -­ 18 considered the worst; as the total killed is stated as 54, 24 on 6 June 1915 seems high. Zeppelins could carry 2 tons of bombs, eg 4 x 500lb, much more than aircraft then could, and could fly above the fighter aircrafts’ ceiling. 

  2. See also: Education Resources at the National Archive. The material on this page relates to the June 1915 Zeppelin raid on Hull and suggests a somewhat lower number of casualties. 

31 May 1915; Monday

At work as usual. Pretty busy all day. Finished in decent time. Played and read a bit. Went to Newcastle with Dora’s Charlie and after walking about all the night found the recruiting office and that they were not open for R.A.M.C. Came home about 10 o’clock at night. News received in town about the heavy loss to the 7th Durhams.

Air Raid on London1. 4 people killed, but nothing very serious reported.

  1. This was the first air raid of the war to target London. Zeppelin LZ-32 flew about 400 miles to reach the English capital. Stoke Newington was the first place to suffer the attack. 

17 April 1915; Saturday

At work as usual. Finished very late. Called for papers at dinner time. Went with Willie Whittaker to Shiney Row, car from New Herrington to Houghton, walked from Houghton to home. We were stopped by a picket at Grindon1 who were stopping motorcars. A picket also at East Herrington. We saw an aircraft of some sort over Newcastle way. A raid of [sic] Shields during the night but nothing done.

  1. Grindon and East Herrington are just outside what would have been the built-­up area of Sunderland in 1915; on the main roads to Chester-­le-­Street and Durham respectively. It would be interesting to know if there were pickets that day on the other main roads out of Sunderland -­ and if so, why. 

14 April 1915; Wednesday

At work as usual. German Air Raid on North East Coast1. One Zeppelin passed over Blyth, Wallsend and South Shields and over the sea again. No lives lost, very little damage done. Mother and Gertie down at Rowe’s. Joe and I went out for a walk and found that all the electric lights were out and the cars2 stopped in the streets. Charlie working until after mid-­night and brought us news what it was.

  1. Wikipedia’s summary of Zeppelin raids in 1915 notes only that “two Navy raids failed due to bad weather on 14 and 15 April.” 

  2. “Cars”, as noted previously, means “tram-­cars” at this period – powered through overhead electric cables. 

17 February 1915; Wednesday

Busy at work. Busy in house at night and didn’t go out. Two big Air Raids on Zeebrugge and thereabouts about this time. 34 machines in the first and 40 in the second1.

  1. “Two big air raids…”: This page at rallypoint.com suggests that, on February 12 1915, there was indeed a raid by 34 British planes on the coastal towns of Blankenberghe, Ostend and Zeebrugge in Belgium. There is no mention of any subsequent raid by 40 planes, although there is no reason to doubt it. 

25 December 1914; Friday

[Christmas day – see footnote1.]

Had walk round town with Father before dinner. Had roast pork and onions for dinner. Ernie came in for dinner and stayed a short while. I set him up to the station. We were rather too soon and walked about town talking. Played the piano and played a few games amongst ourselves at night. Went to bed about mid night. British Air Raid on Cuxhaven 2 by 7 aviators. 4 machines lost but all the men safe.

  1. While ALL routinely included brief notes on War events in his diary entries, often writing them on the date they had happened and not necessarily on the date he became aware of them, he never made any reference to the ‘Christmas truce‘. Histories of WW1 which mention a truce generally say that any such events, with or without impromptu games of football or exchanges of gifts, were localised, informal and strongly deprecated by Army commanders. ALL’s silence may be interpreted either as confirming that censorship of news about truces, if not complete, was fairly successful, or as suggesting that if anything was known about them, it was not considered significant in Britain at the time. The former seems the more likely explanation. 

  2. The Cuxhaven Raid was a British ship-based air-raid on the German naval forces at Cuxhaven on Christmas Day, 1914.