The source for this is Schoolnet in May 2012)
While on leave from from France William Brooks and his girlfriend witnessed a Zeppelin raid on London.
One night, we watched a Zeppelin raid on the Woolwich Aresnal. The German Zeppelin was sort of hovering over the building dropping bombs and they scored a couple of direct hits, causing massive explosions. We felt the blast two to three miles away. A few small bi-planes of ours went up to attack it but the Zeppelin had heavy machine-guns mounted in the cabin slung beneath it and, being almost stationary, could take careful aim on a plane. So our brave airman stood no chance. But one little plane went up, one of those double wing ones with all the struts holding the wings together. Well, this pilot flew above the Zeppelin and dropped bombs onto it. One hit it square on - flames started to light up the night sky. She was on fire all right. Everyone in the street started to cheer. My dad was watching through a small telescope he had and said he could see the men on the Zeppelin inside the cabin rushing about throwing ropes over the side, and other things, trying to lighten the ship. Anyway, its main engines started up with a roar and she slowly began to move away with smoke pouring out of her. Well, dad said they knew they were done for, but were going to try and make it home. As it pulled away it looked like a huge wounded animal and going to die. It crashed in flames over Essex before it made the Channel. I know they were our enemies but I couldn't feel sorry for them. That was the last of the Zeppelin raid. They proved too vulnerable.
The pilot of our small plane was a Lt. Robinson and he got the Victoria Cross for that, but the poor man was shot down and killed over France a year later by an ace German fighter-pilot.
Note: (Brookes was incorrect concerning his fate. Although he was shot down over France by a German ace (one of the Red Barons wing men) he survived the war and died in the massive flu outbreak just after the war ended. (NOTE: There's no Robinson in the Wikkipedia list of VC holders.)
|Amelia Brind may have been blinded in a zeppelin raid in Woolwich|
From Plumstead Stories
This was the LZ 38 commanded by Major Erich Linnarz which on 31 May, 1915 dropped high explosives and incendiary bombs around the city, killing a number of people and damaging houses and business premises.
The airship flew at a great height and was apparently not seen because none of London's guns or searchlights came into action and the LZ 38 returned to base unharmed.
This, the first-ever air raid on any city in the world.
The first time Woolwich came under direct attack from the air was on 13 October, 1915, when the Zeppelin L 14, commanded by Kapitanleutnant Bocker, dropped bombs on Woolwich Common and in the Arsenal.
This raid could have been even more disastrous than it was: the L 14 narrowly missed colliding with another Zeppelin on its way to bomb Croydon.
Another direct attack on Woolwich came in August, 1916, when bombs also fell on Plumstead, Eltham, Blackheath and Deptford, and a month later Woolwich and Plumstead were bombed again but this time the raider was shot down by a night-fighter pilot from Joyce Green, Dartford. (This was the L 32 which crashed near Billericay in Essex.)