Air raid on London

June 13 is the anniversary of the first daylight bombing of London in 1917, by German Gothas. Fourteen of the huge planes took off from their base in Belgium and dropped bombs on Britain’s capital city.They killed 162 people and injured 432 others. Among the dead were 16 little children killed by a bomb falling on a primary school. Most of the children were under 5 years old.

It was actually the Gothas’ third attack. A fleet of 22 bombers headed for London in May, got diverted by bad weather and bombed Folkestone, leaving 95 dead and 195 injured. They came back June 7 and bombed the coastal towns of Shoeburyness and Sheerness.

Their successful attack on London had no tactical value that I can see. They didn’t manage to blow up any war materiel, troops or aircraft, though a few British planes did get shot down (so did some of the Gothas). They were a terror weapon. So killing little children was productive from that standpoint.

Here’s a detailed description of the planes and their attacks:

This photo, from the Imperial War Museum’s collection AIR RAID DAMAGE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR, shows damage to a printing business where 38 people were killed.


The ruins of Messrs Odhams Printing Works, 93 Long Acre, London, which was bombed by two giant Gothas in the worst bombing incident of the war.

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