Following the recent raids on Britain, there is public demand to strike back.
The first attempt was made on the 18th when Captain Lanoe Hawker of 6 Squadron carried out a daring solo raid on the Zeppelin shed at Gontrode in his BE2c. His report:
“I dropped a couple from About 4000ft. It was a huge mark And I thought no-one could miss it, but different bombs vary and I let fly too soon. The first went off about 200 yards short; the second I did not see. There was a silly captive sausage balloon that annoyed me so I Spiralled it dropping hand grenades, he had a machine gun on board, the brute, and so deserves no sympathy, But it must have been horrible to see a mad aeroplane circling down on it, however, it Was impossible to aim at that speed And finding I had got below it I shut off and dived down at the shed, the anti aircraft battery had no chance as I must have Ben moving at over 120 mph, But the machine guns were an unpleasant zip-zip-zip-zip-zip-thud as they struck something. I think I got down to About 200 ft and flew across the shed And let fly with no 3, again just too soon, as I looked back when circling away and saw smoke along side the shed.”
In fact little damage was done and in any case the shed was empty as its airship LZ35 was already been wrecked.
Today, a further attempt to stem the Zeppelin threat was also made by seaplanes form the HMS Empress which sailed with a force of light cruisers and destroyers from Harwich to raid the wireless station at Norddeich and carry out reconnaissance of Norden to locate reported Zeppelin sheds. The raid failed as strong winds and high waves made it impossible to get the Short seaplanes away – a perennial problem with these aircraft.