16 June 1915 – Hit the North

Late last night Naval Zeppelins L10 and L11 set out to attack Tyneside. L11 had to turn back with a broken crankshaft in one of its engines but L10 continued.

Zeppelin L10

Kapitänleutnant Klaus Hirsch brought L10 inland near Blyth at around 11.25pm. He then turned southwards towards the Tyne, arriving at Wallsend at around 11.40pm. He dropped six incendiary and two high explosive (HE) bombs, causing damage estimated at £30,000 on the North Eastern Engineering Company works. Others fell close to the Infectious Hospital and the new Secondary Schools, with one also falling near Holy Cross church and another in the Burn Closes.

L.10 next crossed the Tyne, dropping bombs on the Hebburn Colliery, the Ordnance Works football field and Blackett Street, before approaching the Jarrow shipyards. As warning of the raid had not reached the shipyards, all the lights were on, providing an inviting target. Palmer’s shipyard took the brunt of the attack with seven HE and five incendiary bombs killing 17 and injuring 72 in the Engine Construction Department. Amongst those killed were: Lawrence Fraser Sanderson, 16; Matthew Carter, 56; Joseph Beckwith Thorneycroft, 31; John George Windle, 22; Karl Karlning, 24; William Erskine Cook Young 16; William Grieves Turner, 20; Joseph Lane 67; Robert Thomas Nixon, 32; Frederick Pinnock, 29; Albert Bramley, 54; Thomas Henry Smith, 23; Ralph Snaith, 48; William Stamford, 40; George Ward, 18; John Cuthbert Davison, 31

L.10 crossed back Northwards over the Tyne, bombing Willington Quay. There, three bombs fell on Cookson’s Antimony Works, two at the east end of Stephenson’s Street and one at Pochin’s Chemical Works, one near the Tyne Commissioner’s Yard, one at Coach Open – killing P.C. Robert Telfer – two in Tyne View Terrace and one in Dock Street.

Hirsch then dropped a single bomb on Bewicke Street, East Howden, as he headed towards South Shields where he dropped the last four bombs.

The first of these landed in the Tyne but the second hit a fairground close to the river where considerable damage took place. The force of this blast smashed windows in Ferry Street, Church Row, Market Place, Coronation Street, King Street, East Holborn, Mill Dam, Spring Lane and Thrift Street. A third bomb, dropped on Bents Ground, caused minor damage before a final one on the beach failed to explode. The whole raid took around 12 minutes and by 11.52pm L10 was heading back out to sea.

The Home Defence response was limited. Two RNAS pilots flew from Whitley Bay but L10 climbed out of range before they could get anywhere near her. Five coastal defence guns opened on L.10: a pom-pom at South Shields got off 25 rounds while four others of various calibres in various locations fired 17 rounds without effect. HMS Brilliant, a Tyne guardship, also opened fire but to no avail. Further south the Harwich Cruiser Squadron remained in port.

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