18 August 1915 – London and Kent attacked

Overnight, the This German Naval Airship Division finally saw one of their Zeppelins reach London and match the Army airship record. Four Zeppelins set out but two, L.13 and L.14, turned back with engine problems.

Zeppelin L.10, commanded by Oberleutnant-zur-See Friedrich Wenke, came inland near Sizewell at 22.32 and followed the Suffolk coastline before turning inland. Near Ardleigh, northeast of Colchester, it dropped a parachute flare or incendiary, without damage, and followed the railway line as it passed through Colchester, Witham and Chelmsford, then turned west and headed towards Waltham Abbey.

It then turned South towards London. The first bomb dropped on Lloyd Park, Walthamstow, followed by a string through Leyton and Leytonstone. These landed on various streets including Leyton High Road (bombs killed four near the Midland Road station), Claude Road (three killed), Oakdale Road (two killed), and Southwell Grove Road (one killed).

L10 then headed for home, dropping two bombs at Chelmsford on the way. L10 encountered limited anti-aircraft fire and, although two RNAS aircraft from Chelmsford, one from Holt and three from Yarmouth were in the air, sightings were limited and two of the aircraft crashed on landing.

L11 reached England at around 21.30 near Herne Bay at about 21.30 – causing some panic on the pier the ship then passed over Canterbury. – and meandered over Kent for just over two hours. Passing over Canterbury, L.11 headed towards Faversham before turning south. Having flown over Ashford, von Buttlar then circled back and dropped two explosive and 19 incendiary bombs on the town. Two incendiaries fell in Lower Queen’s Road and six fell in two gardens close by, with another dropping in the neighbouring cemetery. The rest were dropped as L.11 continued on a westward path: nine incendiaries and two explosive bombs fell in fields at Barrow Hill owned by a Mr Bridge, killing sheep and a couple of hens, and one incendiary fell in the grounds of a sanatorium on the Maidstone Road.

L.11 then turned northwards and released 16 explosive and 25 incendiary bombs over the countryside south of Faversham causing minor damage.

L.11 flew out at about 23.35, having caused no casualties and negligible damage, and was sent on her way by 420 rounds of small arms ammunition fired by the 42nd Provisional Battalion.

The AA gun at Faversham Powder Works did not engage L.11. The Manager decided cut the power to the searchlight, believing it would draw attention to this vital establishment.


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