28 November 1916 – Double disaster

No Zeppelins have been sighted over England since 1/2 October when L31 was destroyed. Overnight, 10 navy Zeppelins raided, with two of them, L24 and L30, turning back early and L36 failed to cross the coast.

The remaining seven divided into two groups, one aimed for the north-east and the other targeted the north Midlands. L14 arrived over Hull around 2110 and meandered around the city for a while while the AA guns took potshots, finally retiring at 2225. L16 arrived around 2120 and attacked various villages in the Barnsley area and then flew towards York dropping bombs and causing minor damage. At 0035 L16 flew out to sea again. L22 meandered near the Humber for a couple of hours without dropping any bombs. L13 dropped bombs ineffectively over North Yorkshire.

Ian Pyott

Ian Pyott

The main action of the night was confined to two airships, L34 and L21. L34, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Max Dietrich, attacked Hartlepool around 2330. The ship was rapidly picked up by a searchlight and then seen by 2nd Lieutenant Ian Pyott of 36 Squadron in his BE2c. Another n targeted the Zeppelin and Dietrich responded by dropping 12 bombs on it causing some damage to buildings.

At this point Pyott attacked but without result and L34 turned east back towards the coast. At around 2340 another 16 bombs fell, killing four and injuring another 11.

Now L34 was under heavy AA gunfire, and Pyott attacked again. This time he was successful and L34 began to burn, crashing into the sea a mile off the coast. The entire crew were killed.

At this point L35 which was nearby and had also been targeted by searchlights, abandoned the mission and flew out to sea.

L21 flew over Barnsley dropping one bomb but continued on quickly to Stoke-on-Trent which suffered its second air raid of the war. 23 bombs in all fell on Goldenhill, Tunstall, Chesterton, Trentham and Fenton causing minor damage.

L21 then headed South east to Nottingham. At 2255 two aircraft from 38 Squadron spotted L21, but a series of evasive manoeuvres and a climb to 13000 feet threw them off. L21 continued east and was unsuccessfully attacked by an aircraft from 51 Squadron, who had to retire with engine trouble.

Edward Laston Pulling

Edward Laston Pulling

At around 0600, L21 had reached Great Yarmouth, but the earlier delays meant that it was now getting light and the Zeppelin became an easy target. Three RNAS aircraft took off and attacked. All three engaged and Flight Sub-Lieutenants Edward Laston Pulling and Egbert Cadbury scored hits, wither latter likely firing the fatal shots. At 0642am the flaming wreck of L21 crashed into the sea off the coast of Lowestoft killing all the crew.

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2 thoughts on “28 November 1916 – Double disaster

  1. Pingback: 2 March 1917 – Loop of death | airwar19141918

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