The Bombing of England 1914–17

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Map Code: Ax00425

On 21 December 1914 two sea-planes bombed Dover, causing no injuries. This was the first German air raid and targeted southeastern ports. On 19 January 1915, the Zeppelin raids began. Known as ‘baby killers’ these unwieldy hydrogen gas planes often missed their targets: the Guildford bombing killed a swan and caused only minor damage. Their length at 623 ft (190 m), and the fact that they attacked in silence, inspired terror in the civilian population. In 1917 deadlier German Gothas were used in bombing raids. These flew in formation and had a target accuracy far superior to the Zeppelins. On 13 June 1917, 18 children were killed in a London school and 162 people in Kent. Improved British air defences meant that, by September 1917, the raids were made at night. The final Gotha attack was on 19 May 1918. The total civilian death toll was 1,413.

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