The Daylight Gotha Raids 7 July 1917–12 August 1917


Map Code: Ax00432

Unlike the Zeppelin raids, which took place at night, the Gothas’ first attacks were in daylight. These powerful aircraft flew in formation, like a flock of birds. On 7 July, the German Kagohl 3 unit flew 22 Gothas over the east coast and across Dartford on a raid over London, dropping 4.3 tons of bombs over east London, including its northeastern suburbs and banking district. In this raid 57 were killed and many buildings damaged. It caused a great deal of anger because it was felt that there was no warning given and the authorities should have prepared more effective defences. On 12 August 1917, nine Gotha bombers caused catastrophic damage to the centre of Southend when 2.1 tons of bombs were dropped and 32 people were killed, including nine children. Two bombers were destroyed. The remaining bombers turned around before reaching London, thought to be their primary target.

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