ESSEX-UK-L ArchivesArchiver > ESSEX-UK > 2005-08 > 1123797204
From: "Colleen" <>
Subject: RE: Zeppelins
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 22:53:24 +0100
This was a really interesting story too, if I remember correctly, there was
a picture of a little lad who'd gone round collecting incendiary bombs
(hopefully used!) dropped by the zeppelin, he had arms full of them.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Donia Stick" <>
> “The Southend Story – a town and its people” compiled by Tom King and
> Kevan Furbank and published to mark the Borough centenary in 1992 has a
> few pages of pictures and accounts of the Zeppelin raids on Southend. The
> Southend Standard published a special Air Raid Supplement on Thursday
> 13th(?) May 1918. Their artist also drew the shooting down of the airship
> L15 which crashed into the estuary east of the pier in March 1916
> (fortunately missing my BROOKS family in and around Marine Parade).
> A story from the book that I think is worth passing on: “It wasn’t until
> May 1915 that the first bombs fell on the town, dropped from a passing
> Zeppelin in the early hours of the morning, killing well-known
> Salvationist Agnes WHITWELL and a dog. Attached to one of the bombs found
> in Rayleigh Avenue, Westcliff, was a message that read: ‘You English, we
> have come and will come again soon – kill or cure’”.
> “The Zeppelins had promised to come again and they did, 11 days later,
> dropping 50 bombs over Leigh and killing a visitor to the town. Two other
> women died later from their injuries. There was a curious sequel to this
> raid when a resident on the Coleman’s Estate was convicted for arson after
> setting fire to his house for the insurance money, blaming the blaze on
> the [Zeppelin raid]. Unfortunately for him, no bombs had been dropped
> anywhere near his home!”
> Now researching BROOKS in Old Town Southend-on-Sea
> Message Received: Aug 10 2005, 10:00 PM
> Subject: ESSEX-UK-D Digest V05 #235
>>From "Saltwater village" by Margaret Leather (Lavenham, Suffolk: Terence
> Dalton, 1977. 090096362X).
> Margaret Leather, the mother of the Essex nautical writer John Leather,
> up in the Colneside village of Rowhedge. She was born in 1896 and wrote
> book shortly before her death. Margaret's paragraphs are rather long for
> email so I've taken the liberty of breaking them up to make them easier to
> "The greatest local air activity was when the German Zeppelin L.33 met its
> fate on Saturday night, 23rd September 1916. Evidently after it had
> its bombs much further inland, it made for the Essex coast and headed for
> the North Sea and home, so the Germans hoped, but this was not to be. In
> middle of that night the villagers of the tiny hamlet of Little Wigborough
> were awakened from their sleep by the roar of the 700 feet long Zeppelin's
> engines flying low over them, out towards the river Blackwater.
> I suppose the villagers were feeling thankful that at least it had gone,
> after a very short while the Zeppelin returned and landed in a field just
> behind the two cottages at Little Wigborough. I believe it had been hit
> earlier in the night, for it was on fire as it landed, although rumour had
> it that it been [sic] fired by the Germans themselves.
> It was a remarkable escape for the occupants of the cottages and had the
> wind been in the opposite direction they would most certainly have been
> enveloped in flames, the Zeppelin being so close, only matter of a few
> yards. Of course the people were terrified and hid in their cupboards. I
> cannot say whether the Germans knocked on their doors or not, nevertheless
> for those people in the two cottages it was a terrible ordeal.
> However, the Germans soon left the scene of their burnt-out Zeppelin,
> the two lanes that led to the Peldon Road and gave themselves up to a
> village policeman. Later they were taken to West Mersea and were locked in
> barn before being taken to Colchester. That same night there was born in
> Wigborough a baby girl who was named and christened "Zeppelina".
> The events of the night were exciting but when morning came Little
> Wigborough had never seen the likes of it before or since. All roads
> in that direction were as crowded as I imagine Epsom district would be on
> Derby Day. Crowds everywhere, all anxious to see the burnt-out shell of
> Zeppelin. There were people in their hundreds: cyclists, people driving in
> horses and carts, in anything that had wheels, and crowds came on "Shanks
> And that is how I arrived there with my sister Hettie [born 1889] and
> Gredley. We went down the lans to Little Wigborough to view the
> but it was so well guarded by the men of the Lancashire Fusiliers that no
> one could get near it. So after a rest or two by the roadside we made for
> home at Rowhedge, which was roughly 7 miles away. However we evidently
> hadn't seen enough of it because on the next day we three went to view the
> scene again. Crazy you may say, but we did go and before we got to Peldon
> drizzling rain came on, so we sheltered for a time in the travers of the
> blacksmiths at the bottom of the hill, not far from Peldon Church.
> After a little wait we decided to go on just that little bit further to
> Little Wigborough. The Zeppelin was still guarded as on the previous day,
> with not quite so many people about but many more I'm sure than Little
> Wigborough had ever seen before or has since. When my sister and her
> and I decided we had seen enough, we made for the long walk home. We all
> walked long distances in those days arriving home most likely very tired
> footsore, but such was life then."
> A few interesting points there:
> * the suggestion that it was *already* on fire as it came down, and the
> story that the Germans fired it was a rumour
> * the barn at West Mersea
> * more confirmation that it was indeed 'a few yards' from the cottages
> There's a very clever 3D image based on a stereograph of the L33 here,
> gives a good impression of the size (you need Macromedia Flash to see it):
> And the main page of that site which has more stereographs of L33 and
> Another site has a very good large scan of the L33, showing very clearly
> close it was to the cottages:
> There must have a been a huge amount of the special aluminium-based alloy
> left. Apart from the souvenir hunters, does anyone know where it all went?
> To be melted down?
> Chris Goddard
> Plymouth, U.K