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Sheffield bombed by a zeppelin ?


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Sheffield History

"During World War 1 the Sheffield City Battalion suffered heavy losses at the Somme and Sheffield itself was bombed by a German zeppelin."

Anyone know any more about this ?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Jeremy

Hi! Your quote is from the History of Sheffield article at Wikipedia, and it was I who wrote it. In the article I have referenced my source... it is J. Edward Vickers' book 'Old Sheffield Town. An Historical Miscellany' (ISBN 1-874718-44-X). He wrote:

"A German zeppelin got through to Sheffield. 36 bombs were dropped causing much damage and loss of life."

I can't remember seeing anything written about this elsewhere.

Jeremy

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Sheffield History

Hi Jeremy and thanks for joining the site (and posting !)

It's amazing that nothing else has been written about this incident - I wonder if there is any other way of tracing this ?

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Guest Jeremy

I would imagine that the local press covered it at the time. The local studies library on Surrey Street has most (all?) the back-issues of Sheffield papers on microfiche, though going through all the papers from 1914–1918 would be a pretty big job.

A Google search came up with this story about a zeppelin that was heading for Sheffield but never made it: http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/News?newsitem=211499

I don't know if you were also asking about the Sheffield City Battalion but this website about the battalion is an interesting read. They trained out at Redmires—Peter Harvey's first book has a photo of the camp, I'm sure I read somewhere that you can still see some remains of it.

Jeremy

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dr stanley

If you go down Effingham Road, between Attercliffe Road and Bacon Lane Bridge, you will find a plaque (granite I think) set into the wall. The plaque gives a brief outline of the Zeppelin attack, listing the number killed, children included. I've tried many times to take a photo of the memorial but because of its dark colour, I never get a good result.

I'm not sure what year the memorial was erected but I remember it as a kid in the 1960's. Not sure if it was Rememberance Sunday or the anniversary of the event but I remember passing in dad's car and wreaths would be laid and I'm guessing it was the Salvation Army Band that was there.

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Sheffield History

Great information - thanks for posting those two pieces

I'm going to see if I can get a good picture of the plaque (if I can find it) - a bit of photoshopping should help

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  • 13 years later...
Sheffield History
On 16/03/2007 at 07:55, dr stanley said:

If you go down Effingham Road, between Attercliffe Road and Bacon Lane Bridge, you will find a plaque (granite I think) set into the wall. The plaque gives a brief outline of the Zeppelin attack, listing the number killed, children included. I've tried many times to take a photo of the memorial but because of its dark colour, I never get a good result.

Screenshot 2020-04-02 at 16.34.37.jpg

Screenshot 2020-04-02 at 16.35.49.jpg

Found it!

 

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Hopman

Years ago I found the articles in the local press. From what I remember the papers refer to a Midland Town rather than Sheffield - presumably because of censorship.

One totally useless bit of trivia is that in the First World War the German Navy attacked Sheffield.

But before you conjure up images of a gunboat sailing along the canal with all guns blazing, the zeppelins were part of the German Navy.

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Sheffield History


I was just going to say... they must have had long range guns on those boats! hehe

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Calvin72

Cossey Road in Burngreave took a direct hit. A part of the road still exists but with no houses left now I think. Victims are buried nearby in Burngreave Cemetery. It must have been particularly terrifying given that most people would have never seen an aircraft before. 

https://www.picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;s00146&pos=1&action=zoom&id=4140

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Stu_1981

Some relevant newspaper articles below:

Sheffield_Zeppelin_1.jpg

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Stu_1981

Remaining photos from above and full article about Sheffield

 

Sheffield_Zeppelin_2.jpg

Sheffield_Zeppelin_2A.jpg

Sheffield_Zeppelin_2B.jpg

Sheffield_Zeppelin_2C.jpg

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lysandernovo

If you manage to get hold of a copy of : " Sheffield: Armourer to the British Empire" by Stewart Dalton you will find that chapter 4 is dedicated to air raids on the City in WW1 including the Zeppelin raid.

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  • 2 weeks later...
johnm

Here is the story of my gt grandma, Elizabeth Bellamy's death in the Zepellin raid.

ELIZABETH BELLAMY NEE PIGOTT – STORY OF HER DEATH

 

 

 

Elizabeth Pigott (my gt grandma) was born in Sheffield in 1859 to Hilderbert De Lacey Pigott & his wife Elizabeth nee Gregory. Hilderbert was a grinder born in Hatfield, Yorks but his family moved to Sheffield in the 1830's. He married Elizabeth Gregory 20 Dec 1849 in Sheffield. They had 11 children of which Elizabeth was the 5th.

After school, Elizabeth got a job as a cigar maker & met William Bellamy, a blacksmith in the steelworks. They married 26 Dec 1880 at St Thomas' church, Brightside. Initially, the couple lodged with Elizabeth's brother Hildabert, as her father had died. Soon afterwards the couple moved to their own house at 31 Lucas St. & subsequently lived 148 & then 150 Petre St before moving into 43 Writtle St.

Elizabeth gave up work when the children came along; Hilda 1881, Erwin 1885, Amy 1886, Lilian 1889, William1890, Harold 1893, Elsie 1894 & Albert1901.
Lilian, my grandma, became a tea room waitress on leaving school & met & married William Morris (a gas fitter) on 25 Dec 1914 at All Saints Church. They lived with  Lilian's parents at  43 Writtle St    (off Sutherland Rd) & had their first child, my mother Marjorie Morris on 2 Oct 1915 who was born at 43 Writtle St.

Shortly after midnight on night of 25/26 Sept 1916 the Bellamy family were at home at 43 Writtle St. The air raid alarms had sounded & Elizabeth got up & ran to the bedroom where my 11 month old mum Marjorie lay in a cot. As Elizabeth passed the bedroom window shrapnel from a high explosive bomb which had landed on the road outside, went in through the window & inflicted terrible injuries to her shoulder & back exposing her spinal column. She was taken to the Royal Hospital but died 3 hours later. Thankfully my mum was uninjured.

Elizabeth was buried in Burngreave Cemetery on 29 Sep 1916. Husband William arranged for the following inscription on her headstone "Blessed are the pure in heart. In loving memory of Elizabeth, the beloved wife of William Bellamy who was suddenly called away on 26 Sept. 1916 age 57 years. "A bitter grief, a shock severe, to part with one we loved so dear".

The raid was carried out by Zeppelin L22 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Martin Dietrich which arrived over the city at about 12.20 am. In its raid on Sheffield it dropped 20 high explosive bombs & 30 incendiary bombs. 28 people were killed & 19 injured. Nine houses & a chapel had to be demolished & 62 houses were damaged.

It appears the house at Writtle St must have been damaged because for the following 2 years or so William lived elsewhere.

On 12 Oct 1918, William Bellamy married again, to Annie Elizabeth Hodkinson (a widow). In 1925 a Sheffield Directory shows him back living at 43 Writtle St so the house must have been repaired in the meantime.

An account of the air raid is given below.

 

The Sheffield Daily Telegraph of the same day reported. "The husband of one victim said his wife was rushing across the bedroom to get at her child when a bomb struck her in the back."

A memorial put up on Effingham Rd. by chairman of Baltic Steel co )which was hit in Zeppelin raid on night of 26 Sept 1916 when 36 bombs were dropped between Burngreave Cemetery and Darnall) states : "Lest we Forget" . On September 26th 1916 Nine Men, Ten Women and Ten Children Were Killed by a German Air Raid on Sheffield. One of the bombs fell close to this spot.

The Raid

During the early afternoon of Monday 25 September 1916, five Zeppelins took off from their bases in northern Germany with orders to attack England. Three of the airships were heading for London and the South of England. The remaining two Zeppelins, L-21 and L-22, respectively commanded by Kapitänleutnant Frankenburg and Kapitänleutnant Martin Dietrich were to attack the North Midlands industrial towns. Dietrich's target was Sheffield.

Many of Britain's leading armament and munitions firms were based in Sheffield; it was therefore a prime target for the German Zeppelins. Indeed, Sheffield had been the intended target on previous raids, but on each occasion the attacking Zeppelins failed to find the city.

L-21 crossed the Lincolnshire coast at 9.45 pm, about 45 minutes ahead of Dietrich in L-22. It was heading in the general direction of Sheffield and triggered an air raid warning. Throughout the city electric 'buzzers' warned people to take cover. This was Sheffield's 14th air raid warning, but so far the city had escaped attack. For some the warnings created a sense of panic and they fled to the city's parks and woods hoping they would be safe from falling bombs. Many followed the official advice and took refuge in their cellars. Others saw the warnings as a spectacle believing that Sheffield's inland location and surrounding hills would make it impossible for a Zeppelin to find the city at night.

Shortly after the warning was given, Thomas Wilson, a 59 year old engineer's fitter of 73 Petre Street, came out of his house to and chatted with neighbours. He was sceptical of the Zeppelin threat and told a next-door neighbour that they would never come to Sheffield. Ninety minutes later he became one of the raid's first fatalities.

At 10.56 pm, as L-21 approached Sheffield, Captain Edward Clifton, Royal Flying Corps, took off from Coal Aston airfield in a BE 2C biplane nightfighter to intercept it (the old airfield site now lies beneath the modern Jordanthorpe estate). The weather over Sheffield was cloudy with poor visibility. Finding the Zeppelin in such conditions was hopeless and Captain Clifton attempted to land back at Coal Aston, but crashed on high ground. Although the aircraft was damaged he escaped injury. L-21 turned away just before reaching Sheffield and skirted around the north of the city before heading off to drop its bombs in Lancashire.

About 12.20 am L-22 arrived over the city. At 585 ft 5 in long with a maximum diameter of 61 ft 4 in, even by modern aviation standards its size was impressive. The airship was constructed from an aluminium framework covered with waterproofed cotton. Within the framework were eighteen gas cells filled with hydrogen, a lighter than air gas, which kept the machine in the air. It was powered by four petrol engines and had a top speed of around 60 miles per hour.

The Zeppelin flew across the city to the Fulwood and Redmires areas and then turned east towards Attercliffe. L-22 accelerated to full speed and began zigzagging its way across the city, a tactic employed to make it a more difficult for defending anti-aircraft guns to score a hit.

The first bombs, two incendiaries, were dropped around 12.25 am and fell in Burngreave Cemetery, near to the Melrose Road entrance. Other than scorching some grass and a notice board no damage was caused.

The first high explosive bomb fell in Danville Street killing 49 year old Frederick Stratford, who was struck by shrapnel whilst in bed. In nearby Grimesthorpe Road a bomb fell on No 112 and exploded killing 76 year old Ann Coogan and her 56 year old daughter, Margaret Taylor.

At 73 Petre Street, Thomas Wilson, who had retired to bed, heard the exploding bombs and rushed to his bedroom window. His timing could not have been worse. As he looked out a bomb fell on a nearby outbuilding and exploded. He was struck on the chin by a bomb fragment and died instantly.

The next bomb, a high explosive, fell on Writtle Street (now Maxwell Way). Shrapnel from the bomb hit 57 year old Elizabeth Bellamy in the back as she rushed across her bedroom. She was taken to the Royal Hospital, off West Street, where three hours later she died from her injuries.

Two high explosives bombs fell in Cossey Road causing dreadful loss of life. The first landed on a block of three terrace houses comprising No's 26, 28 and 30. In No 28 Alice and Albert Newton were killed as they lay in bed. Luckily, their infant son was spending the night with his grandmother in a nearby street and was unharmed. George and Eliza Harrison lived at No 26 with their two daughters and two grandchildren. After the warning had sounded they were joined by their neighbours from No 24, William and Sarah Southerington. George and William stayed in the living room while everyone else took shelter in the cellar. All eight were killed in the explosion. The Southeringtons' house suffered only minor damage and had they stayed at home would probably have survived. The second Cossey Road bomb landed on No 10 killing Levi and Beatrice Hames and their one year old son.

In Corby Street (now Fred Mulley Road) a high explosive bomb demolished No 142 killing Selina and Joseph Tyler and their five children. The same bomb also killed 11 year old Richard Brewington of 134 Corby Street and fatally injured Martha Shakespeare of 143 Corby Street, who died later in the day in the Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Road.

The last casualty of the raid was in Woodbourne Hill where William Guest, a Corporation wagon driver, was killed in the street by a bomb as he tried to warn the occupants of a house that they were showing a light.

The final few high explosive bombs fell near to Manor Lane, but did little damage. The Zeppelin then flew over Darnall and Tinsley Park Colliery where it dropped several incendiary bombs, before heading out to sea and returning safely to Germany.

Although a number of anti-aircraft guns were located around Sheffield, cloud prevented their crews from seeing the Zeppelin. A gun sited at Shiregreen was the only one to take action. It fired two rounds in the approximate direction of the airship without result.

 

 

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