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Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Saturday, September 11th., Thorpe-le-Soken.

During the day, from Davray, Walker and Rickards, I got information as to the Zeppelin raid on Wednesday night. Davray on the roof of the Waldorf. He said Zeppelin was fairly low over roof. Searchlights on it. Star-lights. Fairy-like. Shots at it . Then it rose and went northwards. Spectacle agreed to be superb. Noise of bombs agreed to be absolutely intimidating. And noise of our guns merely noise of popguns.

Two Army Zeppelins successfully bombed London on 7–8 September, SL.2 dropped bombs on the Isle of Dogs, Deptford, Greenwich and Woolwich. LZ.74 was forced to drop weight on its approach and scattered 39 bombs over Cheshunt, before heading on to London and dropped devices on Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and New Cross. Eighteen people were killed and 28 injured, property damage totalled £9,616. Fog and mist prevented any aircraft being launched, but a number of anti-aircraft guns fired at LZ.74 with no effect.

Although these raids had no significant military impact, the psychological effect was considerable. The poet D.H. Lawrence described the raid in a letter to Lady Ottoline Morrell:

'The First Zeppelin Seen From Piccadilly Circus,
8th September 1915' by Andrew Gow

"Then we saw the Zeppelin above us, just ahead, amid a gleaming of clouds: high up, like a bright golden finger, quite small (...) Then there was flashes near the ground — and the shaking noise. It was like Milton — then there was war in heaven. (...) I cannot get over it, that the moon is not Queen of the sky by night, and the stars the lesser lights. It seems the Zeppelin is in the zenith of the night, golden like a moon, having taken control of the sky; and the bursting shells are the lesser lights."

One bomb in garden of Queen's Square had smashed windows and indented walls and smashed window frames on three sides. Two hospitals here. A lot of glazing had already been repaired.
Much damage at Wood Street Cheapside. I didn't see it. Two motor-buses demolished with passengers. Rickards, who went out at 11.15 (visitation at 10.50 - he was in bed and went to cellar), said it was very strange to see motor-buses going along just as usual, and a man selling fruit just as usual at the corner. People spoke to each other in the streets. Walker said streets near bomb in City were 'two inches deep' in glass etc. I didn't see damage in Theobald Road. It appears there had been a raid over New Cross on Tuesday night. Queen's Square was rather like the front - Arras, for example.

Mrs. T. to lunch. Her father, a bishop, has just lost his wife. A grandnephew was told to write condolences to him. The boy, aged 11, wrote first: "Dear Grandad, I am very sorry Grandma is dead but we must make the best of these things". Told that this wouldn't do he tried again: "I am very sorry that Grandma is dead but you may be sure that she is far happier where she is". This also being condemned,  he wrote a conventional letter about Grannie having always been kind to them all etc.

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