Z is for Zeppelin

The dreaded Zed. I’ve been worrying about this one since posting A is for Abracadabra all those weeks ago, wondering what on earth I could come up with for Zed and whether joining this ABC Wednesday thing was such a good idea. As it happened, I came up with a few, but I shall share just the one and keep the others in reserve for next time.

In keeping with my posts about the history of the place I grew up, Z is for Zeppelin and the 3rd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment that was based in Ashton where you will find their official museum.

The 3rd Battalion was a special reserve mobilised in Ashton in August 1914 as Britain declared war on Germany and the troops were sent to Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire as part of the coastal defences.

At 1:30am on 1 April 1916, German Naval Zeppelin L22 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Martin Dietrich was seen approaching Cleethorpes from the south east. London and East Anglia were the intended bombing targets, but the Zeppelin had engine problems and the attack was switched to Grimsby docks.

The battalion’s searchlight locked on to L22 and their anti-aircraft gun opened fire, forcing the Zeppelin to drop bombs in the open countryside.

Passing over Cleethorpes, it dropped a flare which fell on the river end of the pier and then turned back over the railway station, dropped three bombs which hit the Baptist Chapel, the council office at the corner of Cambridge Street, the third falling in Sea View Street.

The bomb falling on the slate roof of the chapel detonated on impact and half the roof was demolished, a large part falling into the building in which the men of the Manchester Regiment were standing-to. The upper part of the wall and the copingstone off the north end were thrown on to the corrugated iron roof of the shops in which the men of “A” Company were quartered.

The night was intensely dark and no lights could be shown as the Zeppelin was still dropping bombs in the fields around Humberstone, so the rescue work was carried out under very trying conditions. The Regimental Medical Inspection Room couldn’t cope with the wounded and the town hall and Yarra House were used as dressing stations.

The total casualties that night were 31 killed or died of wounds and 51 injured or wounded. Twenty-four were buried at Cleethorpes Cemetery and five taken home for burial and on 1 April 2001 the Manchester Chapel was dedicated in the Cleethorpes Baptist Church  in memory of the soldiers killed.

As for the Zeppelin L22, it went on to bomb Sheffield later that year, but was eventually shot down over the North Sea in May 1917.

ABC Wednesday Round 7

Zips and Snips at Sithenah

Zack Hill, Zits and Ziggy at Brush Strokes from the Heart

Zen GPS and Judaism at Jerusalem Hills Daily Photo

Zither by Francisca in Monmgolia

Zodiac by Ramblin’ Roger

Zzzzzzzzz by Milla

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5 comments… Add yours
  • Sylvia Kirkwood 12th January 2011

    Terrific and very interesting and informative post for the Z Day! Really enjoyed reading more history about the Zepplin! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!


  • rog 12th January 2011

    very informative. learned a lot. thanks.
    but this isn’t the thing you’ll be in when you’re at 25,000 feet in the future, is it?

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • Kay Davies 12th January 2011

    Very interesting. My grandfather was in WWI and my father was in WWII. Sometimes out here in western Canada, we can almost forget those horrific wars ever happened except in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day.
    I was interested in the Zeppelin’s second choice being Grimsby docks, because I have a friend in Grimsby, but I’ve never read about it anywhere.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  • Mr Parrot 12th January 2011

    Thanks for all your omments. Reaching Z was a bit of a “Phew! Made it” moment, but I’ve enjoyed my first foray into ABC Wednesday, so much so that I’m planning my next attempt. I’ve also enjoyed reading everyone else’s posts — creative, entertaining and thoughtful.

  • Yorkshire Pudding 12th January 2011

    Very interesting. Thank you. Pity the Zeppelin didn’t manage to obliterate Grimsby – home to Hull City’s oldest and closest football rivals.


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