First Gotha Bomber Raid on England

A Gotha bomber of the type that attacked Folkestone.

May 25 1917, Folkestone–London had first been bombed by a German airplane in November, and the success of that flight had convinced the Germans to try a more concerted bombing campaign.  The British had gotten much better at shooting down Zeppelins, and the raids had always been of mixed effectiveness; it was hoped that the new Gotha bombers would be a more difficult target to the British, more accurate in their attacks, and less expensive to operate.

On May 25, twenty-three Gotha bombers left airfields around Ghent in occupied Belgium on the way to London. Two had to turn back due to mechanical difficulties, but the remaining planes reached England, just north of the Thames, at 5 PM.  Clouds prevented them from approaching London , so they turned southeast towards Folkestone, where they dropped the majority of their bombs, totaling 5.1 tons.  Some fell on the town, while others fell on an Army camp at Shorncliffe.  There were 171 casualties in the town, and 116 in the army camp, with a total of 95 deaths; already, in the first mass bomber raid on England, the Gothas were far deadlier than the most successful Zeppelin raids.

Fighters scrambled from around Dover, but none were able to intercept the Gothas; the naval air station at Dunkirk had more luck, shooting down one off the coast of France.  Another bomber, damaged, made it back over German lines before crash-landing in Belgium.

Today in 1916: Great Britain Expands Conscription to Married Men
Today in 1915: New Coalition Government in Britain

Sources include: Randal Gray, Chronicle of the First World War.

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Beautiful Greenery 🌳🌳📷🇬🇧
Location: Aztec West, England
Taken With Canon 750D & Canon Speedlite430 EXIII-RT
IG: @cheriseot_photos

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