Southwold is under air attack for the first time

Burnt-out Zeppelin at Theberton
This Zeppelin was brought down in flames near Theberton. The Museum has on display a small piece of its twisted aluminium framework. P850

April 1915 saw Southwold's first air raid. A Zeppelin, the L6, passed over the town shortly before midnight and followed the little railway line to Halesworth before turning around. It dropped bombs and incendiaries at Henham Hall – occupied by war wounded looked after by the Southwold Red Cross – then dropped more bombs at Reydon. One incendiary fell on the railway station, landing in a coal truck.

Henham Hall was taken over by the Red Cross as a recovery unit for wounded men

Henham Hall had been taken over by the Red Cross as a hospital for the wounded P2430

A local fisherman was said to have heard the weird burr of the Zeppelin over the town, and looked out of his bedroom window. He decided that as the Zeppelin was so close he would throw a stick at it. His wife said: ‘For God’s sake don’t do that. Think of the children.’

With Zeppelins passing over the town, posters were put up warning of daylight raids. When one was seen, church bells would ‘jangle’ for a short time, warning people to take cover. A bell tolled the all-clear. At night the gas supply was cut off.

After the Zeppelin was brought down in flames at Theberton, pieces of the aluminium body were sawn off and auctioned to raise money for the local Red Cross branch. One of these is preserved in Southwold Museum. See below.