As fire rained down on Yarmouth…

I shared an extract from my next Radwinter novel yesterday; it will probably be called ‘Saltpans’ and I hope will be published early next year. The extract I shared yesterday was about the salt industry, particularly the maritime salt making industry; in my novels, my main character Thomas takes on geological and other research, but often gets side-tracked by other things he finds out… as exampled by salt! A house he and his wife want to buy is called Saltpans, which sets him off on his research.

In another part of the story, he discovers his wife’s ancestors were involved in a bombing raid during the 1st World war:

I find another article; L3, L4 piloted by Kapitanlieutenant Count Magnus von Platen-Hallermund, (what a name!) and L6  crossed the North Sea from Fuhlsbüttel on the night of January 19th. The weather was not ideal and the leader of the operation, Korvettenkapitan Peter Strasser, who was actually operating L6, discovered it had  developed mechanical problems and it was forced to turn back home while L3 and L4 pressed on toward England.

The headwinds forced changes to the German plan; they were supposed to head to the north-east of England, to Humberside to bomb the industrial and military areas there, but weather conditions forced them to change their target and they steered a more southerly route towards East Anglia. The L3, under the command of Kapitanlieutenant Karl Fritz, made landfall over the Norfolk coast between Happisburgh and Winterton. Kapitanlieutenant Fritz’s new target was the naval port of Great Yarmouth.

L3 was actually seen from the ground as it passed over Ingham, heading towards its target in the dark. These days, if your country was at war with another, you might expect air raids, but back in 1915, it had never been heard of because this was the first, and this resulted in the first ever casualties in all the world of war, from an air raid.

It only took ten minutes, but they must have been the most terrifying and horrific and endless  minutes for the inhabitants of the small seaside town as fire rained down on Yarmouth from the sky, as high-explosive and incendiary bombs, ten of them were released from the airships.

One of the L3 bombs fell on St Peter’s Plain, killing spinster Martha Taylor and a shoemaker named Samuel Smith… I have a quick deviation into the 1911 census. Seventy-two year old Martha Taylor, a single woman was a net mender.

There were a lot of Samuel Smiths in Yarmouth at the time, but was this Samuel Alfred, I found, a forty-nine year old boot repairer, living with his parents, Esther and William Pye Smith (a bushman whatever that was), and his two young nieces Elise and Hilda Hutt who were st pschoolgirls, was this Samuel the man who died? If so, how tragic, because even if he had been awake, he would have heard nothing because he was deaf…

Bombs from the L3 also damaged houses, the Yarmouth port’s South Dock, the fish wharf and what bad luck to a steam drifter which had come into port which was also hit.

So from salt making to zeppelins… Thomas’s research takes him far and wide!

Here is a link to my  Radwinter stories, and my other paperbacks and ebooks:

My featured image by the way, is of Happisburgh Lighthouse

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