SOME ZEPPELIN STRAFERS
 ON the night of March 31st–April 1st, 1916, three Zeppelins sailed over the stormy wastes of the North
Sea, reached the East Coast, and then separated, each to carry out the fell work assigned to it by
those safe in far-off Germany. One of them, L15, in charge of Commander Breithaupt, headed for the
Metropolis. Breithaupt, who had received the Iron Cross and the Order pour le Merite for a previous
raid on London in September 1915, profiting by the knowledge gained on that occasion, set a course
which he hoped would enable him to elude certain batteries of the land defences. His guide was
Father Thames, and he steered his giant gas-bag so skilfully that he penetrated some considerable
distance inland before he was discovered. Probably he and his crew were congratulating themselves
upon their feat, and expecting to be able to reach their
 objective before being discovered. They were, however, sadly disillusioned. Suddenly the inky darkness
was pierced by two brilliant shafts of light which shot up and, with unerring aim, swathed the
Zeppelin in a white effulgence which dazzled the crew.
Realizing that searchlights were the prelude to shrapnel, Breithaupt immediately took action. He
released the bombs intended for London Town in order to lighten his craft and enable him to rise
quickly out of range of the searchlights, and especially of the anti-aircraft guns which he knew
would presently open fire.
Even as the first bomb crashed thunderously below, there came another sound from the earth, and a
shell, followed quickly by others, went screaming up past the Zeppelin. A circle of bursting stars
seemed to be made round the doomed airship, and one of them burst right on top of the envelope, near
the tail, making a great hole in the fabric and causing the gas to escape in large quantities. The
Zeppelin, despite the fact that her crew frantically loosed most of her bombs, began to fall. As she
slowly descended, yet another
 shell caught her, and Breithaupt, realizing that he was in sore straits, swung his monstrous craft
round and tried to head her northward. If he hoped to give the slip to the search-lights, he was
grievously disappointed, for the pencils of light seemed glued on to L15, never leaving her for a
single second; and the batteries maintained a terrific fire. The marksmanship on that night was
remarkably good, for yet another shell smashed one if not two of the propellers of the Zeppelin, and
the watchers below saw that she was now pursuing an erratic course, evidently being quite out of
Meanwhile, ranging over the eastern counties, another raider was finding things rather
uncomfortable. Her commander had endeavoured to elude the outer defences of London, but,
unfortunately for him, the air-ship had been 'spotted' and very soon was under heavy bombardment
from the batteries beneath. At the same time, above the roar of the airship's engines there came to
her commander a sound which told him that not only had he land defences threatening him,
 but that an aeroplane was also buzzing around!
The pilot of this particular plane was Second-Lieutenant A. de Bath Brandon, a young New Zealander
who had taken his 'ticket' only a brief three weeks before, and was totally inexperienced in aerial
fighting. The Germans, however, were to discover that British airmen are daring enough for anything;
for Lieutenant Brandon, who had ascended from his station immediately news of the raiders had been
received, catching sight of the Zeppelin flying 3000 feet above, steered boldly to the attack.
Now, it takes an aeroplane some minutes to climb 3000 feet, and in the meantime the pilot knew that
it was not at all unlikely that the Zeppelin might jettison its cargo of bombs and, thus lightened,
be able to escape scot-free. Lieutenant Brandon determined that this should not be; so, getting
every ounce of power from his engine, and setting his machine to climb at her fastest, he rose
higher and higher, until at last he was directly over the gas-bag. On the top of the envelope some
 the Zeppelin crew were ready for him with their machine-guns, while the airship's search-lights were
sweeping the darkness in an effort to pick up the daring wasp that was so foolhardy as to attack the
giant of the air.
Lieutenant Brandon, as soon as he was in position favourable to attack, let loose several bombs,
some of which went whizzing past the envelope, while one at least struck home, but with what effect
What happened after that is not clear; but later that same night Lieutenant Brandon was engaged in
another attack on a Zeppelin, and gave her the benefit of a couple more bombs, hitting her on the
nose. It seems not at all unlikely that L15 which, as we have seen, had received a nasty mauling
from the anti-aircraft batteries, was the identical Zeppelin which felt the force of these latter
bombs. This much is certain, however: when day broke, L15 was discovered by the steam trawler
Olivine (Lieutenant-Commander W. R. Mackintosh, R.N.R.) floating near the Knock Lightship with her
back broken. Breithaupt and his crew surrendered, but not before they
 had taken the precaution of placing a time-bomb which destroyed the airship while her captors were
attempting to tow her into harbour.
It is significant of the German attitude in war, and of the kind of treatment that the Huns expect
as a just recompense for their brutal crimes, that the prisoners were not a little surprised at the
humane treatment they received! Commander Breithaupt, indeed, as though to palliate the crime of his
crew, took upon himself all responsibility, saying that his men simply obeyed orders.
It has taken the Germans a long time to realize that Britons fight with clean hands, even against a
foe who does not hesitate to use every means, foul or fair, in the pursuit of his villainous
For his fine feat, Lieutenant Brandon received the D.S.O.
Following this raid, there were a number of other visits over various English counties by hostile
airships; but we have no space to recount all the heroic deeds performed by British airmen in
driving off the raiders. A
 few incidents may, however, be recounted, as, for instance, the gallant attacks made by
Flight-Lieutenants Vincent Nicholl, F. G. Darby Hards, and C. H. C. Smith, all of the Royal Naval
On April 25th, 1916, an unknown number of airships visited Essex and Kent and, without having
committed any damage, were returning to their base, when they were attacked by our airmen.
Flight-Lieutenants Nicholl and Hards pursued one of them for sixty miles out to sea. Coming up with
her they dived until they were within a few hundred feet of the airship, when they attacked her with
darts and bombs, with what result did not transpire. Flight-Lieutenant Smith, also, chased another
of the Zeppelins for fifty miles, hanging on to her relentlessly until it was useless to proceed any
farther. He was returning to his base when he sighted a fleet of enemy warships accompanied by
submarines. Naval airmen are ready for anything that ploughs the seas or sails through the air, and
Lieutenant Smith promptly attacked the submarines, dropping his bombs with such accuracy that the
undersea-  craft were very glad to clang down their hatches and submerge, without waiting for the gallant
aviator to repeat the dose.
On July 31st other raiders appeared, and on this occasion scattered bombs over a wide area, but
doing little material damage and fortunately without inflicting any casualties. It was during this
raid that one of our aeroplanes, piloted by an officer whose name was not given, pursued a Zeppelin
for thirty miles out to sea, and on coming within range attacked her with his machine-gun. Then hard
luck came to him, for while he was still pulling the trigger of his gun the weapon broke and a
portion of it crashed into him, stunning him so badly that for a while he was unable to control his
machine, which began to drop. The rush of the cool air revived the gallant aviator, however, while
the machine was still well above the water, and he succeeded in regaining control of it; but of the
enemy he had hoped to ' strafe' there was no sign. He was therefore compelled to return to his
station, feeling, no doubt, pretty sore at the scurvy trick that Fate had played him.
THE DESTRUCTION OF A ZEPPELIN AT CUFFLEY.
 In another chapter we have told the story of the brilliant way in which Lieutenant Warneford
destroyed a Zeppelin in flight, and this performance was repeated over British soil by Lieutenant W.
L. Robinson on September 3rd, 1916. The moment was indeed a dramatic one, for this was the first
aerial monster to be brought down in England, and the hundreds of thousands of people who witnessed
the thrilling deed were fired with a righteous emotion born of their knowledge that the victim was
engaged upon a dastardly attempt to murder their loved ones.
On September 5th, 1916, the London Gazette published the following announcement:
"H.M. the King has been graciously pleased to award the V.C. to the undermentioned officer:
"Lieutenant Wm. Leefe Robinson (Worcester Regt. and R.F.C.), for most conspicuous bravery.
"He attacked an enemy airship under circumstances of great difficulty and danger, and sent it
crashing to the ground as a flaming wreck.
The Destruction of
a Zeppelin at Cuffley by Lieut. Robinson
 "He had been in the air for more than two hours, and had previously attacked another airship during
That is the bald official announcement, which goes into no details, and very wisely, because the
enemy would give much to know the means whereby that airship and others which later met the same
doom were destroyed. It is possible, however, to fill in a few items of interest which may tend to
increase the admiration of British people for the man whom so many of them regard as their
Of the Lieutenant himself it may be said that he was born at Tellidetta, South Coorg, South India,
and had not turned twenty-one when he won his Victoria Cross. His father was Mr Horace Robinson, son
of Mr W. C. Robinson, R.N., Chief Naval Constructor at Portsmouth Dockyard. The hero of the great
raid was brought to England when he was six months old, but returned to India when he was seven
years. At fourteen he was back in England, at St Bees School, Cumberland, later going to France and
eventually entering Sandhurst. That was in August 1914, just after the war
 broke out, and on December 16th of that year he was gazetted to the Worcestershire Regiment. Joining
the Flying Corps soon afterward, he was in France as an observer from February 1915 to May 9th, on
which date he was wounded in the arm by shrapnel while flying over Lille. Returning to England,
after convalescence he went into training as a pilot, and took his 'ticket' on July 28th, 1915.
Making a speciality of night flying, he saw much service and performed good work in connexion with
the air-raids over England during the seven months preceding that 'one crowded hour of glorious
life' when he brought down the giant foe. Seven months later, during the strenuous fighting which
prepared the way for the great British advance beyond Arras, and which grew to proportions greater
than those of any previous battles in the air, he developed motor trouble during a combat with the
German champion Festner, and was forced to descend behind the enemy lines, where he was captured by
a number of German soldiers.
So much for the man. Now for the details of his heroic deed.
 On September 2nd, 1916, Zeppelins came over to England in force, and an official report placed their
number at thirteen and announced that the raid was the most formidable Zeppelin attack which had
been made on Great Britain. Unfortunately for the raiders, they paid their visit just after the
lighting precautions of London and certain other areas had been improved, and also at about the time
when the defence organization generally had been perfected. The result of the new lighting
arrangements was that the airships, "instead of steering a steady course as in the raids of the
spring and last autumn, groped about in the darkness looking for a safe avenue of approach to their
With the airships which directed their attentions to the more eastern counties we are not concerned
here, our main interest being connected with one of the three which were able to approach within
reach of London. The first inkling that the people of the Metropolis and the surrounding district
had of the presence of the raider was the crash of exploding bombs and the barking of the
anti-aircraft guns. Where the bombs were falling the people wisely
 kept within doors, remaining as calm as could be expected under such circumstances; but farther away
spectators were to be found everywhere, peering up into the sky, and following the pencil lines of
light at the ends of which the form of the airship was to be seen clearly outlined. The bursting
shells made the sky beautiful, and many a cry and shout went up that the raider was hit. Then after
a while there came a wonderful stillness, and the people of London stood waiting, spellbound, as
though expecting something novel and tremendous to happen. They were not disappointed. The lines of
light seemed to have become immovably focused upon the airship. A silence that seemed to last hours,
but which was really only of a few moments' duration, and then the miracle happened: a light spurted
along the airship, a light that could be seen for many miles, and yet which was as the feeble
flickering of a guttering candle compared with the flare that almost immediately followed. The whole
heavens were lighted up by a crimson glow, which made it possible to read—if there had
 been anyone so nonchalant as to want to read!—even though the hour was between 2 and 3 in the
morning. A moment's deathly silence, as though the watching crowds could scarcely realize what had
happened, and then up rose such a cheering, such a shouting as surely has seldom been heard; for the
people of London at last grasped the fact that some one, they knew not who, had performed a miracle,
and had saved many of them from a tragic fate.
Meanwhile, the stricken airship was falling earthward, like a flaming dragon, nose downward. As
though her flaming, blazing envelope were acting as a parachute, she fell slowly, and not rapidly as
many expected; but she fell, nevertheless, and, as an eye-witness wrote, "when yet some 5000 feet
up, the light, especially at the lower end, turned to a brilliant ruby, lightening away through
crimson and pink to an incandescent white at the top, the following flames, above, being pale
As the monster came nearer to earth, the spectators in the immediate neighbourhood
 heard a crackling as of exploding ammunition (the cases of which were later found making a track
which indicated the path of the air-ship's drift); and then, with a final plunge, the raider dived
to earth, falling near Hill Farm Cottage, outside Cuffley. Remarkable to relate, the storekeeper in
that farm heard nothing! He was sleeping the sleep of the just, surely!
When at last the airship touched earth, and the flames were mounting upward, those who had witnessed
the spectacle saw three coloured lights, suspended, as it were, from the dome of heaven itself, and
they realized that somewhere up there the men who had braved the machine-guns of the aerial foe were
hovering, as though looking down in triumph upon their fallen enemy.
And what had happened up there? How had this great work been done? Some day, perhaps, the world will
know the story in its entirety; but, meantime, we must be content with the facts as they were
allowed to be given by those who took part in the great achievement. And we cannot do better than
 off this story with the accounts of two officers, one of them the man who later was to receive the
Victoria Cross for his personal part in the affair.
Lieutenant Robinson soon after the event said:
"I had been up something over an hour when I saw the first Zeppelin. She was flying high, and I
followed her, climbing to get a position above. But there was a heavy fog, and she escaped me. I
attacked her at long range, but she made off before I could see if I had done any damage. The next
ship I saw I determined I would attack from the first position I found. I met her just after two
o'clock. She was flying 10,000 feet. Soon she appeared to catch fire in her forward petrol tank. The
flames spread rapidly along her body. She made off eastward on fire. In several minutes she dipped
by the nose and dived slowly in flames to the earth. I was so pleased that in my excitement I pulled
the 'joy-stick' and looped the loop several times. Then I showed my signal to stop firing and came
 Later still, when he was presented with a handsome cheque which had been promised to the airman who
should first bring down a German air-ship over Britain, he made the following modest speech to the
enthusiastic company assembled to do him honour:
"The thing that I had the good fortune to do is a thing which anybody in the Corps, you all know
perfectly well, would have done if they had had the same good fortune that I had.
"I was not the only one to go up after that Zeppelin. You must know that in the case of every
Zeppelin that has been over England or near England there have been many airmen who have gone up,
and in far worse conditions than I had, I think, that night—in conditions that meant almost
"Many of them have met their death in chasing these inhuman murderers who have come over here.
"Men, friends of mine, have been maimed for life by going up just on the off-chance of 'strafing'
them on absolutely impossible nights, nights when it has been exceedingly
 difficult to land, misty nights, nights when you can't see the ground—you get up into the
mists and can see nothing of earth. All these deeds I consider a hundred times more heroic than the
thing I did.
"It was, I must impress upon you all, merely good fortune on my part. I feel a lot of honour and
glory have already been given me, and I feel almost, I would not say criminal; I can't quite express
my feelings on the subject, but I know I don't deserve all this kindness—all that you dear
people have shown me.
"I just want to thank you, and am sorry English is such a poor language. If I could express myself
as I could wish I should say a good bit more, but I simply cannot."
One of those other officers, to whom Lieutenant Robinson so handsomely referred, had also a story to
tell, which throws a little more light upon the achievement of the hero of the occasion. That
particular officer, who must be nameless, had gone up in a high-powered biplane, and had to climb to
nearly 10,000 feet before he could engage the raider, which, harassed by two other aeroplanes, was
 endeavouring to get away, at the same time rapping out a hot fire with its machine-guns. The
airship, said the officer, "was travelling at top steed, first diving, and then ascending, and
apparently Lieutenant Robinson, who was the officer piloting the biplane which had first attacked
the raider, anticipated the manoeuvre.
"The commander of the airship threw out tremendous clouds of black smoke, which completely hid him
from our view, and in which he managed to rise. A few seconds later we saw the airship a couple of
thousand feet above us, and at the same altitude was Lieutenant Robinson, although a matter of,
perhaps, half a mile away. Immediately Robinson headed his machine for the raider, and flying at a
terrific speed, it appeared that he was going to charge the monster."
Then followed that brilliant spectacle of the sky, and, as the airship fell in flames, a second
aerial monster approached the airmen, who were ready for it. Evidently the sight of the fate of his
companion made the commander of this airship,decide to hurry off, for
 he promptly and swiftly turned his craft round and "scurried off as fast as his engines would enable
him to travel. At such a height and in the darkness it was impossible to pick him up."
All Britain was heartened by the brilliant achievement of Lieutenant Robinson, for until then there
had been a feeling that our successes against raiding aircraft were more the result of good chance
than anything else; the Cuffley episode proved that preparedness and skill had been brought to such
a pitch that raiders could never again repeat their easy murders of the past.
To tell the stories of the 'strafing' of yet four more Zeppelins during raids on Britain would be to
paraphrase the account of the one just given, for in every particular, so far as we are at present
allowed to know, the deeds of Second-Lieutenants F. Sowrey and Alfred de Bath Brandon
(both of the Royal Flying Corps), when two Zeppelins were brought down on September 24–25,
were duplicates of the achievement of Lieutenant
 Robinson. The Zeppelins were part of a force which visited England on the date named, and one of
them, at least, was attacked by Lieutenants Sowrey and Brandon and other airmen, who chased her from
the south of London as she headed north and then turned north-east. The airship, which was L32, was
flying higher than any of her predecessors had flown over London. Such little details of the event
as were allowed to leak out show that Lieutenant Sowrey, when he had climbed high enough, attacked
the Zeppelin and was in turn attacked; the giant ship manoeuvred so that her machine-guns could be
brought to bear upon the aviator, who by wonderful skill succeeded in obtaining a position so that,
in the manner which is the close secret of the Flying Service, he was able to get in the blow that
set the Zeppelin on fire from end to end and sent her swiftly to earth, a flaming wreck.
The second ship (L33) to meet disaster that night was so badly knocked about by the gun-fire of the
London defences that, owing to loss of gas, she had to descend near the Essex coast, where the
Germans blew up their
 craft and then marched along the quiet country roads in quest of some one to whom they could
surrender. A special constable met them, and they asked him the way to a certain town. One of the
party then volunteered the astounding information: "Zeppelin engine exploded—we
crew—prisoners of war."
No doubt that 'special' had about the funniest sensation running riot through his body, for
naturally he did not know whether they were armed and would turn upon him. British to the backbone,
however, he coolly took the twenty odd men under his care and piloted them toward the village post
office, being presently joined by other specials, and here the prisoners were inspected. Eventually
the whole of the crew were taken into custody by the military and removed to certain barracks.
The attempt on the part of the commander to blow up his airship was only partially successful, so
that when the dawn came wondering spectators saw a tangled mass of wreckage close on 700 feet long
and over threescore feet and ten in diameter. The
 uninitiated would have supposed that such a wreck could prove of little use to anyone, but sufficient
was left undamaged to enable the authorities to obtain a very fair idea of the construction of what
was undoubtedly one of Germany's latest airships.
Thus by gun-fire and aeroplane had two more German raiders been accounted for, and, about a week
later—on October 1st, to be precise—yet another Zeppelin met a flaming fate within a few
miles of the Metropolis.
On the night in question, ten Zeppelins crossed the East Coast, and one of them which had London for
her objective was commanded, as it was afterward discovered, by Commander Mathy, a pilot who had
previously raided the City of our Empire, and had given an account of his experience to an American
newspaper man. Just about midnight this Zeppelin was sighted approaching London, and, with
searchlights piercing the skies and revealing her position to the artillery-men below, the defences
of the Metropolis vigorously opened fire upon her. Hundreds of thousands of people were watching the
 spectacle, and saw what they naturally did not understand at first. Shells from the anti-aircraft
guns were throwing up a starry curtain of fire, through which the Zeppelin either could not pass or
dared not for fear of what might happen. The searchlights were evidently baffling the crew in her,
and many attempts were made to escape the white blaze of light focused upon her. For what seemed
endless minutes—perhaps it was less than half an hour—the raider was held in the beams;
then she eluded them for a brief while, during which the spectators watched open-mouthed, not
knowing where she would next appear. With not a little relief they presently saw her again, caught
by the search-lights, and once more the artillery boomed, the shells bursting apparently in close
proximity to the great envelope.
And then, silence and darkness: the search-lights were shut off, the gun-fire ceased. The people of
London and the surrounding district held their breath. Recollection of what had happened a few
seconds after such a silence on the occasion of the destruction of the raider
 at Cuffley came to the thousands who had been in the streets on that historic night, and men, women,
and children waited with bated breath—expectant, hopeful.
They were not disappointed. Suddenly the intense darkness was broken by a curious yellow light,
which quickly developed into a crimson blaze, illuminating the country for miles around.
A momentary hovering in mid-air, and then the airship, flaming from end to end, began to fall, those
spectators who were near enough being able to see the white lines of her aluminium framework
clear-cut in the reddish flame. Everybody knew what had happened: somewhere up there, while they had
been watching and waiting in breathless anticipation, an airman had been at work in some mysterious
but effective way; but it was not until some time later that they knew who the aviator was. His name
was Second-Lieutenant Wulstan Joseph Tempest. He had been spending the evening with some friends,
and had been called away to meet the invaders. He ascended 10,000 feet and waited in the
 air for over two hours before the Zeppelin appeared. He promptly attacked, pursuing her until he was
within striking range. Then he had struck, and struck home.
Immediately after the Zeppelin caught fire he had travelled the complete length of her, parallel
with her all the time. More than once, in order to avoid colliding with the burning mass of his
victim, he had to nose-dive. Eventually he landed in safety miles away from the place where he had
first taken the air, and was driven back to his station in a motor to receive a fine ovation from
his comrades. Later he was awarded the D.S.O.
Because it tells, as plainly as may be told, the nature of the experience of an aviator in his fight
with a Zeppelin, an airman's account—it refers to the earlier days of aerial
fighting—published in the Pall Mall Gazette may be quoted here.
"The pilot of the aeroplane has an instinctive feeling that a Zeppelin is somewhere near him. He
cannot hear because of the noise of his own engine, and he cannot see because of the intensity of
the darkness all around him. His
 feeling is soon confirmed when he finds himself the focus of two, three, four, or more
search-lights, and the anti-aircraft guns commence to fire. This is another deadly danger he has to
contend with: there is as much chance, sometimes more, of our own anti-aircraft shells hitting him
instead of the raiding airship.
"By means of his wireless key, however, he is able to communicate with his aerodrome, who
immediately telephone to the guns to cease fire, but during the time that must necessarily elapse
before this comes to pass he is in very grave danger. More so even than the airship, for one direct
hit would not, in all probability, be sufficient to bring down an airship, but most certainly would
destroy a frail and tiny aeroplane.
"The combat between the aeroplane and the Zeppelin might be compared to that between a British
destroyer and the German Dreadnoughts in the recent Jutland battle. Dashing in with great rapidity
and skill, the tiny one-gunned aeroplane fires its broadside, then makes off as fast as possible to
 of range of the comparatively heavy-armed airship. From thence onward it develops into a fight for
the upper position, for once above the Zeppelin the aeroplane pilot can use his bombs,
and the broad back of the gas-bag offers a target which can hardly be missed.
"Again, some Zeppelins are not armed, as were the very earliest fighting craft, with a machine-gun
above the envelope; thus the aeroplane has the Zepp at his mercy, and is out of danger himself.
Should he be unable to climb above, the only other vulnerable spot is the stern; the airship
machine-guns fire only fore and amidships, and cannot fire aft.
"In manoeuvring, the aeroplane has the great advantage of being remarkably quick in turning,
climbing, and coming down. The Zeppelin, again, is very susceptible to flame and explosion of any
kind; the gas in the envelope, a mixture of hydrogen and air, forms an extremely explosive mixture.
The aeroplane, owing to the fabric of which it is
com-  posed, and the petrol needed for propulsion, is to a certain degree inflammable, but not nearly to
the same extent as the airship. Per contra, the airship possesses a distinct advantage in that it is
able to shut off its engines, and to hover, which it is impossible for an aeroplane to do. Again, in
the matter of speed in a forward direction, and, for that matter, backward also—for the
Zeppelin's engines are reversible—the aeroplane holds the palm with an average speed of sixty
miles per hour, to the airship's fifty.
"The combat finished, the aeroplane pilot has yet to make a landing, surely the most dangerous and
tricky manoeuvre of the whole fight. The difficulties and dangers thus encountered are too obvious
to need explanation, further than to say that the landing has to be effected in the dark, with only
a blinding, dazzling electric ground-light for guidance."
Commander Mathy, the pilot who met his doom in the raid of October 1st, told a reporter; amongst
other things, that he was not afraid of aeroplanes. "I think I could make it interesting for them,
unless there was a
 regular swarm." Well, Commander Mathy had things made interesting for him, and the continued
destruction of Zeppelins when they have ventured over Britain is proof that those who have charge of
the defences are not sitting twiddling their thumbs. No means of solving the problem have been left
untried, no precautions have been neglected, as a batch of raiders discovered on November 27th,
1916, after a pause of some weeks in their activities. On that night a number of air-ships
approached the North-East Coast, most carefully avoiding London, under the impression, no doubt,
that by giving the Metropolis a wide berth they would be outside the range of effective defences.
They were disillusioned, however, and found that not only around London but also in other parts of
the country there was danger for raiders.
Four of the five airships which took part in the raid attacked the North-East Coast, dropping bombs
on Durham and Yorkshire, luckily with but little damage to life and property. In exactly the same
Lieu-  tenants Robinson and Tempest had attacked their aerial foes, one of their comrades of the Royal
Flying Corps—Lieutenant I. V. Pyott—drove into action with a raider on that November
night. There was a short but none the less stern fight between the wasp and the hawk, and then the
London scenes were re-enacted: the great airship caught fire, the flames spread through its whole
length, and the blazing mass fell into the sea while the night watchers shouted themselves hoarse.
Boats were hastily put out to see if there were any survivors, but nothing was seen of the destroyed
craft, not even when morning came: all that betokened the great event was a thick film of oil upon
the surface of the waters.
While Lieutenant Pyott was engaged pushing home his attack, away down the coast other intrepid
airmen were busy. The fifth airship had struck inland toward the Midlands, where she dropped several
bombs. The raider, however, was destined not to escape. As she turned about and made off for the
 coast the batteries bombarded her, aeroplanes pursued her, and she was apparently so severely mauled
that she had to come to a standstill near the Norfolk coast to effect temporary repairs. When the
grey fingers of the dawn began to creep into the eastern sky she was plainly visible, and was
noticed to be travelling eastward, at a great height, with several Royal Naval Air Service machines
in her wake. The fact that it was growing light gave the crew of this Zeppelin advantages which the
raiders over London had not possessed, for the former could easily see the intrepid attackers
approaching and turn machine-guns upon them. The aviators were not to be discouraged, however, and
the people lining the coast were given an exhibition of aerial fighting at a height of 8000 feet.
It was a fight worth watching, too. Down below an armed trawler was bombarding the discomfited
raider as she tried to shake off her persistent foes, who were firing at her as rapidly as possible.
Three of the airmen—Lieutenant Egbert Cadbury and Sub-Lieutenants E. L. Pulling and G. W. R.
Fane—  drove in as closely as possible, sweeping past the Zeppelin's machine-guns, rising above her,
swooping down and performing amazing evolutions around her, all the time firing vigorously, and
hitting her repeatedly, until at last the giant envelope caught fire, the flames roared their way
along her whole length, and she went plunging into the sea.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics