Ramsgate blitz features in new Great War book

Hear about the German Zeppelin raid damage on the Bull & George Hotel and public house, 77 High Street, Ramsgate in 1915

Ramsgate features in a new book about the First World War Zeppelin bombing attacks on the United Kingdom.

Author Ian Castle has released Zeppelin Onslaught: The Forgotten Blitz 1914–1915 with Pen and Sword Books through its Frontline Books series.

The German air campaign against the United Kingdom was the first sustained strategic aerial bombing campaign in history but, says Mr Castle, it has become the forgotten blitz.

The book covers in detail raids in many places including Ramsgate  and the destruction of the Bull and George Hotel in the High Street. Two high-explosive bombs dropped by Zeppelin LZ 38 passed through the building and detonated on the ground floor at around 2am on 17 May 1915, killing two guests.

The victims were John Smith, a publican from Surrey, and Florence Lamont, a clerk at the War Office.

The damage to the hotel was extensive.

In all that night four high explosive and 16 incendiary bombs were dropped on Ramsgate. Most did little damage in terms of loss of life although properties were hit. One caused a fire in Chapel Place and at the Imperial Bazaar shop in Albion Hill a HE bomb exploded at the back of the building, causing a crater ‘eight feet deep by 20 feet square.’

Store owner Mr France had a lucky escape. He had store stock of buckets and spades against his bedroom window which flew into the room and buried him on impact. The stock absorbed much of the blast and Mr France emerged relatively unscathed.

Zeppelin Onslaught: The Forgotten Blitz 1914-1915 charts the bombings but also gives a social account of the people involved

There has never been a national register of the names of civilians killed in air raids in the Great War, however through his research the author has, for the first time, managed to trace and list the names of 194 of the 207 individuals killed by airships in 1915.

Photo via thanetonline

In the book Mr Castle tells the complete story of the 1915 raids in unprecedented detail. The book is the first in a planned series of three that will eventually provide a complete history of Britain’s Forgotten Blitz of 1914-18.

Mr Castle began writing military history some 30 years ago but for the last ten years has focused on Germany’s First World War air raids against Britain.

In addition to writing books, he regularly contributes articles to magazines and journals and has been involved in a number of television documentaries detailing this early air campaign.

Zeppelin Onslaught: The Forgotten Blitz 1914-1915 cost £25 (hardback). It is available from Frontline Books at a special price of £20 here