Fear of Air Attack

Our volunteer research is already highlighting how Somerset was affected by national news, in particular the zeppelin air raids that took place in 1915.

The first attack on Britain by air took place on 19 January 1915. On 28 January 1915 the threat of air raids was discussed at the Parish Council meeting in Martock.


Zeppelin Poster

The Parish Council minutes show the genuine fear of attack from above.

A number of procedures were put in place to prevent enemy aircraft from finding targets.

‘the Lighting Inspector be asked to extinguish street lamps early as possible or discontinue lighting for a time… places of worship have windows darkened or discontinue evening services.’

The Bishops Hull vestry minutes of May 1916 show that church authorities took out air raid insurance (also referred to as anti-aircraft insurance).

Keep checking here for stories researched by Somerset Remembers volunteers.



3 thoughts on “Fear of Air Attack

  1. The Minehead Urban District Council had similar discussions. On 14 Aug 1914 a notice from the Admiralty was read at a meeting requesting that the number of powerful electric lights on piers, esplanades and public places visible from the sea be reduced. On 25 Jan 1915 it was agreed that no Public arch lamp in the town be lit, except one at each crossing, there were to be no public lights on North Hill and on the warning of aircraft attack all lights to be extinguished at once. In December of the same year they decided that lamps that couldn’t be seen from sea could be lit.

    Glastonbury Borough also reduced the lighting in the Market Square, saying they needed to be extinguished at 10pm. The general blackout in the town was reviewed in October 1916, in consultation with the Police and in November 1917 one half of the lights were allowed to be re-lit.

  2. Our research of Weston Mercury includes a report in August 1914 highlighting extreme fear as a light in the night sky over the Bristol Channel was thought to be an airship; it was later realised to be a bright and distant star in the sky. At the end of September a red glow was seen from Highbridge, but this was eventually assumed to have been a device released at Bridgwater fair; it led a local worthy to reflect that the Kaiser was unlikely to release his first Zeppelin over the likes of Highbridge.
    Still it shows the heightened concerns of a population not yet accustomed to the potential of flight and especially of its uses in wartime

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