Aldeburgh has been visited by Zeppelins on at least two occasions, one during wartime:
Extract from ‘The Beginnings of Strategic Air Power: A History of the British Bomber Force‘, Neville Jones, 2012:
On the night of 9-10 August 1915, the Zeppelin L 10, commanded by Oberleutnant Wenke, was one of five German airships which set out to attack targets in England. The airship crossed the coast at Aldeburgh at about 9.40 p.m. and steered for London on a south-westerly course. After maintaining this course for some time, Wenke changed to a south-easterly course, and shortly after midnight he made his attack in poor visibility on what he thought were the London docks. He was in fact some 30 miles to the east of the capital and his bombs fell, not on London, but on the Isle of Sheppey, at the mouth of the Thames. Of the other four airships taking part in the raid, only one, the L 9 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Loewe, succeeded in reaching the area in which his target lay.
[The first air raid in Britain to cause fatalities was the Zeppelin raid on Great Yarmouth on 19 January 1915 in which two civilians were killed]
The image below is of The Graf Zeppelin over Aldeburgh in August 1931:
Graf Zeppelin over Aldeburgh August 1931. Image courtesy of Charles Walker
Another casualty of WW1 was George Henry SOUTHGATE who worked as a porter at Aldeburgh for the Great Eastern Railway, originally joining them at his home town of Woodbridge in February 1912.
He enlisted with the Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion in June 1915 as Private 3577.
He was killed in action on 18 August 1916 aged 22 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Two Aldeburgh-born brothers who lost their lives in the First World War are commemorated on the Framlingham memorial:
Charles Edward MANN
- Private 23939, 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards.
- Died of wounds from a chest injury in No. 5 Field Hospital, 27 March 1918.
- Born Aldeburgh-on-Sea, Suffolk, enlisted Colchester 26 May 1915.
- Moved to the Police Station, Framlingham when his father became Police Superintendent. He worked as a clerk at Cobbold’s in Ipswich.
- After a year’s training he was posted to the 4th Battalion (3rd Guards Brigade) arriving at the Somme serving in the front line of several battles.
- He was wounded in the September 1916 and returned to England.
- Returning to France in 1917, he joined the 2nd Battalion and was injured again.
- After recovery, he fought various battles until his Battalion was relocated to the Arras-Albert railway where he was mortally wounded.
- His brother, Frederick, also fell (see below).
- Buried in St. Hilaire Cemetery, Frevent, Pas de Calais, France. Plot V. Row A. Grave 9.
Frederick Michael MANN
- Private 207060 [CWGC] or T/207066 [SGDW], 7th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
- Killed in action 4 November 1918. Aged 24.
- Enlisted Ipswich, resident Framlingham.
- Son of John Edward and Mary Ann Mann of 35 Beresford Road, Lowestoft.
- He was born at Aldeburgh, the younger brother of Charles (above).
- This soldier fell a week before fighting terminated.
- Formerly 265454, Suffolk Regiment.
- Buried in Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery, Montay, Nord, France. Plot II. Row D. Grave 16.
The following brief account of Wartime Aldeburgh in August 1915 by a visiting schoolchild, Jean M Wilson, was published in the Western Mail (Perth, Western Australia) on Friday 5 November, 1915:
OUR LETTER BAG.
A Letter from a Silver Link in England.
Duman, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England,
My Dear Aunt Mary,
The holidays have come round again, so I think I ought to write a few lines to you. We came down here (Aldeburgh, Suffolk) last Friday to stay for a fortnight. Mother is following to-morrow with my aunt. One realises that war is going on down here. In this small village there are about 1,000 soldiers, the town is literally swarming with them. All along the beach there are wire entanglements, tremendously strong. They say it would take the Germans at least half an hour to cut them (if they carne), and in the meantime they could be shot down. There are also on the beach sand-bag trenches and several “dug-outs.” They are really wonderful, just like little houses underground. I should love to go inside one, but the public are not supposed to go within 10 yards of them. We have just come back from seeing soldiers being drilled. It was very interesting. There must have been hundreds of them drilling. On Saturday we went to a fete which was held here in aid of a Y.M.C.A. hut which they are building for the soldiers. There was singing and dancing on the lawn by some little Belgian children and two or three dramatic entertainments, each lasting about three quarters of an hour, a soldiers’ concert, a white elephant auction sale, the band on the lawn, and of course tea. It lasted altogether from about 2.45 p.m. till 8.45 p.m. We have not heard yet how much they got, but they must have got a good bit. Of course they charged 6d. or 3d. each for each entertainment. At the beginning of these holidays I went down to Broadstairs to stay with my Australian friend. I was only there a few days, but during that short time we did a great deal, and I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay. One day we walked up to the North Foreland, and had tea in a Dutch tea house. It was an awfully quaint little place. The waitresses were all dressed as Dutch girls, and everything was Dutch. August 20: On Wednesday we all took our tea out to a little fishing village. Five of us cycled, and mother and Selina went by train. We started about 2.30 and got there about 3.30. It was a lovely day, which added to the enjoyment. We had tea there and wandered about till 5.30, when we came home. Yesterday a friend and myself cycled over to a little village called Leiston. We went after tea, about 6.30, and got back about 7.30. It was lovely. August 30: I have not written for 10 days. During the time we have been out a good deal. On Saturday last we went to a place called Iken Cliff. We went in a sailing boat. The day was perfect, and the water like a mill pond. We had dinner and tea there, and came back about 4.30, arriving home at 8.30. September 2: School takes up again to-morrow, so I must close this letter. I’m afraid it is rather a short one, but I will write a longer one next holidays. I hope the Silver Chain is progressing. Give my love to Babs and Sandra. I hope they are well.
From your loving niece,
JEAN M. WILLIS.
HOUSES SET ON FIRE. NO PERSONAL INJURIES.
IPSWICH. Friday Morning.
A Zeppelin airship appeared over the East coast early on Friday morning, and dropped bombs on Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds, Whitton, and Aldeburgh.
The only serious damage done by the Zeppelin was in Brookhall-road, where three houses were set on fire and gutted. No personal injuries are reported.
At Bury St. Edmunds two shops are on fire, the borough market, and one in St. Andrews-street. Nobody injured.
The Zeppelin is also reported to have dropped bombs on Whitton, without doing any damage and to have appeared over Aldeburgh.
The latest reports estimate that a dozen bombs were dropped on Bury, and six on Ipswich.
Extract from The Cornishman, Thursday 6 May 1915