Tuesday 19 January 1915 – We Lost 102

by greatwarliveslost

King's Lynn Zeppelin raid

King’s Lynn Zeppelin raid

Four BE2’s of the Royal Flying Corps set out to attack German troops at Ghistelles.  One is hit by French machine gun fire near St. Malo and the pilot Captain Hyacinth Joseph Albert Roche (Munster Fusiliers attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 27.  He is the son of ‘Sir’ George and Lady Roche. All others return to base safely.

Three Zeppelins, L3, L4 and L6 set out in the morning for the English coast.  L6 turns back with engine trouble, but at twenty minutes to seven in the evening the other two are seen coming in towards Norwalk like ‘two bright stars moving, apparently thirty yards apart’.  These ‘stars’ are the navigation lights of L3 and L4 and soon they separate and begin to drop bombs on King’s Lynn Norfolk wherever they see clusters of lights through the mist. Two Royal Flying Corps aircraft from Joyce Green attempt to intercept the invaders though neither make contact and the first is fired upon by local soldiery and brought down.  To protect the details of the Gunbus aircraft, Britain’s latest fighter, from prying eyes and cameras the crashed airplane is covered with sheets and cordoned off by soldiers. Between them the raiders do some 7,740 pounds sterling worth of damage, kill two men and two women and injure sixteen civilians including two children. These are the first Zeppelin casualties of the war in England in this the first Zeppelin raid of the war.

At Jassin at 05:00 the Germans begin shelling the town and its demoralized defenders.  The defenders of Jassin, not knowing that a relief force of the King’s African Rifles is within an hour of them, surrender. Colonel Raghubir Singh has been killed, supplies of ammunition are running low and there is no sign of relief.  Capt G J G Hanson, now in command, raises the white flag. Meanwhile the relief column is met by fierce fire from the German force. The King’s African Rifles has made a valiant effort to rescue the besieged Indians and Gurkhas but are forced to fall back.  There have been individual acts of bravery. A sergeant wins a Distinguished Conduct Medal and a machine gunner named Charles Mathews (an African Christian) with the African Rifles succeeds in bringing away his 40-pound machine gun. He even apologizes to his officer for having left behind his 45-pound tripod.  Von Lettow-Vorbeck accepts the surrender, returns the officers swords and releases the British with the promise that they will not serve again during the war.  Too late in the day HMS Weymouth arrives to provide naval support with a detachment of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Today’s losses include:

  • A 14-year old boy killed during a Zeppelin raid on King’s Lynn Norfolk who will have two uncles killed on active service
  • A Battalion commander
  • A pilot killed by friendly French Machine Gun fire
  • A constable with the Worcester Constabulary
  • Multiple families that will lose another son in the Great War

 Today’s highlighted casualty is

 One of the children killed in the Zeppelin raid is Percy Goate of King’s Lynn who is injured at age 14. His two uncles will be killed over the next 18 months serving on the Western Front.

  •  Private Thomas Herbert Cosnett (Worcestershire Regiment) dies of wounds received in action the previous day. His brother will be killed in May of this year.
  • Private Oswald Peter Pollard (Grenadier Guards) dies of wounds. He is a constable with the Worcester Constabulary.
  • Private Henry Charles Miller (Somerset Light Infantry) dies of wounds at age 24. His brother was killed last month.
  • Boy Albert Thomas Bamsey (HMS Impregnable Boys Training Ship) dies on service at age 16. His brother will be killed in April 1916.