On 31st January 1916 nine Zeppelin airships of the Imperial German Navy bombed the Midlands, opening a strategic bombing campaign designed to cripple British war production. It ended in total failure. The main target was Liverpool but none of the Zeppelins reached it. On foggy Monday night several major Midlands towns were bombed and 70 people killed, 35 in the Black Country between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 15 in Burton on Trent, 10 in Loughborough, 5 in Derby, 3 in Scunthorpe and 2 in Ilkeston. A lot is known about the military aspects of the raids but much less is known about what happened on the ground. While the press produced many human interest stories and atrocity propaganda, wartime censorship prohibited publication of any information that could be useful to the Germans, including the towns hit and names of the victims. Through intensive research the author has been able to identify many of the victims and give the full story of these events for the first time.
ZEPPELINS OVER THE MIDLANDS The Air Raids of 31st January 1016
A detailed analysis, Powis has explored the fateful Zeppelin raid on the English Midlands in January 1916, including Burton upon Trent, the Black Country and a selection of other towns and cities. The routes of the airships from their bases on the German North Sea coast to the Midlands are shown, and much poignant detail is cited about the individual accounts of the victims in all the places where there were casualties.