Zeppelins above the region in the Great War

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An Alnwick author, who is making a name for himself publishing books on wartime history in Northumberland, has published his latest based on the First World War.

Zeppelins Over the North East, by Ian Hall, tells the story of the airship raids that were carried out over the North East during the Great War, from the Tweed to beyond the Tees, in part using contemporary newspaper articles.

The front cover of Zeppelins over the North East.

The front cover of Zeppelins over the North East.

It is the follow-up to Alnwick in the Great War, which came about after a set of papers, comprising letters, reports and notices prepared by people in the Alnwick area, was found in an auction lot in Liverpool.

The new owner, recognising their importance, donated them to the North Northumberland Branch of the Western Front Association, which used them for the book.

The first Zeppelin raid took place on April 14, 1915. In all, the region was visited by 22 airships during the conflict. The raids killed many people and caused much damage to houses and factories.

Initially the air defences were unprepared for these attacks. But as the war progressed, the Royal Flying Corps improved its methods which increasingly made the airship raids less effective.

Finally, on November 2, 1916, a pilot from Seaton Carew, Lieutenant Ian Pyott, was able to shoot down a Zeppelin over the coast near Hartlepool.

The air defences were mainly based around the Royal Flying Corps, which flew out of a number of airfields in the region.

As well as the aeroplanes, a system of early warning was set up, which included large sound mirrors, which gave an extra 15 minutes’ warning of an approaching airship.

This well-researched and interesting book has 40 pages with 18 images. It costs £4.50 (post and packing free in the UK) and is available from www.wildsofwanney.co.uk

As well as writing local history books, Ian also wants to try to help local people get their book ideas into print.

Ideally these books should have a North-East focus. If anyone has an idea that they would like to discuss, they should get in touch with Ian at books@wildsofwanney.co.uk