Tuesday, 4 September 2012

An East Coast Raid – The Attack

In the group’s previous blog the censored version of the Zeppelin Raid on Goole was explored. In this, our second blog, in the series a real account of the raid will be explored. The following account is based on an official report from the period and a letter written by a Mr West (Shipping Clerk at Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Goole Steam Shipping) to his daughter.
At 11.10pm on the 9th August the Zeppelin was approaching Goole, which was showing lights, and by 11.15, following the river, reached the town. An empty goods train was travelling across Hook Bridge as the Zeppelin approached the town. The Zeppelin dropped three incendiaries just east of the bridge and two fell into the river:

“The Zeps came at 11.15pm Monday. Hook Bridge, got the first. They tried hard for bridge, dropping 3 bombs, but all missed – they are all at the bottom of the Ouse.”

The Zeppelin then flew over the town from East to West, dropping eight H.E bombs and 13 incendiaries on the town and docks. Ten houses were demolished and several other houses were badly damaged by explosion and fire, a dozen persons being buried in the debris.
Many dropped between bridge & Goole, but, striking soft soil, never exploded…”

 “One fell at Jessie’s back, onto the Kelsey’s garden, that didn’t explode, luckily; the next struck a house in Axholme Street, passing thro’ roof, & I can tell you the deep booming roar woke me & our room was one red glare – all Shuffleton seemed to be ablaze. Ma thought it was thunder, & lightning. I kept quite cool and resigned – it was an incendiary bomb, but the fire was put out. The next fell thro roof of Mrs. Acaster, the stone house, next to our butcher’s – four were sat at supper and 3 killed: Mrs. +2 daughters, a visitor escaping. Another fell just opposite this one, the other side of Victoria Street, next to Clarkson’s shop & next to where Mrs. Ellis went to live; it crashed thro roof & was an incendiary, but fire was put out…”

“Then came some demons. One fell in George Street (Back) – 3 houses had wall blown out into the lane…4 killed. Pa, Ma, 2 children – Mr. Gunnee carried girl out, all flesh, of one leg torn away – next he fetched a young baby, but the sight finished hum; he was done…sick…he went away…to vomit… Next fell in Ouse (Back) near T.K. Willson’s baker. Hole in wall, driver horse & cart thro’ – floors are all down in the cellar…”

Goole After the Zeppelin Raid (Yorkshire Waterways Museum - Crabtree Collection (1991.106)

A large shed on the dockside was badly hit and in Aire Street was badly damaged by the blast. 

“Next fell in Ouse (Back) near T.K. Willson’s baker. Hole in wall, driver horse & cart thro’ – floors are all down in the cellar…Next a beast came, for destruction to property, tho not to life, fortunately. It struck the Quay Wall, just opposite Adam Street end. Stone blocks 2 feet thick, were splintered, and the solid masonry under them. Docks hydraulic pipes broken, log wood sent flying, Railway wagons derailed & smashed to pieces – Lowther Hotel hasn’t a window left, all blown out…& so is all Aire Street, Hoppers, Makintosh, Murdock, right to Armitage & Timm’s. Our office end windows broken & so are Brook’s Bank…Next fell on out Hamburg shed; it smouldered some hours and them burst into flame, at 6.00am. Most is destroyed, shed and contents. Another fell near, into a wooden shed, & blew it to pieces, scattering goods, slates & planks in all directions. Next fell on the coal sidings, just off Bridge Street. Could you have seen result, you would know what a crater is; it made one. A loaded coal truck, 14 tons, was shoved off the line, both rails broken thro & bent inward, aye split lenghtwise…An N.E.R. truck knocked into fragments, & one of our butter vans smashed…More fell near Alum Works, where similar craters were made , and minor damage done. We shall never know how many, some are at the bottom of the dock…”

Where the Bombs Fell (Yorkshire Waterways Musem - Crabtree Collection (1993.136.b))
An incendiary went through the roof of the Exchange but did no damage. The effect on the town’s people was one of shock and panic:

“I have talked to a man who was in a small boat, at the time, near a coal hoist; he did not know where to turn for safety, they seem everywhere…”

“But you should have seen the fugitives fleeing. Mount Please was swarming; swarming. The Harrison slept on the barge ground, there. See a barefoot woman, only nightdress on, a baby in her arms, & 2 children pulling at her.”

The Zeppelin continued to travel westwards dropping 16 incendiaries, which fell between the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Sidings and the North-Eastern loop line between the docks and the Dutch River Bridge, causing no damage. The Zeppelin would continue to drop bombs throughout Yorkshire believing heading out to sea at 12.12 am.

The panic continued throughout the night and into the following day:

“All flocked out, too, on Tuesday, at dusk, but better prepared. Men & women, bairns & baskets, chairs and stools; aye and even beds were taken out to field and hedge side, road and lane, seeking safety”. 
The fires were speedily bought under control but as a result of the raid one man, nine woman and six children were killed. Two women were seriously injured and two men, two women and five children less seriously injured. All were persons in poor circumstances and all the men were civilians. The visitor to Mrs Acaster’s would also later be confirmed dead.

In the final article of the series the aftermath of the raid will be examined. 


Hook, J (1995) This Dead Land: The Zeppelin Raids on Hull and District 1915-1918. J. Hook.

Mr West Letter – Goole Library YW/GOO/942/ 

With thanks to the Yorkshire Waterways for the images. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello, My name is Luc VAN OUTRYVE, from Belgium. I try to reconstruct my grandfathers life during World War 14-18.
    He was captain on ss CLARA and regularly traveled between Goole and Le Havre. In Goole he had a post address : T. Ward shipping Company.
    Can you help me to find out what he was doing (or what did he transport?).
    Thank you.


We welcome any comments about the work being undertaken by this Group. If you feel that you can add anything about any of the 'Street Shrines', or have information relating to the men named on Goole Cenotaph, then do please get in touch.