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Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

German Bombing Raid London 13 June 1917

Newspaper extract: On 13th June, German aircraft carried out the first bombing raid on London. 168 were killed and 432 injured in the 15 minute daylight attack on the East End and the City. The raid, just before midday, marked a sinister new role for the Aeroplane which only three years ago was used solely for reconnaissance flights over enemy lines. Previous air raids over London were made by Zeppelins, which were easy targets to hit. About 16 aircraft took part in the raid, countered by anti-aircraft fire from the ground. One bomb fell on Upper North Street school,in Poplar killing 18 children, another crashed onto a railway station, hitting a train. People climbed onto roofs to catch a glimpse of the aircraft, and although some MP's reacted by pressing for air raid hooters and sirens to be installed, the Government felt they may lead to more chaos or people using the warnings as an excuse to take time off work.

All Died 13th June 1917 and all buried 18th June 1917. Many are buried in Plashet United Synagogue Cemetery.

Extract from the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald 16 June 1917:

Air Fighting: London Bombed

There had been much air fighting this week and our machines have scored some rembarkable success exspeically at the Front. But the Germans brought off a distastrous raid on London - so far as child life was concerned - on Wednesday. The raiders were about 15 in number, and came in across the Essex coast-line. Reaching the East-end of London, they dropped a number of bombs. One fell in a railway station, hitting an incoming train, killing seven people and wounding 17. Another bomb fell on a school, killing 10 and injuring 50 children. The raid over LOndon lasted about 15 minutes. The casualries are stated to be 97 killed and 439 injured. Only one hostile aeroplane seemsm to have been brought down by our airmen and anti-aircraft guns.

Extract from the Surrey Advertiser 16 June 1917:


On Thursday last week British troops attacked and smashed the formidable German positions at Messines, capturing during that and the next few days 7,342 German prisoners, 47 guns, 242 machine guns, and 60 treanch mortars, and inflicting other terrible but unascertainable losses upon the defenders. On Wednesday this week a party of German airmen bombarded London, killing and wounding some 500 or so men, women and children, almost esxclusively civilians, and inflicting no military damage of any sort or kind. The two events, set side by side, afford an illumibnating study in contrasts, significant of much. Our attack at Messines was, by the admissions of captured and terror-stricken prisoners, frightful in the extreme; but it was carried out in the legitimate course of the war. The attack on London stands in a different category altogether. We would not go so far as to say that any attack on London is absolutely unjustifiable, The War Office, the Admiralty, the docks, and other stablishments in or near the Metropolis would be held to be legitimate objectives of and enemy attack; but there is no particl of evidence to show that these objectives were definitely aimed at. The bombs were dropped indiscriminately over densley congested areas, the attacking airmen being careless as to results so long as they fulfilled their mission of frightfulness - the killing and maiming of anyone - man, woman or child, combatant or non-combatant. Regarded from a purely military standpoint no comparison between the results ahcieved is possible. One gallant troops pulverised the German soldiers in their well-prepared and strongly fortified trenches, dealt them such a stunning blow that their attempts to hit back have been feeble in the extreme, and won valuable ground from which the Huns thought they could never be ousted. These results we can exhibit with pride, knowing that they have been gallantly and fairly and honourably won. What achievements can the raiding airmen report to their Imperial masters? They can lay before him as a votive offering a pitcure of 500 murdered or maimed civilians, with the mutilated bodies of 120 innocent little children in the foreground! It is an offering that should please this modern Attila. Thank God British airmen have no such shameful record to their eternal discredit. There is one incident in the sad and terrible narrative of the raid that we like. MR. WILL CROOKS states that during the three or four hours thatn he was helping to remove the dead and ten the wounded children in the schoool struck by a bomb he did not hear man or woman ask: "When is peace coming?" If the KAISER has been anxious to deal the peace propaganda of the pacifists a mortal blow he could hardly have done it more effectively. Peace will come only when the spirit which conceives and exults in such orgies of frightfulness is completely and finally crushed. Upon that the heart of the people will be set more firmly than ever.

Extract from Gloucestershire Echo 16 June 1917:


Fifty-one victims of the German air raid over London were the subject of inquests on Saturday. They were mostly men, who were killed in the City. Some ghastly stories were told of the effects of the raid.

At another inquest in an East End borough the victims included a mother and two daughters, and the bereaved father stated that twp opther ababy children (twins) were lying dead together in the mortuary of lOndon Hospital. Every bone in the woman's body was broken. The babies were in a pushcart in the ruins. The foreman of the jury said they all considered reprisals should be adiopted and that watning should be given.

Last updated: 11 December, 2016

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