Aerial Bombardment of Hartlepool: The Third Raid
Zeppelin attack on 13 March 1918
Civil Parish: Hartlepool
What we would now call bombing was called Aerial Bombardment during the First World War. Between 1916 and 1918, German Zeppelins took part in a series of bombing raids on ports and coastal towns in County Durham. Hartlepool was attacked three times.
The Third Raid, 13 March 1918
On 13 March 1918 Second Lieutenant E. C. Morris and Second Lieutenant R. D. Lindford in a Fe 2d aircraft, based at Seaton Carew attacked Zeppelin L42 over Hartlepool. The Zeppelin was flying at 15,000 feet well above the British aircraft’s operational ceiling. Morris fired at the Zeppelin but failed to inflict any damage. The Zeppelin may have shut down its engines when crossing the coast and the anti-aircraft guns could not hear or see it and fired to no avail. This time the Zeppelin escaped. The commander of L42 Lieutenant Commander Martin Dietrich lived into his nineties and was nick-named the Count of Hartlepool by his commanding officer.
Accounts of the raid differ but between 17 and 21 bombs were dropped. Bombs are said to have fallen between the workhouse and West Hartlepool, one near Richardson Westgarth’s engine works, one near the timber ponds and six in the Mainsforth Terrace, Burbank Street, Temperance Street, Frederick Street and Whitby Street areas. It was these six that accounted for the eight people killed and 22 wounded, most by shards of broken glass.
John W. Perrin, Zeppelin Listening Posts, in Maureen Anderson ed., Aspects of Teeside (2002) pp. 90-98
Contributed by George Muirhead
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