This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Andy Brady 2009
There was a new refrain in the
playgrounds – and the streets – of
the Reich in the autumn and winter
of 1914-15. Germans would greet
their fellow country folk not with
AS AS THE THE image on the frimage on the froont page nt ppagage
the traditional Guten Morgen, but
shows, in the early days the men
a new refrain: Gott strafe England
of the Royal Naval Air Service
– God punish England. (A fellow
were a fairly amorphous bunch –
Englandhasser – hater of England –
especially in the skies.
would nod approvingly: Er strafe es.
From the outset, the new
He’ll punish ’em.)
branch was distinguished from
● The Zeppelin menace... Reginald ‘Rex’ Warneford (pictured below left) destroys LZ39 over Belgium in June 1915, earning the fi rst Victoria
The phrase came from the Cross for Naval aviation and (above left) the satirical magazine Kladderadatsch – a German counterpart to Punch – depicts the English Lion
the regular Senior Service – by
poisoned pen of one Ernst Lissauer. cowering in the Tower of London as the Sword of Damocles hangs from a Zeppelin
its uniforms, by its ranks, by its
Few men whipped up more hatred
songs, by its language.
against England – always England,
(You we will hate with enduring To the British public, it was the airships. Only dropping bombs – It was an incident the Germans
Offi cer pilots wore a small eagle
never Gross Britannien – a dramatist
hatred yet another example of German from above the Zeppelin – seemed to would rather the world did not learn
brooch to denote their status – as
and composer of doggerel. His
Hatred on the water, hatred on Schrecklichkeit – frightfulness – and offer any prospect of success. about. They sealed off the convent
well as an eagle insignia above
Anglophobia reached its apotheosis
the land rather flew in the face of Winston Ten thousand feet above Ostend and surrounding streets, forbade the
the loop on their sleeve rank.
with the Hassgesang gegen England
Hatred of the head and hatred Churchill’s promise that the mother in the small hours of May 17 1915, folk of Ghent to leave their homes,
Rating pilots also wore eagles but
– the ‘song of hate against England’,
of the hand country would be safeguarded by a Flt Cdr Arthur Wellesley Bigsworth snatched a camera from a sister who
with a steering wheel or ship’s
or simply ‘the hymn of hate’, three
Hatred of the hammer and “swarm of very formidable hornets”. – named for the Duke of Wellington tried to record the damage to her
wheel denoting aircraft or airship
verses of bile and vitriol which
hatred of the Crown There were very few Royal Naval – managed to climb above LZ39. place of worship, and spent the next
service, while badges such as
reached its coda thus:
The throttling hatred of 70 Air Service hornets scattered at a half He dropped four 20lb bombs on the two weeks removing the charred,
propellers, crossed axes and a
million people a dozen airfields around the South Zeppelin’s envelope. Five hydrogen twisted, scorched remains of the
simple ‘W.T.’ denoted some the
Dich werden wir hassen mit
Who love as one and hate as East, bolstered by Army anti-aircraft gas bags exploded, but LZ39 did not Zeppelin. And it was all in vain,
many trades.
langem Haß,
one gunners defending the ports and die. She limped back to base.
for by then the world knew that
Ranks were different too:
Haß zu Wasser und Haß zu
Who all have a single foe: naval gunners defending the capital. Earlier that same morning, Flt S/Lt
these monsters of the skies could be
Flight Sub-Lieutenant (acting
England!) Despite Churchill’s pre-war Reginald ‘Rex’ Warneford had tried
Sub-Lieutenant), Flight
Haß des Hauptes und Haß der
gusto, the beginnings were all rather to halt LZ39’s progress, pouring rifle
Lieutenant (Sub-Lieutenant),
And now, thanks to the lights

lacklustre and amateurish, as S/Lt and machine-gun fire into the belly
Rex Warneford had also been on
Flight Commander (Lieutenant),
Haß der Hämmer und Haß der
of perverted science, Ernst Lissauer
Eric Beauman found when he set his of the beast – “without any noticeable
could add a new domain in which to
Belgian soil that night – temporarily.
Squadron Commander
Caudon biplane down at Hendon, the effect”, the Germans observed. The
(Lieutenant Commander) and
Drosselnder Haß von siebzig
hate England – Luft, the air.
He set his crippled aircraft down
airfield earmarked for the capital’s world would take notice of Rex
Wing Commander (Commander).
There was one weapon which
behind enemy lines – where German
defence. Warneford’s next attack.
On the ground the men wore
Sie lieben vereint, sie hassen
would wage war in this new domain
cavalry were now swarming to find
“Now you are the air defence
monkey jackets over a flannel
above all else, the Luftschiff – airship
him – and carried out makeshift
of London,” a cheerful chap at the
Sie alle haben nur einen Feind:
– better known by the name of its
Admiralty told him. “The only one.”
shirt, breeches, puttees and boots.
repairs, enough to carry his
For sorties, they would don a
inventor, Zeppelin.
monoplane back to friendly territory,
fur-lined leather coat, fur-lined
The bomber of 1914 could carry
Beauman protested he had no
then filed a rather understated report
helmets. Gloves were a must.
a 20lb, a 50lb, perhaps even a 100lb a 20lb, a 50lb
weapon, no observer, no ground crew.
bomb a little over 100 miles. bomb a littl The
The official shrugged his shoulders. INTREPIDITY
of his actions.
Any exposed flesh was smothered
Within a day, George V decided
with Vaseline, whale oil or
Zeppelin could carry more thanZeppelin coc
“I’ve leave that to you.”
the airman’s act was worthy of the
Unable to stop the ‘Zeppelin menace’
engine grease. Even with all this
1,000lbs of high explosives and1,000lbs of
Luckily for London, the Zeppelins
Victoria Cross – the first awarded to
in the skies it seemed, perhaps
protection, aircrew were never
incendiaries on round trips of 600 incendiaries
had not yet attacked the city.
attacking the great hulks in their
the Royal Naval Air Service.
warm. Sweat and urine would
miles or more. In the opening months miles or morer
They struck at ‘Newcastle and the
sheds might prove more fruitful. On
Warneford was not surprisingly
freeze. Touching metal with bare
of the Great of the Great War, there was little else
shipyards of the Tyne’ – actually
the night of June 6-7, four naval
feted at home and abroad in the wake
hands guaranteed frostbite or
which could which could strafe England.
Blyth and surrounding mining
aviators were sent aloft to either
of his success. He was invited to Paris
There was every fear that these There wasa
villages – ‘a town on the Humber’
intercept the airships – returning
to receive the Croix de Guerre and the
Not until the final months of the
hydrogen-filled leviathans wouldhydrogen-fil
– actually Lowestoft – and towns in
from another raid or London – or,
Légion d’Honneur. He was ‘billeted’
war did aircrew have parachutes –
rain death and destruction down rain death
East Anglia and Kent – Southend,
more likely, to destroy them in their
at the Ritz. “It was handshakes,
Whitehall determined that ’chutes
from English skies. from Engn They had
Bury St Edmonds, Ramsgate.
sheds outside Brussels.
flowers, autograph hunters, gorgeous
would encourage fliers to jump
bombed Liège and bombede Antwerp.
But on the night of May 31, LZ –
Flt Lts John Wilson, a former
girls and champagne,” Rex’s friend
rather than nurse their stricken
England awaited attack – a Engla
Luftschiff – Zeppelin 38 flew up the
county cricketer and future Grand
and fellow flier Michael Marsden
aircraft home.
blackout was imposed upon blackc
Thames estuary and rained more than
National winner, and John Mills
towns and cities in thetoow
100 high-explosive and incendiary
arrived over the sheds, released their
Crowds accompanied the VC
autumn of 1914. aua And
bombs down upon the streets of
bombs amid a flurry of ‘Archie’
winner wherever he went – as did
Germany G expected them
London. There were seven more
and escaped in the June mist as the
journalists. On June 16, Rex was
In the second and final instalment,
to attack, as the country’t s
victims of German Schrecklichkeit
Belgian sky was lit by the glow of
guest of honour at a dinner in a
coming in our October edition:
schoolchildren sang:s
that night and £18,500 damage
caused – roughly £1m today –and the
flames. LZ38 – and the shed – were
Parisian restaurant. “The young hero,
Battlebags and U-boats; Naval Eight
Zeppelin, flieg,Z
Fatherland rejoiced that the heart of
no more.
rising to his feet, in a loud voice
over the Western Front; Birth of the
Hilf uns im Krieg,H
the “huckster nation has been sown
At about the same time, Rex
cried: ‘Vive la France! Vivent les
Carrier; End of the RNAS.
Fliege nach England,Fliei
with bombs”.
Warneford spied the the grey outline
Alliés! et à bas la Boche!’ and sat
England wirEnglla d abgebrannt, of LZ37 returning to its base after an
down blushing with embarrassment,”
Zeppelin, flieg!Zeppelini

aborted attack on London.
one newspaper wrote.
Each time the sirens wailed,
(Fly Zeppelin(Fly Zeppp
The next day the young officer
the aircraft of the Royal Naval Air
The airship opened fire and Compiled by Richard Hargreaves.
Help us in this warHelp us ini ,
was killed, thrown out of a Henri
Service were scrambled. But chasing
Warneford in his Morane Saulnier With thanks especially to naval
Fly to England,Fly to Engn
Farman F27 at 700ft during a test
Zeppelins served no purpose other
monpolane pulled out of range aviation historian Alan Key,
England will be burned to the England w
flight near the French capital. “He
than to reassure the terrified public.
initially. For the next 20 or so minutes, Catherine Rounsfell and the staff
who defied the storm,” the Paris
“You had about as much chance of
the aircraft climbed to 11,000ft, then
of the Fleet Air Arm Museum for
Fly Zeppelin!)Fly Zeppep
wrote lyrically, “has been killed
spotting a black cat in the Albert
with the engine off, descended on top providing most of the images, the
by a breeze.”
Yet for all the doggerel, all et fof Hall in the dark,” Lt Graham Donald
of the Zeppelin. Department of Documents at the
Rex Warneford’s funeral was
the hatred, all the rhetoric, the the hatrede observed. To Humphrey Leigh, the
“When close above him, I dropped Imperial War Museum, and military
almost a state affair. He was laid to
Zeppelins weren’Zeppelins w t strafing England
efforts to stop the Zeppelin menace
my bombs and, while releasing the historian Michael Forsyth for help
rest will full pomp and ceremony
in the autumn of 1914. in the autummn The Kaiser had
were worse than futile, they were
last, there was an explosion which with Charles Samson’s career.
misgivings about flattening London, misgivings a
lifted my machine and turned it
at Brompton Cemetery in West
plain murder. Aircraft were sent up at
The following books and journals
killing civilians, destroying cultural, killing civilia
over,” the RNAS officer wrote in an
London. Rex was in good company
night armed with just a rifle against
have also been consulted:
historical monuments. Finallyhistorical m , ten
official report.
at Brompton – there were already
leviathans more than 500ft long. Up
“The aircraft was out of control
two VC winners interred there. A Bell Davies, Richard, Sailor in the Sky
days into the new yeardays into theh , Wilhelm II
they went – but there was no training
for a short period, but went into
cordon of police, soldiers and sailors
Cooksley, Peter, The RFC/RNAS Handbook
relented. relented. TThe leviathans could be h
in night flying and, more importantly,
unleashed, as long, he stressed, as a
a nose dive and the control was
had to hold back the throng eager
Flight, 1911-1915
no training in night landing. The
landmarks and private property were an
for a glimpse of his grave. In time,
landmarks a
Gibson, Mary, Warneford VC
planes invariably crashed – invariably Hanson, Neil, First Blitz
Aboard the zeppelin, coxswain
the readers of the Daily Express
with fatal consequences for their
King Brad, The Royal Naval Air Service 1912-
Which was easier said than done, Which waw
Alfred Muhler felt the craft shudder,
would erect an imposing monument,
crew. “The orders to go up had come
as the first Zeppelin raiders found as the first
then the huge envelope – the airship’s
featuring a relief of a Zeppelin
Jones, H A, The War in the Air, volume 2
from the Admiralty,” fumed Leigh. Key, Alan, The Fleet Air Arm – An Illustrated
on on TTuesday uesday January 19 1915 as they J
‘skin’ – began to collapse as flames venting huge clouds of smoke and
“A lot of people in the Admiralty
headed across the North Sea to raid headed acroso
engulfed it. fire, a solitary aircraft rising high
didn’t know what an aeroplane could
Levine, Joshua, On a Wing and a Prayer
docks on the docks on theh Thames and Humber.
“The scorching heat increased and above it. And in time, the memorial
Neumann, G P, The German Air Force in the
and could not do. It was a complete
Only two airships found England. Only two aia
increased and our clothes burst into would fade, its façade scarred by a Great War
Paice, Edward, Tip and Run
None found the Humber – or docks None found
waste of an aircraft and manpower.”
flames,” he recalled. “The gondola century of exposure to the elements.
Popham, Hugh, Into Wind
for that matterfor that matte . They did find King’s
Finding the foe was hard enough,
began to tilt and rock until, with Warneford’s slightly faint face
Raleigh, Sir Walter, The War in the Air, volume
LLyynn and Great nn and GrG Yarmouth and sent
catching him even more difficult. It a terrible sound of breaking wood still smiles, but the words beneath
Robinson, Douglas, The Zeppelin in Combat
their two dozen bombs tumblingtheir two d
took the Navy’s principal interceptor and metal, it tore away and plunged it remains imperious: courage,
Rosher, Harold, In the Royal Naval Air Service
down accordinglydown acco . Despite the
of the day, the Avro 504, seven towards the ground.” initiative, intrepidity.
Roskill, Stephen, Documents Relating to the
Kaiser’s insistence, private property s insi
minutes to reach 3,500ft. Rifle and LZ37 plummeted some 8,000ft; They stand not merely as an
Royal Naval Air Service 1908-1918
was was damaged, and civilians dammagge were
machine-gun fire seemed to do its wreckage landed on a convent epitaph for Rex Warneford but for Samson, Charles, Fights and Flights
Steel, Nigel and Hart, Peter, Tumult in the
killed – fourkilled – four,r, plus 16 injured.
little more than wound these Hun in Ghent, killing two nuns. Alfred all the pioneering naval airman who
leviathans. Official orders suggested Muhler woke up in hospital. He was sought to shake off the surly bonds
Matthew Stibbe, German Anglophobia and the

using grenades, or even ramming the sole survivor of LZ37’s crew. of Earth. Great War, 1914-1918
NEW Birth of Naval Aviation.indd 4 22/6/09 09:21:15
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