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Great Yarmouth remembers Zeppelin air raid victims

PUBLISHED: 11:33 20 January 2012 | UPDATED: 14:10 20 January 2012

Blue plaque unveiling to commemorate the bombing by Zeppelin air ship in Great Yarmouth.
Unveiling by the Mayor of Great Yarmouth  Barry Coleman.

Picture: James Bass

Blue plaque unveiling to commemorate the bombing by Zeppelin air ship in Great Yarmouth. Unveiling by the Mayor of Great Yarmouth Barry Coleman. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Two blue plaques were unveiled in Great Yarmouth yesterday, with one commemorating the moment 97 years ago when homes were bombed during the First World War.

The Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society officially unveiled the plaques, with one on St Peter’s Plain marking the spot where two civilians died on January 19, 1915, after the German bombing, the world’s first air raid.

Andrew Fakes, president of the society, said: “This is part of an ongoing scheme to note historical buildings, and to make sure memories don’t fade.”

The L3 airship was piloted by Kaptain Lt. Hans Fritz. It has been debated whether he intended Yarmouth to be his target, as some believe he may have thought he was above the north-east of England. Others believe the naval targets in the harbour were of strategic interest to the Germans.

At about 8.30pm on January 19, 1915, a bomb dropped onto St Peter’s Plain, killing two residents. The first was Martha Taylor, 72, who was found after the bombing without her arm, and the other was Samuel Smith, a 53 year-old shoe-maker, who was said to have been standing in the road when the bomb was dropped.

His great niece, Joan Roberts, 89, from Gorleston, was at the unveiling of the new plaque. She said: “It’s nice for the family to be remembered.”

The other plaque is on the Salvation Army building, near the Central Library and refers to the residence of a notable son of Yarmouth, Robert Warmington, Mayor in 1780 and 1808.

Dr Paul Davies, chairman of the society, said: “The rich heritage of the town can be neglected in favour of the seafront. Increasing the knowledge of our heritage to our townspeople is important.”

Are you involved in a history project in your community? Email rosa.mcmahon@archant.co.uk

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