When Zeppelins Came

December 1918

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Wednesday 04 December 1918

When Zeppelins Came

The Mexborough district was subjected to a severe aerial attack on the night of September 24-25, 1917. The raid was remarkable in at least two respects—the unusual lateness of the hour, and the almost, total immunity of the district from damage injury.

It was a pitch-dark night, calm, with low-lying clouds, and the raider flew high. It was never seen, and its engines were only faintly heard. Between Thurnscoe and Rawmarsh twenty-six bombs were dropped, some of them of the elongated type known torpedoes, and some of them were incendiary bombs. The Zeppelin for some time followed the line of the Swinton and Knottingley railway, the Midland and North-Eastern joint line running from Swinton to Pontefract. It approached the district at 2.20 a.m., and from Thurnscoe to Bolton on-Dearne dropped a series of bombs in straight line, apparently during flight. All these missiles fell clear of buildings, and four of them failed to explode.

Three heavy bombs were dropped in the centre of the village of Bolton-on-Dearne, one falling in the rear of the Urban Council’s model houses, another at the cross-roads tying between Bolton and Wath, and a third—an incendiary bomb—in the paddock of the Bolton Vicarage. A good deal of glass was broken, and the Hull and Barnsley railway bridge at Highgate, between Thurnscoe and Bolton, was struck by bomb splinters.

There was then a lull in the attack, which was reopened at Rycroft, a district of Rawmarsh. Here bombs were dropped very near buildings, and a portion of the boundary wall of the Rycroft school was torn away. Here also the Zeppelin was blindly engaged by an anti-aircraft gun, and the Zeppelin, dropping a bomb within fifty yards of the gun, turned completely on his tracks and made north-east, passing over Swinton Common, where a number of bombs were dropped in the open fields, and a torpedo was planted in a croft at the rear of the residence of Mr. F. L. Harrop, solicitor, clerk to Swinton Urban Council, in Fitzwilliam Street. This was apparently the raider’s parting shot.

The faint murmur of the engines died away, and the raid ended.

It was a singularly ineffective visit, considering the smallness of the area raided, and the large number of bombs employed. The raid took place on the same date September 25-a year later as the disastrous raid on the Last End of Sheffield. On Frodingham Steel Works.