Zeppelins strike fear in English towns and ports

Published by carolyn on Thu, 2019-05-02 00:52

Zeppelin over England -The German military successfully utilized these huge airships as bombers and scouts, striking fear in the population.

v. 5 no. 9    Oct. 4, 1916    Page 4


By J. H. Donnelly

(The following article, written by one who has actually witnessed the disastrous effect of the Zeppelin raids on England and the results of the last two Zeppelin raids upon London refute the assertions made by Mr. S. S. McClure that no damage was done by the huge German airships. Let us remember, however, that Mr. McClure has openly stated that he wanted to see the Allies win.)

I was struck by the strange account today of the invasion of England by thirteen Zeppelins last night, as usual, “few killed or injured and no military damage done.” The claim is invariably made that most innocents, women and children, in unfortified towns are the victims.

The truth is the Zeppelins have killed many soldiers and sailors in fortified towns and have destroyed hundreds of millions of property in ordnance shops, dock yards, munition factories and their constant and bold appearances, increasing in size and bomb throwing capacity, hold the greatest possible terror for the British people and their defensive forces.

I spent much time in England recently and made careful investigation of the effect of the Zeppelin raiders and am certain that the many overhead raids have caused enormous damage to military, naval stores, docks and buildings, all of which is well known to the men in service at the points attacked. There is genuine fear and terror in all arsenal and barracks towns. The disasters are hushed up and the men are forbidden to talk openly of the raids or to be interviewed, and newspapers which accurately described the scenes after a raid would be suppressed and the editors severely punished under the Defense of the Realm act.

The Zeppelin airships are bent solely on destroying fortified towns, naval bases or arsenals. The airship, reported destroyed this morning, was flying in the vicinity of the great Enfield rifle plant, which had been attacked four times by overhead airships since the war. I was told by a machinist, who had worked there, in London, in July, that considerable damage had been done the plant in the second raid.

There have been many raids you notice just east of London on the Thames. They are directed at the Royal Arsenal, one of the largest in the world, where 60,000 men are working making almost every class of military stores. There is the garrison of the Royal Artillery and a naval and military hospital. All night searchlights play in the skies watching for the airships, all of which have escaped, at least up to July last. Nearby are the Royal Military colleges, all being scarcely ten or twelve miles from the heart of London. I was told by men who had worked there and left through fear of the Zeppelins, that severe damage has been caused by bombs falling on plants, docks and boats, and that on several occasions steamers and ferryboats have been hit in the docks and river. A number of men were killed at the plants and on the grounds and many wounded are still in the military hospitals, the news being withheld from the public.

These Zeppelin raids have been numerous and require a large army watching the skies, very many aeroplanes and guns mounted on points of vantage. At night the towns are in semi-darkness thus inviting the numerous accidents, the wrecks of which one sees at daylight. The raiders fly all the way from the River Clyde in Scotland to Falmouth in the South of England. I visited Harwich and was able to note the fearful effect of Zeppelin raids at that town which is about sixty miles from London, and like most English sea coast landings now is a fortified town.

Airships have been seen by Irish fishermen over the North Channel moving in the direction of Glasglow. Attacks on “peaceful Surrey” have been aimed at the military camps of Aldershot. With 7,000 munition factories in active operation it would be difficult to find an important town in England now which could be held immune from the attacks of munition destroying airships. As soon as an arsenal or naval town or harbor is attacked, the locality is carefully guarded and the casualties and locations are always concealed. This course is perfectly correct so that the enemy may not be informed as to the location or extent of the destruction.

I visited the city of Hull and could see plainly some of the great damage wrought in that port, and I was told that at least 600 casualties have followed Zeppelin raids on Hull. This is a fortified town where a small army is working on transports and war machinery. Some workers trying to leave English munition towns for Belfast are often stopped and forced into the army.

v. 5 no. 10    Oct. 11, 1916     Page 8

Behind the Scenes at the Capital

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 4—It was quite easy to predict, as your correspondent did many months ago, that in spite of the repeated statements issuing from the vicinity of the White House to the contrary, in due course of time both parties would be breaking their necks, so to speak, to get the German American vote. It is probably true that President Wilson would like to be elected without this vote. He has intimated more or less often that he doesn't desire the vote of this element. In some way or other he has persistently thrown out hints that those opposing him were “professional” German Americans and disloyal to the country. This pose is freely acknowledged by his workers to have been a serious mistake, and the President's telegram to Jeremiah O'Leary, last week, in which his single-track mind again led him to refer to his political opponents as traitors to the country has not made his partisans here feel any the better. For the truth is that the Democratic leaders are hard at work in the Middle Western States to get the German voters if they can.

The Washington Post of recent date played up a letter of its political correspondent dated Chicago which was entirely devoted to the efforts the Democrats are making to revise their original intention of letting this vote go by default. The correspondent declares that the German vote is less bitter as to Wilson, and the contention that this is true is backed with the statement that German American business men who were originally for Hughes, not having been satisfied with Hughes' public declarations, are now turning to Wilson because of this, and because Wilson averted a national calamity when he pushed the eight-hour law through Congress and stopped the railroad strike.

* * * *

One step contemplated was an investigation and the prosecution of the bakers throughout the country for raising the price of bread. This increase in the price of bread is worrying the Democrats prodigiously. It isn't a comfortable feeling for a candidate for President to have it pointed out that under his administration the price of wheat has increased from $5.50 to $8.60. There was serious talk in Mr. [Atty. General] Gregory's special department of instituting a wide-spread action against the bakers for bringing the price of bread up to a notch which it has not reached since the Civil War. The majority of bakers in the country are Germans, and here was a fine opportunity, in Gregory's opinion, to get even and send a lot of them to jail. But the Department of Justice got a prompt hint to drop any such plan. It was too palpable that with wheat sixty-four per cent higher than in July 1914, it would raise a storm of indignation to send anybody to jail for increasing the price of a loaf of bread. For prices would be normal if we hadn't sent $261,658,000 worth of breadstuffs to the Allies during the first seven months of the present year, an increase of $171,143,000 over 1915. The first hint of any thought of prosecuting anybody brought a prompt response from all parts of the country, and the proposition was dropped like a hot poker. The will was there, but it wasn't expedient to go on with the plan.

* * * *

Then again, the State Department has been showing unusual activity in regard to Germany's submarine campaign. The rapidity with which the German U-boats are sinking vessels carrying contraband has stirred Lansing to the depths. Lansing is so pro-Ally that he joined in singing the “Marseillaise” while occupying a box on a public occasion, I am informed. It is intimated that he thought confidently that the Germans had lost the use of one of their most effective weapons against England when the President and he insisted on a modification of the practice of sinking belligerent ships indiscriminately. No one in the State Department, I understand, was prepared for the news that Germany could live up to her promises and yet sink 277 vessels of all kinds between June 1st and Sept 24th. All signs justify the conclusion that Mr. Lansing is having his ear close to the ground in the hope of hearing something that will warrant steps calculated to bring on a new crisis.

Mr. Lansing is the bad boy of the Administration. At least that is the view entertained by him of those wary watchers whose business it is to keep in office those whose bread and butter depends upon Wilson's reelection. They want Lansing to let good enough alone and not feed the sensational press with intimations that Germany is giving us further cause to strap on our spurs and brandish our sword. Many of them quite frankly declare that this Administration has done quite enough for England and it is about time to assert a little American independence after the manner of Andrew Jackson. A little of Jackson's spirit in dealing with England would be prodigiously popular just now with a lot of people who are by no means pro-German.

* * * *

There is proof that this so-called anti-German feeling is only skin deep in circles where it is supposed to be rampant. At every hand an ardent pro-German turns up in the most unexpected manner. One of these is Major Hugh Gordon, a prominent Southern gentleman, who owns a great deal of property south of the Mason and Dixon Line. Major Gordon is the son of the well-known Confederate general and United States Senator Gordon. He has lived in Germany and loves the German people, and has the record of being fearless in combating the prejudice of his friends wherever he meets them in social circles. He declares that the German cause is entirely misunderstood by Americans generally and gallantly defends the Germans against the many falsehoods that have been put into circulation regarding their civilization.—F. F. S.

Page 11


WHILE the German Chancellor was explaining to the German Diet the treachery of Roumania, the troops of the Germanic Allies were already visiting retribution upon that country. At Hermannstadt the entire First Roumainian army was cut off and dispersed into the wilds of the mountains. The Chancellor's prophecy as to the fate of Roumania was being fulfilled literally before the echo of his words had died away. We take the defeat of the Roumanians, the fulfillment of part of his prophecy as an omen that all his predictions of a German victory will come true. The Chancellor's faith is based not merely upon the matchless achievements of Germany and her Allies on land and sea, but on his knowledge of the German people. “What,” he asks, “gives us force to stand in this struggle against almost the entire world, if not love for the land of our fathers which unites all its sons with an unseverable bond—if not the uncorrupted force of arms and hearts which lives at the rock bottom of our national life and from which new generations rise?”

We look in vain in his speech for idle boasts and gratuitous insults, such as characterize the speeches of Briand and Lloyd-George. The chancellor does not shrink from facing the truth. If ever Bethmann-Hollweg advocated an understanding with Great Britain, he harbors no such illusions today. He clearly visualizes the aims of Great Britain, the Vampire of the Continent, as she has been christened by Reventlow.

“What Great Britain wants to make of Germany is shown by the British without any possibility of doubt. They want to destroy our national life. The Germany that England wishes to lay at her feet is a country without military defense, a country crushed economically, boycotted by the entire world, and sentenced to lasting economic infirmity.

“When this German competition shall have been eliminated, when France has lost all her blood, when all her allies of war must toil as England's slave in the financial life, when the neutral world of Europe must follow each English command and submit to every British blacklist, then will England build on devastated Germany her dream of English world dominion.”

The Chancellor realizes that any statesman who would not use every effective and available weapon against such a foe “deserves to be hanged.” The Chancellor, however, by no means advocates what his enemies are pleased to call “Frightfulness.” Unlike Great Britain, Germany is still guided by the tenets of international law. She still is willing not to resort to extreme measures of retaliation. “There will be no change in the conduct of submarine warfare”—so Sayville officially tells us.

Although Great Britain hits foul, Germany is still willing to abide by the rules of the game. But within these rules she is giving Great Britain one knock-out blow after the other. If it were not for the aid of American ammunition, Great Britain would have collapsed. As a neutral statesman, quoted in the New York American, remarks: “Let America pronounce an embargo on food and arms for three weeks, and Great Britain will be forced to make peace.” We have given up the hope that moral or humanitarian considerations will induce us to take such a step. But the six-cent loaf of bread will weigh heavily in the balance. Even if blood money swells the pockets of our financiers, we will not permit our children to go hungry. We have sacrificed the lives of our kinsmen to Moloch, shall we also sacrifice our own flesh and blood?—G. S. V.


Artistis rendition of the English fishing trawler "King Stephen of Grimsby" refusing to rescue the crew of the stricken Zeppelin L-19, leaving them to drown in the North Sea.

v. 5 no. 11     Oct. 18, 1916    Page 7


One of the most shocking incidents of the war was the drowning of the crew of the unfortunate Zeppelin L-19. Owning to an accident to her motor this great airship was compelled to descend while sailing above the North Sea. For a considerable time the wreck floated on the waves, her helpless crew huddled on top and signaling for aid. After some time the English fishing steamer King Stephen of Grimsby caught sight of the crippled Zeppelin and approached within speaking distance of her. It would have been an easy task for the British boat to save the crew of the L-19. But true to British traditions the King Stephen of Grimsby steamed away, leaving Captain Loewe and his men to perish miserably in the sea.

Now a Swedish newspaper, the Gotlands Allehanda, has published the last messages of the heroes who lost their lives on the L-19. These messages were found in a bottle which was recently washed ashore on the island of Tjorn. The pathos of these last words must move even the most heartless.

Capt. Loewe's card to Frau Loewe in Lubeck contained the following: “2.2.16—12 m. The last hour on the platform with my men. About three degrees east. I am thinking deeply of you. Pardon me all, educate our children. Yours (unreadable Christian name).”

Letter to Pastor Braskhof in Hannover: “We have been floating around two days and two nights. No help. I send thee greetings. An English steamer refused to assist us.”

Letter to Frau Flade, of Lenefeld, sent by Flade, machinist: “My dearly beloved wife and children: The moment has arrived when also I must give my life in this war. I am drifting on the ocean on the wreckage of our airship. Receive herewith the last greeting from (Unreadable Christian name).”

Letter to Herr Krude in Altona: “Since two days we are drifting on the North Sea. Soon all will be over. I thank you once more for your kindness. Cordial greetings. Yours, Otto.”

Letter to Frau Bauman, at Sambach: “A last greeting from your faithful George.”

Card to Frau Uhle, of Wilhelmshaven: “North Sea, 2.2.16. My dear little wife: After having struggled thirty hours, our last moment has come. We have just had prayer together and so I deliver myself, you and Walter to the care of God. Good luck to you. Your father.”

Letter to Frau Busch in Newfeld: “Dearest wife, my dear Albin: God's will is that we shall not see each other again. Dearest wife, I believe our dear parents will take care of you. We shall meet in heaven. Once more, heartfelt greetings to you all. Andreas.”

Lastly, three letters signed Hans: “My beloved wife and mother, mother-in-law, father-in-law and sisters-in-law: 1.2.16—11p.m. All motors are out of order. Our last hour has come. Farewell, dear wife, be a good child to your mother, asks your old Hans.”

“My dear wife and mother: It is now 11 p.m., 2.2.16. Still we are all alive but have nothing to eat. This morning an English fishing steamer was here but refused to save us. Its name was King Stephen of Grimsby. The wreckage is sinking, the storm is increasing. Always think of you. Yours, Hans.”

“It is now half-past eleven, we have had prayer together and have bid each other farewell. Yours, Hans.”


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