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Author Topic: Destroyer Bombardment of Ramsgate. 18 March 1917  (Read 3015 times)

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Destroyer Bombardment of Ramsgate. 18 March 1917
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2014, 23:51:21 »
Accustomed now to air raids by day and night, the inhabitants of Ramsgate came under shell fire from the sea for the first time shortly before one o'clock on the morning of Sunday, 18th March, 1917. Intense darkness again gave the raiding destroyers Dutch courage for their daring enterprise but, although the town was brilliantly illuminated  by star shells, the bombardment resulted in comparatively little damage to property. The destroyers afterwards turned their attention to sinking the SS. Greypoint, a collier off the East Cliff and the Redwald, a small armed drifter from the Ramsgate Naval Base. The rescue of the crews of these two vessels without a single casualty - though the Redwald was riddled with shells - forms part of Ramsgate's thrilling maritime record which in itself would fill an adventurous chapter in the history of the war.
The civilian population - with whose experiences the present account mainly deals - were under fire for four minutes, the majority of the shells falling in Ramsgate and about half a dozen in fields on the outskirts of Broadstairs and St. Peter's.

The bombardment brought to light a notable instance in which a presentiment of misfortune was the undoubted means of saving the lives of two people.
The story, for the authenticity of which we can fully vouch, was related by Mrs. Standen, the wife of  soldier then serving in the East, upon whose home at 43, Dumpton Park Road, a direct hit was achieved by one of the projectiles. Throughout the preceding week, Mrs. Standen had been haunted by a presentiment of impending disaster. So powerful did the feeling become that she confided in her next door neighbour, Mrs. Ashby, at whose house she was finally prevailed upon to spend the Saturday night.
Early in the evening Mrs. Standen , with her baby child, left her own home, impelled by the strange feeling which possessed her to take also a bag containing several of her most valuable possessions. When the bombardment took place a few hours later, a dropping shell burst on the roof of her house and the bed in which Mrs. Standen and her child would ordinarily have been sleeping was littered with shrapnel, slates, bricks and woodwork.

Another extraordinary escape in the same raid was that of Sydney Miller, a little boy aged nine, whose teddy bear was decapitated in bed beside him by a splinter of shell which penetrated the roof and ceiling at Indiana, Dane Crescent. Two empty houses in Anns Road were also damaged and other shells fell on land near the East Cliff Extension, where a policeman on duty saved himself by lying flat on the ground just in time to avoid a shower of shrapnel. At St. Peter's, too, a policeman had a near adventure, the nose of a shell which exploded in Beacon Road, landing at his feet.

From thanets raid history 1919. pages 11-12.
Photo of Mrs. Standen and her wrecked bedroom


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