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Author Topic: Gotha Raid on Margate, Ramsgate and Dover. 22th August 1917  (Read 2053 times)

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Re: Gotha Raid on Margate, Ramsgate and Dover. 22th August 1917
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 21:14:58 »
A more detailed account of the fighter attacks on the Gothas can be found @
As the CO of the nearby Cliffsend A-A guns wrote at the time "It is impossible to give an accurate record in prolonged action of this nature"  !
The link includes footage of one of the Gothas being recovered from the sea off Margate.


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Gotha Raid on Margate, Ramsgate and Dover. 22th August 1917
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 23:47:13 »
On the 18th August 1917 Kagohl 3 attempted to attack London but due to very strong winds and rain the formation was forced to turn back. Two Gothas were shot down over Holland by Dutch Anti-Aircraft fire while six or seven others crashed in Belgium.
With its strength reduced to fifteen available aircraft a two-pronged attack was planned on the Chatham/Sheerness/Southend area and Dover. This raid of 22nd August was further depleted when five aircraft, including that of Rudolf Kleine, the CO, were forced to turn back with engine troubles.

The ten remaining aircraft were spotted by the Kentish Knock lightship at 10.06hrs, allowing time for defending fighters to gain height. Two Gothas were shot down with one crashing into the sea at Walpole Bay, Margate. This was Gotha GIV 663/16. Two crew members were drowned, pilot Leutnant Werner Joschkowetz and observer Leutnant Walter Latowski. The sole survivor, gunner Unteroffizier Brund Schneider, was picked up by HMS Kestral.
The other Gotha crashed in flames at Bird's Avenue, Garlingle. The pilot, Unteroffizier Heinrich Schilot, observer Oberleutnant Echart Fulda and gunner Vizefeldwebel Eichelkamp, were all killed.
The Gotha that came down at sea can probably be shared jointly between Flt-Lieut Arthur F Brandon (Sopwith Camel B3834 RNAS Manston), Flt Cdr Gerald E Hervey (Sopwith Pup N6191, RNAS Dover), and Flt-Lieut Harold S Kerby (Pup 6440, RNAS Walmer). The Gotha that crashed at Garlingle was probably shot down by A-A fire.

With just eight aircraft remaining, the raid on the Thames and Medway was abandoned. Five bombs were dropped on the Cliftonville area of Margate, the bombs damaging properties in the area of Windsor Avenue, Cliftonville Avenue, St Mildred's Road and Approach Road. There were no casualties.
The bombers then turned south, dropping thirty four bombs, seven of which were duds, on Ramsgate, killing nine and injuring twenty-two.

     Although the loss of life was heavy in comparison with other raids, the wonder is that it was not greater still. Seven of the victims - six men and a little girl - who were sheltering in a store along the Military Road, were killed by one bomb which fell on the quayside. So violent was the concussion that one of the victims, though uninjured as far as one could see, had the life crushed out of him, and heavy granite mooring posts fixed in the foundations of the quay were snapped off like carrots. Those killed here were Alfred John Coomber, a special constable, aged 54, (Private) John Debling, 44, Henry Hope Minter, 63, George Baker, 71, Walter Clarence Spain, 57, Walter Charles Melhuish, 45, and Nellie Alice Fittall, a little girl aged 5 1/2, who died later in hospital.
     Chatham House and Townley Castle Schools, which were being used at the time as hospitals for Canadian wounded soldiers, were amongst the big buildings chosen as targets by the enemy. In the grounds of Townley Castle several tents and corrugated buildings used by the staff were reduced to debris. At Chatham House, where a more direct hit was achieved, a bomb fell on the main roof but did not explode until it reached a large room in the basement. Only a few minutes before the room was crowded, over 200 patients having gathered there to receive their morning mail, but they had swarmed into the grounds attracted by the sight of the burning aeroplane and the only victim was D. R. Creighton, a Canadian army butcher, who was killed while engaged in his morning's work. The building has since remained in its damaged state, although it was afterwards utilised as an internment camp for enemy officers, prisoners of war.

     St. Lawrence Collage, the Ramsgate County Schools and the Public Library also came in for attack but the bombs missed their object and, falling in the grounds, smashed only windows. The raiders also missed St. George's Church, where several people were sheltering in the crypt, but broke the stained-glass windows and severely damaged property in the vicinity. John Paul, another Canadian hospital patient, who was sheltering in a doorway outside the Thanet Advertiser offices at Church Hill, was terribly mutilated by a bomb that fell five yards away, and though the Canadian ambulance drove through the debris to remove him while the raid was still in progress, he died soon afterwards. At the newspaper office the staff was saved from injury by sheltering behind a big dump of paper, but all the windows were broken and the printing machinery disturbed.

     Another bomb dropped at the junction of High Street and Belmont Road shattering all the glass houses of Mr. J. W. Chapman, florist - an alderman of the borough - and damaging a large number of buildings, including the Salvation Army Citadel and the residence of Mr. J. S. G. Langley, a town councillor.
     At the Ramsgate Town railway station a bomb fell on the down line platform, shattered a great amount of glass and practically destroyed a large shed being used as a temporary canteen to supply the immediate wants of wounded soldiers arriving at the station for distribution to the hospitals of the district.

     Yet another bomb which found a billet in the business centre of the town, fell on the premises of Mr. J. Wright, draper, and exploded in the shop immediately beneath where the staff were sheltering. No one was injured and the plucky girl assistants, with other members of the staff, at once set about to remove the debris and put into practice the motto "Business as usual."

     Further missiles damaged a large number of houses in both the eastern and western parts of the town, bombs falling in and around Boundary Road, Alexandra Road, Percy Road, Hollicondane Road, Duncan Road, St. Mildred's Road, Picton Road and Princes Street. At Picton Road three little children of one household were injured, but the mother nursing a newly-born baby escaped unharmed.

From Thanet's Raid History pages 23-24.

Private J A Debling aged 40. 2nd/3rd Bn The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Buried Ramsgate Cemetery. Served under alias as J A Philpott.

Gunner John Paul. 5th Bde Canadian Field Artillery. Buried Ramsgate Cemetery.

     Photos of the bomb damage, together with those of the funeral of the German airmen, can be seen on pages 12-17 of Ramsgate during the Great War 1914-1918.

As the bombers approached Dover they came under fire from the A-A batteries. Two Gothas flew out to sea while the remaining six dropped nine bombs, three of which were duds. One bomb fell at the rear of the Admiral Harvey pub on Bridge Street, causing extensive damage and badly injuring 17 year old barmaid Lucy Wall, who died on the way to hospital.

Two bombs, one a dud, fell into the grounds of Dover College, causing much damage and killing two privates of the 32nd Training Reserve Battalion with another four military personnel injured.

Private William G Cobell, aged 18. Buried Tonbridge Cemetery.

Private C E M Ward, aged 18. Buried Caister Old Cemetery.

Mr and Mrs Phillips of 53 Folkestone Road had a lucky escape when a bomb fell through their home but failed to explode. Two bombs landed near the keep of Dover Castle, killing a horse and badly injuring a soldier. The final two bombs fell into Dover harbour.

A third Gotha was shot down off Dover by Flt Sub-Lieut E B Drake, flying Sopwith Camel B3844 from RNAS Manston. He had earlier attacked the Gothas over Margate and had followed them to Dover where he sent one down in flames. No bodies or wreckage were recovered from this aircraft.
The remaining Gothas came under further attack as they returned home by British fighters from the Dunkirt (France) area, with 2nd Lieut H R Power, flying as gunner in a Bristol Fighter of No. 48 Squadron RFC, killed by return fire.

With growing daytime losses and improved British defences, Kagohl 3 switched to night-time raids.


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