Great Yarmouth marks Zeppelin bombing with blue plaque

Scene of 1915 bombing in St Peter's Plain, Great Yarmouth The Zeppelin dropped 10 bombs in a north to south run across Great Yarmouth

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A blue plaque has been unveiled in a Norfolk town to mark it as one of the first places in England to suffer aerial bombardment in World War I.

St Peter's Plain, Great Yarmouth, was bombed by a German naval Zeppelin on 19 January, 1915, killing spinster Martha Taylor and shoemaker Samuel Smith.

Although the war lasted until 1918, there were no further civilian casualties in the seaside town.

The plaque was unveiled by Yarmouth mayor Barry Coleman on Thursday.

Retired naval commander Simon Askins worked with the Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society (GYLHAS) to research the events of 1915 and said the bombs fell on the town during the night.

"It's believed that two of them [Zeppelins] set off from their German base to bomb Humberside and the docks, but they couldn't find it in the dark - so one went to King's Lynn and the other to Yarmouth," he said.

"The L3 flying over Yarmouth dropped 10 bombs across the town and a couple of them hit the area of St Peter Plain and killed a couple of residents."

Records show the Zeppelin was piloted by Captain Lieutenant Hans Fritz.

Martha Taylor (left) and Samuel Smith Martha Taylor and Samuel Smith were killed in the Zeppelin bombing raid

"One bomb fell in St Peter Plain and killed Ms Taylor, the other caused splinters to decapitate poor Mr Smith. They are certainly some of the very first casualties caused by aerial bombardment in Britain," said Mr Askins.

The local history society also placed a plaque at the Salvation Army building near the Central Library.

It marks the residence of a notable son of Yarmouth, Robert Warmington (1740-1812), who lived in Row 1804. He was the town's mayor in 1780 and 1808 and agent to Lord Nelson.

The new plaques are part of an ongoing programme by GYLHAS to showcase the town's history to local residents and visitors.

"We're trying to commemorate famous local people, those who've made a contribution to the town's history and remind people of the buildings or sites where they used to exist," said GYLHAS vice chairman Margaret Gooch.

"We want Yarmouth to make the most of its heritage in the hope of attracting more visitors to the town and therefore bringing new money into the local economy."

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