First Bomb Dropped on English Soil
In a war of grinding horror the raid on Dover on December 24 1914, the first time a bomb was dropped from the air on England, was contrastingly ridiculous and ineffective. Indeed calling it a raid is over-dignifying the event.
At around 11 in the morning a single German Taube airplane, flown by Lt. Von Prondzynski, crossed the Channel and arrived over Dover . The pilot pulled a bomb from the cockpit floor, and dangling it over the side of his machine apparently aimed it at Dover Castle , a pretty sizeable target. He missed by 400 yards. Instead of hitting the symbolic castle guarding the coast the bomb landed on a kitchen garden on Leyburne Road. The explosion excavated a crater about four feet deep in the plot, and broke a few windows of the nearby rectory of St James’ Church. And it did claim one casualty, the rectory’s gardener Mr Banks, who had been pruning a tree and was knocked to the ground by the blast. Banks was only bruised and battered, and lived to tell the tale, as did the German pilot who veered off back to Flanders and safety.
In a neat piece of historical symmetry Dover would be the last British town to suffer an air raid just before the Armistice in November 1918 .
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