Monday, 12 March 2018

Air Raid Defences in and around Croydon: Timeline

4 August 1914: Britain declares war on Germany

24 August 1914: Special Constables start guarding “vulnerable points” including water, gas and electricity works; telephone exchange; railway bridges (later gradually reduced to release manpower for air raid duties)

19 January 1915: first time Special Constabulary alerted for air raid

13 October 1915: raid by Zeppelin L14 Kapitanleutnant Bocher. Bombed Croydon. 9 killed, 15 injured


22 October 1915: Mayor held public meeting. Called for reprisal raids on Germany and formation of unified Air Force (to merge Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force)

13 December 1915: land acquired at New Barn Farm, Beddington, for an emergency night landing strip to be available for home defence fighters flying from Hyde Park and other central London locations – one of a ring around the outskirts of London

31 January 1916: Zeppelin night raid on London. Two B.E. 2c aircraft from 17 Squadron Beddington sent to patrol

31 January 1916: first Observation Post brought into use

31 March 1916: Zeppelin night raid on London. Two B.E. 2c from 19 Squadron Beddington sent to patrol. One crashes near airfield

2 April 1916: Zeppelin night raid on London. One B.E. 2c from 19 Squadron Beddington sent to patrol

23 September 1916: L31 Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Mathy bombed Purley, Mitcham and Streatham. Observed from Croydon

27 November 1916 Water Tower Observation Post linked to Metropolitan Observation Service and manned each night from 7pm to midnight

13 June 1917: Daylight raid on London by Gotha bombers. Two Sopwith Pups from 40 Squadron
Crashed Sopwith Pub at Beddington / Croydon (H M Martin)
patrol

17 June 1917: Water Tower Observation Post introduced 24-hour manning

4 July 1917: Daylight raid on east coast by Gotha bombers.  Two Sopwith Pups from 40 Squadron patrol

7 July 1917: daylight raid on London by Gotha bombers. Three Sopwith Pups from 40 Squadron patrol

12 August 1917: daylight raid on Southend by Gotha bombers. Five Sopwith Pups from 40 Squadron patrol

22 August 1917: daylight raid on Margate, Ramsgate and Dover by Gothas. Four Sopwith Pups from 40 Squadron patrol

17 November 1917: Water Tower started permanent weather reports to Meteorological Office

21 September 1917: man seen to fall from ropes attached to escaped “curtain” barrage balloon

11 November 1918: Armistice

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