|Bomb damage at 69-73 Stretton Rd Croydon, at which 3|
people were killed: Eliza Walter (52), Daisy Walter (23) and
Sidney Walter (15). Photograph Home Office October 1915.
© IWM (HO 29)
But the public did not see it that way. These were innocent and defenceless women and children, slaughtered in their beds as they slept. Anti-German feeling ran high. These were “Baby Killers” and anybody with a Germanic-sounding name was a potential spy. Shops owned by these people were ransacked whilst the British Bobby stood passively by.
Croydon reacted by calling a public meeting, chaired by the Mayor, on 22 October 1915. Two motions were passed:
Mr William Joynson-Hicks M.P. proposed and Lord Willoughby de Broke seconded called for reprisal raids by British aircraft against German cities as the only effective means of defence against Zeppelin attacks.
The second motion was proposed by the Editor of the Globe, Mr Charles Parker, calling for an independent air arm to replace the separate Royal Flying Corps (Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service. In this, he was two years ahead of the official report to the Government of 1917 by General Smuts which, when accepted, led to the creation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918.