ID DIS2016_ZEP

TitleZeppelin L33 at Little Wigborough.
AbstractExcitement came to the small village of Little Wigborough on the night of 24 September 1916, with the crash of the German Zeppelin airship L33. The airship had been on a bombing raid over London and was returning to Germany. She was, however, hit by gunfire over the East End and she then struggled to stay aloft. Losing height over Mersea Island, L33 came to earth straddling the lane to Little Wigborough Church and only a few yards from New Hall Cottages.

The crew all escaped from the airship and the German Captain, Aloys Bocker, went to the cottages to warn them that he was about to set the airship on fire. They were somewhat terrified and did not answer the door - but occupants and cottages all survived the resulting inferno.
Captain Bocker then marched his crew along the lane - until they were met by Special Constable Edgar Nicholas. The German crew surrendered. Edgar Nichols was soon joined by Special Constable Elijah Trailer and then by Police Sergeant Ernest Edwards who was on leave, staying in the lane. The crew were marched to Peldon Post Office and then on to Mersea Island. The Military met them at the Strood and took over.

The Rev Pierrepont Edwards, vicar of West Mersea, met the party and accompanied them to Mersea High Street where they met local parishioners. The Vicar curbed threats of a lynching and the injured German received further treatment at West Mersea Post Office (No 11 High Street). The party then marched to the Artillery Camp between Beach Road and Lower Kingsland Road (where there were then no houses). As the tented camp was not sufficiently secure to hold prisoners, the vicar offered the Church Hall in High Street North. The injured crewman slept at the Vicarage next door while the rest were kept in the hall, although the airship commander would not sleep with his crew.

The one fatality of the night was Alfred Wright from Grove Farm, further down the lane in Little Wigborough. He saw what was happening and mounted his motorcycle to go to Mersea to alert the military. Sadly, he never reached there - he collided with a car and was badly injured. He died 7 weeks later and is buried in Little Wigborough church yard.

The site of the wrecked Zeppelin soon became very popular, with large numbers of visitors. The early visitors found it easy to get souvenirs but the site was soon guarded by the military and later visitors had to content themselves with buying mementoes fashioned from pieces of metal, most of which came from the Zeppelin.

Local resident Fred Mallett was playing with his brother when they found papers in a ditch. His father dried them in front of the fire and the papers were sent up to the authorities. They turned out to be from the log book of the German airship.

Another local event of that night was the birth of a baby girl at Abbots Hall Cottages, Wigborough. She was delivered by Doctor Salter of Tolleshunt Darcy and at his suggestion was christened Zeppelina.

The Museum has a model of L33, built by John Milgate and his team for the 2016 Centenary of the Zeppelin coming to earth. September 2016 the model had a cruise round Essex - to Stow Maries Aerodrome and then to Zepfest - the celebration put on in Little Wigborough to commemorate the event.

Zeppelin L33 at Little Wigborough. She was large - 650 feet (198m) long, 90 feet (27.7m) high.

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The End of Zeppelin L33 by Douglas Gurton

SourceMersea Museum
IDDIS2016_ZEP
Related Images:
 Gondola of Zeppelin brought down off the Essex Coast, from which bombs were dropped on London.
 Stereo slide produced by Realistic Travels By Royal Command to their Imperial Majesties King George V and Queen Mary. To see the format of the stereo photograph, see <a href=mmphoto.php?typ=ID&hit=1&tot=1&ba=cke&rhit=1&bid=ZEP_005 ID=1>ZEP_005 </a>
 Zeppelin L33 which came down at Little Wigborough.  ZEP_003
ImageID:   ZEP_003
Title: Gondola of Zeppelin brought down off the Essex Coast, from which bombs were dropped on London.
Stereo slide produced by Realistic Travels "By Royal Command to their Imperial Majesties King George V and Queen Mary. To see the format of the stereo photograph, see ZEP_005
Zeppelin L33 which came down at Little Wigborough.
Date:c25 September 1916
Source:Brian Jay Collection
 The Zeppelin at Little Wigborough - some of the Special Constables involved in arresting the German crew.
 From left, Olive Dansie (daughter of Edgar Dansie and Grace White), one of the two girls is Marjorie Hyam (later Costello), the boys unknown, then the three Special Constables; Charlie King who lived opposite the Plough in Peldon, Edgar Nicholas who accepted the surrender of the German crew, and Clem Hyam.
 In the background is Sam White's Peldon shop, which was managed by Edgar Dansie, standing far right.
 Caption by Alan Smith. The Photograph was originally from Miss M. Cock.  ALS_ZEP_001
ImageID:   ALS_ZEP_001
Title: The Zeppelin at Little Wigborough - some of the Special Constables involved in arresting the German crew.
From left, Olive Dansie (daughter of Edgar Dansie and Grace White), one of the two girls is Marjorie Hyam (later Costello), the boys unknown, then the three Special Constables; Charlie King who lived opposite the Plough in Peldon, Edgar Nicholas who accepted the surrender of the German crew, and Clem Hyam.
In the background is Sam White's Peldon shop, which was managed by Edgar Dansie, standing far right.
Caption by Alan Smith. The Photograph was originally from Miss M. Cock.
Date:cOctober 1916
Source:Mersea Museum / Alan Smith Collection