Zeppelin over Guildford, 13 October 1915

This undated newspaper cutting from an unnamed publication was found in a scrapbook compiled by RC Sherriff, the author of Journey’s End, the famous First World War play. The explosives factory referred to near St Martha’s is the Chilworth Gunpowder Factory. This suggests there was a belief that the bombing was deliberate rather than a tactical response to anti-aircraft fire from near the Chilworth Gunpowder Factory.

Zeppelin raid mentioned in an undated newspaper cutting from the RC Sherriff scrapbook (SHC ref 2332/9/12).

Zeppelin raid mentioned in an undated newspaper cutting from the RC Sherriff scrapbook
(SHC ref 2332/9/12).

Transcript

Another War Secret

Here is another curious little war secret, of which, as far as I know, no mention whatever has, up till now, been made public.

It concerns one of the earlier Zeppelin raids, when one of these huge power-driven gas-bags made an unexpected incursion into the wilds of Surrey.

Here, between Guildford and the pretty little village of Shere, are two isolated, conical hills, known as St. Catherine and St. Martha.

Each is crowned by a small chapel, one of which is partially ruined and the other intact, but both, seen from above, would look almost exactly alike.

A Lucky Miscalculation

The two hills on which these twin edifices stand, too, though separated from one another by some four or five miles of open country, are approximately the same height, and closely resemble each other as regards contour and general appearances.

Now, nestling under the shadow of St. Martha, is a big explosives factory. The neighbourhood of St. Catherine is bare of any such buildings. Yet, by a lucky miscalculation, it was on the latter site that the Zepp commander rained his bombs, instead of proceeding to what was undoubtedly his real objective—namely, St Matha.”

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One Response to “Zeppelin over Guildford, 13 October 1915”

  1. Ed Payne

    Very interesting article, thank you. My father was apprenticed to Drummond Bros in June 1915 and so must have been in Guildford on the night of the raid. I remember him telling me that St Marthas was camouflaged, presumably under netting, to reduce identification of the Chilworth gunpowder works.

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