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Zeppelin Onslaught (Hardback)

The Forgotten Blitz 1914 - 1915

Military > Frontline Books WWI > By Year > 1914 WWI > By Year > 1915

By Ian Castle
Frontline Books
Pages: 384
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781848324336
Published: 14th March 2018



History Hit

Listen to aviation historian and author Ian Castle's appearance on Dan Snow's History Hit podcast: The First Blitz with Ian Castle. Click here to download the episode via Acast.

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At the outbreak of the First World War, the United Kingdom had no aerial defence capability worthy of the name. When the war began Britain had just thirty guns to defend the entire country, with all but five of these considered ‘of dubious value’. So when raiding German aircraft finally appeared over Britain the response was negligible and totally ineffective. Of Britain’s fledgling air forces, the Royal Flying Corps had accompanied the British Expeditionary Force into Europe leaving the Royal Naval Air Service to defend the country as best it could. That task was not an easy one. Airships only appeared at night and for British pilots night-flying was in its infancy.

From the first raid in December 1914, aerial attacks gradually increased through 1915, culminating in highly damaging assaults on London in September and October. London, however, was not the only recipient of German bombs, with counties from Northumberland to Kent also experiencing the indiscriminate death and destruction found in this new theatre of war – the Home Front.

The British population was initially left exposed and largely undefended when the previously unimagined horror of bombs falling from the sky began, killing children in their beds and destroying homes. The face of war had changed forever. Those raids on London in the autumn of 1915 finally forced the government to pursue a more effective defence against air attack.

The German air campaign against the United Kingdom was the first sustained strategic aerial bombing campaign in history. Yet it has become the forgotten Blitz. Those first bombing raids in 1915 claimed over 700 casualties. Relying heavily on first-hand accounts, Ian Castle tells their story, along with that of the raiders, and those who fought desperately to stop them in the opening year of Britain’s forgotten Blitz.

A very well researched book providing, in vivid details, the damage caused by the Zeppelin raids on London, East Anglia, Yorkshire and Northumberland and their effect on Britain's civilian population in the early days of the war which will be a revelation to many readers.

Newsletter of the Western Front Association, Essex Branch - July 2021

Article: 'Remembering the Forgotten Blitz' as featured by

Norwich Evening News, 9th November 2019 – words by Mike Hicks

Ian Castle takes part in the 'Your Projects' feature

WDYTYA? Magazine, April 2019

The author has produced a much-needed chronicle of a largely underrepresented aspect of the First World War. The book's strength is in crafting fine researched daily events and accounts from opposing sides, both in the air and on the ground, into a cohesive narrative of the new technological dawn that would shape how all later military conflicts would be fought.

Military History Monthly, February 2019 - reviewed by Gary Rossin

This new work provides a quite unique view of the development of aerial bombardment and defence - Most Highly Recommended

Read the full review here


Author Castle provides a fascinating account of these strikes and the belated British efforts to counter them. It is well told and illustrated with two eight-page sections of black and white photographs.

Aeroplane Monthly, January 2019

A recognition of human tragedies long overdue.

It is impossible in a short review to cover adequately all the aspects of the campaign detailed in this superb and important book which I can only recommend without reservation.

Stand To! Journal of the Western Front Association

I am aware of a blue plaque on a building somewhere in the town where I live proclaiming that this was the site of the first Zeppelin bomb drop during the first world war. I don't know if the claim is genuine, but Ian's book is a well-researched and readable account mainly of the first blitz, and the daage inflicted by zeppelin raids throughout Britain in 1914-1915. Superb historical treatise.

Books Monthly

As featured by

Antiques Diary, July-August 2018

Due to the level and depth of its research... this volume could potentially become an authority on its subject. It is well written and is likely to appeal to Military and Social Historians. Aviation Historians with an interest in German airship operations during World War I are also likely to find it of interest, as are readers with an interest in the home-based operations of the Royal Air Force and Royal Naval Air Service during that conflict. Readers with a more general interest in early aviation may find the limited number of aviation-related photographs of interest. Aeromodellers might also find them useful.

NZ Crown Mines

As featured by

essence, June 2018

With high production standards and sections of photos on glossy paper it's a gripping guide.

The Armourer, July 2018

It considers the air raids against Britain in 1915 in a level of detail not seen in previous works, offering the reader an in-depth examination of not only the Zeppelins themselves but also of Britain's fledgling aerial defence system, which at the outbreak of the war was virtually non-existent.

WDYTYA?, June 2018 – reviewed by Mark Simner

As featured by

24seven Lifestyle Magazine, May 2018

Article:The horrors of zeppelin attacks are recounted in historian's book by Thomas Johnson as featured by

Dorking Advertiser, 12th April 2018

Click here to view author interview as featured by

Get Surrey, 6th April 2018

Article: 'Ramsgate blitz features in new Great War book' by Kathy Bailes as featured by

The Isle of Thanet News, 24th March 2018

About Ian Castle

IAN CASTLE began writing military history over thirty years ago, but for the last fifteen years has focused on Germany’s First World War air raids against Britain. Initially exploring the London raids, his later research extended to include attacks across the whole country. In addition to writing books, Ian regularly contributes articles to magazines and journals and has been involved in a number of television documentaries detailing this early air campaign. Besides giving regular talks on the subject, Ian has also built an extensive website highlighting these early air raids. He lived in London for over fifty years but has more recently relocated to the Surrey Hills, where he lives with his partner Nicola. 

Perfect Partner

Zeppelin Inferno The Forgotten Blitz 1916 (Hardback)

At the beginning of 1916, as the world entered the second full year of global conflict, the cities, towns and villages of Britain continued to lay vulnerable to aerial bombardment. Throughout that period German Zeppelin airships and seaplanes had come and gone at will, their most testing opposition provided by the British weather as the country’s embryonic defences struggled to come to terms with this first ever assault from the air. Britain’s civilians were now standing on the frontline — the Home Front — like the soldiers who had marched off to war. But early in 1916 responsibility for…

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