This film is part of Free

'Let Them all Come!' First Cinema Pictures (Taken Soon after Dawn) Of London's Second Zeppelin Brought down in Essex

The scorched remains of a downed “baby-killer” draws half of London to Snail’s Hall Farm near Billericay

Non-Fiction 1916 2 mins Silent


After 12 months of Zeppelin raids over London, thousands came to witness the scorched remains of one of these balloon behemoths at Great Burstead near Billericay, Essex. After an overnight raid on the night of 23rd September 1916, not one but two airships were brought down. L32 was caught first by ground fire and then pursued with incendiary fire by Lieutenant Sowrey of the Royal Flying Corps. None of the 22-man crew survived.

The sight of the explosion drew crowds from London who arrived within hours, as did the enterprising newsreel crew who filmed this item. Word spread quickly and by dawn the army cordon seen here was required to keep the souvenir-hunting crowds at bay. On the same night, Zeppelin L33 came down with less violence slightly further afield at Little Wigborough. The crew survived and were arrested after trying to the burn their airship, which proved of great interest to British engineers.