WWI AVIATION. The Great Air Raid on England, September 3rd, 1916. Souvenir Photographs of the Wrecked Zeppelin. Also Photograph of Lieut. William Leefe Robinson, V.C., Worcester Regiment & R.F.C. St. James's Press1916.
Oblong 8vo., original printed wrappers stapled as issued. A little light creasing to lower wrapper otherwise a very good copy of a fragile item.
First edition. Rare souvenir pamphlet celebrating the first destruction of a German airship on British soil: the SL 11, brought down by Lieutenant William Leefe Robinson in September 1916. Eleven full-page photographs, showing Robinson, English soldiers among the wreckage, 'Exclusive Photo of the Zeppelin just before bursting into flame', 'Exclusive photo of the Zeppelin falling to earth in a mass of flame'. One photograph is captioned 'Photo shows removing one of the girders. Our experts hope to reconstruct portions of the framework.' Copac records copies only at the British Library and The Imperial War Museum.
On the night of 2/3 September 1916 over Cuffley, Hertfordshire, Lieutenant Robinson, flying a converted B.E.2c night fighter No. 2693, sighted a German airship – one of 16 which had left bases in Germany for the largest airship raid of the war over England. The airship he encountered was the wooden-framed Schütte-Lanz SL 11, although at the time and for many years after, it was misidentified as the Zeppelin L 21. Robinson was in the air for several hours. After initially spotting the airship, he lost it in clouds. Later, he again made contact and attacked at an altitude of 11,500 ft (3,500 m), approaching from below and closing to within 500 ft (150 m) raking the airship from below with machine-gun fire of incendiary bullets. However, these two runs were unsuccessful. He then tried his third and last ammunition drum, and the airship burst into flames and crashed in a field behind the Plough Inn at Cuffley. Commander Hauptmann Wilhelm Schramm and his 15-man crew were killed.
Robinson was the first person to be awarded the VC for action in the UK.