“On this day in history” S/Lt Warneford shoots down a Zeppelin, 1917

On this day in history 7 June 1915, Sub-Lieutenant Reginald Warneford, a pilot serving with No.1 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service, attacked the German naval Zeppelin LZ 37 and consigned it to flames.

The Zeppelin’s explosion overturned Warneford’s aircraft and damaged his engine. He made a forced landing behind enemy lines, whereupon he quickly repaired his engine, then took off and returned to base.

Byron, Brian, b.1938; Flight Sub-Lieutenant Warneford Attacking the Zeppelin, 7 June 1915

For his actions on 7 June 1915, S/Lt Warneford was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation reads:

For most conspicuous bravery on the 7th June 1915, when he attacked and, single-handed, completely destroyed a Zeppelin in mid-air.

This brilliant achievement was accomplished after chasing the Zeppelin from the coast of Flanders to Ghent, where he succeeded in dropping his bombs on to it from a height of only one or two hundred feet. One of these bombs caused a terrific explosion which set the Zeppelin on fire from end to end, but at the same time overturned his Aeroplane and stopped the engine.

In spite of this he succeeded in landing safely in hostile country, and after 15 minutes started his engine and returned to his base without damage.

Warneford was also awarded the Légion d’honneur.

Sadly, on 17 June 1915, while conducting a test flight, Warneford’s aircraft suffered a catastrophic failure of its airframe and he was killed in the crash. He is buried at Brompton Cemetery in London.

PHOTEX: Sea Kings in Helmand

Two Royal Navy Sea Kings at Forward Operating Base Sangin in Afghanistan. Photographer: LA(PHOT) Nick Tyron.

Empire’s Shield – Royal Navy silent film collection from 1914-1918

EMPIRE’S SHIELD Royal Navy Main Title (IWM 551).

  • (Reel 1) The training of a naval cadet – Pangbourne, HMS Worcester, HMS Medway.
  • (Reel 2) Scenes from the building of a merchant vessel. Shots of a Standard Tanker being launched on the Clyde, female dockyard labour, dazzle painted merchant ships, etc.
  • (Reel 3) Various types of cargo unloaded at the East India Docks. Grimsby trawlers unloading and preparing for the next voyage. Medium shot groups of merchant officers and crews.
  • (Reel 4) Episode portraying the bombardment of Zeebrugge, 11 May, 1917 – a compilation using stockshots and some actuality material.
  • (Reel 5) Preparation and execution of a sweep by drifters. Close-ups of HM.TMS Atalanta II.
  • (Reel 6) Dramatic reconstruction of the clearance of a recently laid minefield – swept mines are destroyed by rifle and MG fire. Close-ups of the crew of Atalanta II.
  • (Reel 7) The Royal Naval Air Service. Probationary flight officers under training at Cranwell. Squadron ‘scrambles’ at Manston. Aerial views of south coast. Balloons on anti-submarine patrol.
  • (Reel 8) Construction and wheeling out of a Short 184. Seaplane bombed up. HMS Furious. Felixstowe flying boats. King George V visits the fleet – he meets the crews of various ships.
  • (Reel 9) HMS Vindictive and material relating to the Zeebrugge raid.
  • (Reel 10) Scenes onboard HMS Canada.
  • (Reel 11) First Battle Squadron sorties for live firing practice.