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Hajar | all galleries >> Art of Jan and Cora Gordon >> Ashley Smith > A snippet from the First World War
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A snippet from the First World War

Ashley wrote: “It would be easy to say that it seems like yesterday but that would not be true. Certain incidents remain clear as do some of one’s reactions, but it took a book on Zeppelins which I have read quite recently to bring back a clear memory of the Zeppelin raids on London, and, even so, the awakened memory is rather like the memory of some old film. I was working too hard for too many hours for over 3 years (when I just missed a proper nervous breakdown) to remember much except what was personal."

"The frightening thing about Zeppelins was that they hid behind cloud at a very considerable height and could cut off the engines and become a soundless, invisible menace which added to the feeling that it might be “you” just as well as anyone else. There is one amusing incident I can vividly recollect. Let it be remembered first that a Zep was, roughly speaking, about the size of Westminster Abbey. At Marlborough Road Bus Stop a motor bus pulled up. The driver sweating from fright told one and all that the sod had followed him right along the Finchley Road and then looking at the bonnet exclaimed “and look what the bugger’s done to my bonnet”. There was a hole about the size of a florin – the result of some of our ack.ack."

The first Zeppelin bombing raids on Britain took place on January 19th 1915 (Illustrated London News). On June 7th the first Zeppelin was destroyed from the air by Reginald Warneford who was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Doris's brother Cameron died in France, near Delville Wood in the Battle of the Somme, on Saturday 26th August 1916. He was a captain in the 12th Battalion Rifle Brigade and was killed by a German shell.

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