Thursday, September 03, 2015

September 3rd, 1915

- Overnight the German army airship SL11 undertook a bombing raid of London, and though it did not reach the centre of the city, it dropped a series of bombs on Edmonton, Ponders End, and Enfield after midnight.  As it turned for home it was illuminated by a searchlight over the village of Cuffley in Hertfordshire shortly after 2am, which drew the attention of 2nd Lieutenant Leefe Robinson of 39 (Home Defence Squadron), flying a night patrol in a BE2c.  His aircraft was equipped with new incendiary bullets, and he emptied two drums making passes at the airship.  This having no effect, he closes to within fifty feet and matches speed with SL11, and concentrates the fire of a third drum underneath aft.  As he finishes the drum the rear of the airship bursts into flame, and dives out of the way to avoid the stricken dirigible, which crashes near Cuffley, killing all aboard.

It is the first time that a German airship has been brought down over Britain, and demonstrates the ability of incendiary bullets to ignite an airship's hydrogen gas.  Robinson's victory is a sensation, and tens of thousands of Londoners descent on Cuffley after daylight to see the ruins of SL11, including the charred bodies of its crew.  When Robinson himself motors over from his airfield to inspect his kill, he is mobbed by well-wishers, and given several 'prizes' from the airship, including an Iron Cross found among the debris and a gold watch believed to have belonged to SL11's captain.  For his accomplishment he is also awarded the Victoria Cross.

The wreck of the German airship SL11, shot down near Cuffley, Hertfordshire early this morning by 2nd Lieutenant Leefe Robinson.

- Under pressure from Germany and Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman government agrees today to cede to Bulgaria northern Thrace and the Maritsa valley should the Bulgarians enter the war.  The Bulgarian desire to acquire part of Ottoman Thrace was their only territorial claim against the Central Powers, and with the concession the Bulgarians will now achieve all of their expansionist aims by joining the Central Powers and attacking Serbia.

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