Great Yarmouth History

Royal Flying Corps up to 1916

After the formation of the Royal Flying Corps in 1912 it was decided that South Denes would be home to an R.F.C. airfield to protect the East Coast from Cromer to Southwold. However, the aircraft from this airfield played no part in the Naval action on 3rd November 1914 as described above.

Within a few months of this attack, the fledgling air force was again proved to be ineffective against a German onslaught. On the 19th January 1915, Great Yarmouth was the site of the first ever aerial attack on the UK in the form of a Zeppelin airship, only this time the inhabitants were not so lucky, as two people were killed. The bombs were dropped, more or less a straight line as one might expect from an airship, from Albermerle Street to South Denes. The area which received most damage was around St Peters Plain. The Royal Flying Corps were unable to counter this raid as their aircraft were not capable of reaching the cruising height of a Zeppelin airship. Since the heaviest armament on an aircraft at this time was the standard army issue rifle the previous criticism is rendered superfluous.

Royal Flying Corps 1916 onwards

Nearly two years later on 27th November 1916, the Zeppelin L21 attacked Great Yarmouth but the R.F.C. now had the wherewithall to make the Germans pay dearly for any such excursions. Now armed with incendiary darts and machine guns the R.F.C. attacked the L21 which eventually came down in flames in the sea off Lowestoft. To prove this was no fluke when Zeppelin L70 flew into the area (5th August 1918) it was shot down 40 miles NE of Great Yarmouth. An explosive bullet doing for them. For their gallant action the R.F.C. airmen, Major Cadbury (pilot) and Captain Leckie (co-pilot) were both awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1918 the R.F.C. became the Royal Air Force resulting in the demise of the South Denes Airfield, which by 1920 was no more.