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Description

In his story ‘How I made a nightly attack on London with my Zeppelin’, the schoolboy I Biberl writes about being in a troop in occupied Antwerp. The captain receives a message that his soldiers should attack London and orders them to prepare for departure. They fly to Dover with three Zeppelins and six aircraft. The student describes being violently bombarded. Despite this, the troop manages to drop numerous bombs on London. After a successful attack, the team returns to Antwerp, received by cheering crowds.

The essay is accompanied by a drawing of the air attack. In addition to the pupil’s handwritten text are corrections in red from his teacher. This document shows that the pupils were assigned to write patriotic essays on the war. New technologies in the conflict were a favourite topic.

In addition to posters, leaflets, postcards, newspapers and many other documents concerning the war, school essays and children’s drawings were also collected and sent to the Imperial Library in Vienna. This essay and drawing come from the Franz Josef Secondary Vocational School in Graz, Styria.

Transcript

  1. I. Biberl 2.a. K.F.J.B.Sch. (Kaiser Franz Joseph Burgerschule Graz)
    How I made a night attack on London with my Zeppelin.
    I was in Antwerp with my team in a house that was uninhabited. My airship was in a professionally constructed hangar at the entrance to the city. We received a report that the entire air fleet was to make an attack on London. I gave my team the order that the airship had to be ready to fly at 9 o'clock in the evening. At 9.30, three Zeppelins and six airplanes took off. We flew over the Strait of Calais directly towards Dover. There we came under heavy fire from the coastal batteries, but a lot of the bullets missed their target and our bombs silenced the guns. We dropped 39 bombs on Dover, which caused many fires and explosions. 30 people were killed and 89 badly wounded
  2. and windows were also destroyed. One bomb hit a gasometer which caused a terrible explosion. Then we flew over the Thames Estuary towards London. The city was deserted and in total darkness. We lit up the city with our headlights and dropped three bombs on a weapons factory which caused some big fires and people were also killed and wounded. With my Zeppelin I overtook an enemy airplane which had ascended and I shot at it with a machine gun until it crashed. But as we were being followed by headlights and were under heavy fire, we withdrew and landed at 8.45 in Antwerp where we then had breakfast. One of our airplanes was damaged, otherwise nothing happened. We were welcomed jubilantly by the soldiers. My team and I were nominated for honours.