The First Blitz: Bombing London in the First World War
Published by Osprey Publishing on October 20, 2015
Ian Castle tells the story of the Zeppelin, Gotha, and Giant air raids on London in WW1. It is one of the best overviews in print, devoting a fair amount of attention to the raids’ effects on the populace but also covering well all the other aspects of the topic.
The maps are beautiful and very helpful in guiding the reader. This reviewer walked the route taken by Heinrich Mathy’s Zeppelin L13 on its devastating September 1915 raid and visited a number of other sites described in the text. The combination of Castle’s descriptions, maps, and Christa Hook’s paintings get the reader quite close to being on the sites themselves.
Osprey reprinted and updated two of Castle’s earlier works to create this single volume. London 1914-17: The Zeppelin Menace and London 1917-18: The Bomber Blitz. If you have neither or only one of them, however, this book is well worth reading. The use of footnotes would have improved this history, but that is a small complaint about this work that is otherwise exceptional.
Reviewed by Steve Suddaby, past president of WW1HA