Page:EB1922 - Volume 30.djvu/129

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AIRD, SIR JOHN AIR RAIDS

defence. Only in proportion as the air services become of a more stabilized nature, and anti-aircraft artillery improves, will the need for close cooperation diminish; it will never entirely disappear. The inability of the British navy to prevent short raids on the East Coast towns of Great Britain during the World War must not be forgotten; in like case, no country will ever be able to make good a defence against aerial raiding attack by aircraft alone. Consequently a nation must guard against exposure in the transition period to dangers which the air services or ground services of themselves alone cannot avert. Local ground defences will always be a necessity; and reliance on them will become greater owing to the many and devious paths of approach open to the enemy taken in conjunction with the reluctance of a nation to expend the huge sums necessary to provide aircraft to watch them all.

Every disease produces its own remedy; and in the end only the highest degree of excellence attainable by the arms of defence on the ground, acting independently of the units in the air, will procure the maximum of immunity for vulnerable points. (M. ST. L. S.)


AIRD, SIR JOHN, 1st. Bart (1833-1911), British engineer, was born in London Dec. 3 1833, the only child of John Aird, contractor for gas and water plant. He joined his father's business at 18, and was entrusted with the removal of the Crystal Palace buildings from Hyde Park and their reerection at Sydenham. He took part in many enterprises at home and abroad, such as the Hampton and Staines reservoirs, the waterworks of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Moscow, Bahia, Para, Calcutta, Simla and Berlin, and later (in the joint firm of Lucas & Aird, afterwards John Aird & Co.) the St. John's Wood railway, the Hull & Barnsley railway and docks, the W. Highland railway and the great Assuan dam across the Nile. He represented N. Paddington in Parliament as a Unionist from 1887 to 1005, and was its first mayor in 1900. In 1901 he was created a baronet. He made a fine collection of pictures by British painters, the illustrated catalogue to which was printed in 1884. He died at Beaconsfield, Bucks., Jan. 6 1911.


AIR FORCES: see Flying Corps.


AIR RAIDS. Air-raiding by airships, and still more by aeroplanes, was carried out during the World War in most of its geographical areas. German bombers were particularly active in France, and many towns near the Rhine suffered severely in later times from the aeroplanes of the British Independent Air Force. But nowhere can the history of the continual see-saw of success between raiding and air defence during the war be studied better than in the German raids carried out over England in general and against London in particular. Their story during 1914-5, 1916, 1917 and 1918 will here be narrated. -5. Directly Great Britain came into the war, the German High Command began to encourage their public with prophecies of the havoc the Zeppelins were about to work in England. Disillusionment came quickly. The experience of some of the smaller airships, attempting to work by day over Belgium and Lorraine, was by no means encouraging. Three were destroyed at once, and it became evident that for airships to fly low in daylight over enemy territory was to invite certain disaster. Hence it was that, although reconnaissances over the North Sea towards England were begun by airships, the first actual attacks were made by aeroplanes. In Dec. 1914 a couple of bombs were dropped in the sea off Dover, and three days later, on Dec. 24, the first German pro- jectile hit English soil. A small bomb fell near the Castle at Dover and broke some glass. Both these aeroplane attacks were in the nature of a surprise, and the defences, such as they were in those days, could take no action. On the following day a seaplane dropped a few bombs at Sheerness, without effect. This time both the ground and aerial defences took action; but British aeroplanes came in for most of the anti-aircraft fire from the ground. A few half-hearted attacks by aeroplanes and sea- planes made during 1915 were ineffective, except that two women were killed at Margate in September. The barren honours of the first attacks having fallen to the aeroplane, it was left to the lighter-than-air machines to cause the first serious damage and loss. In the evening of Jan. 19 1915, two naval airships approached the coast of the eastern counties between Yarmouth and Cromer. They separated and dropped bombs on both towns. One of the raiders went out to sea again at once; the other, handled with greater boldness, proceeded to King's Lynn, dropping bombs as it went. Four people were killed, including two women, and the material damage was estimated at 7,000 or 8,000. On April 14 the redoubtable Mathy, boldest and ablest of all German air commanders, began his activities over England. Commanding Lg, a new and improved type of naval airship, he made a considerable tour over the North. On this occasion he was not particularly successful, most of the bombs falling harmlessly in open country. At Walsall, however, he succeeded in singeing the hair of a woman who was washing a little girl by the fireside. The following night Lg returned, accompanied by two other ships, and caused some damage in Suffolk. The next four raids were on a similar scale. Bury St. Edmunds was bombed in moonlight from a height of some 3,000 ft., the airship trusting to patches of fog to escape. Southend, always a favourite " fortress " for attack, suffered twice, three people being killed. On May 17 Capt. Linnarz, very active about this time in com- mand of one of the military airships, while over Ramsgate des- cried the lights of London, more than 50 miles away, for the first time; but his orders forbade him to go inland, and this most tempting of targets had to be left for another occasion. The opportunity soon came. On the night of May 31 1915 Linnarz succeeded in bringing his ship over the metropolis, in reply, so the Germans alleged, for a bombardment of Ludwigsha- fen. This raid was carried out in full moonlight, a fact that shows how much there was to learn at the time in the art of air defence. The great size of the thickly populated area of London makes it an ideal target for promiscuous bombing. There was on this night only one raider, armed with an inefficient type of bomb, but 41 people were killed or injured, and more than 18,000 worth of damage was caused. The bombs all hit the eastern part of London north of the river; one of them fell into a tank at John Walker's whisky distillery in Whitechapel. Fortunately the tank contained water only. Further raids in Yorkshire and Kent on June 4 had little result, but two nights later Mathy again attacked the north, this time doing much more harm than before. He found Hull, came down low over it, and killed 24 people, besides wrecking some 40 houses. The people of Hull, exasperated by this ex- perience, broke out and smashed up a number of shops supposed to be German, but a better revenge was in store, for another airship, LZ37, that attempted to raid on the same night was totally destroyed by Lt. Warneford while it was returning home near Ghent, and fell in flames, one member only of the crew escaping alive. The first serious military damage in England was done by a single ship that raided the north on June 15. Some works in Yarrow were hit, 18 men killed and a number injured. In commenting on the first raid on London on May 31, the Press had to come to the conclusion that it was in the nature of a trial trip, and this view was justified by the series of nine organized raids that took place in the latter part of 1915. The series opened inauspiciously for the Germans, a Zeppelin engaged in bombing Dover being hit by a new 3-in. gun that had just been mounted there. She struggled across the Channel, losing gas rapidly, and fell into the sea near Ostend, where she was finished off by bombing aeroplanes.

London was reached on four nights during this period. Twice the results attained serious proportions. On Sept. 8 Mathy, now in command of L13, an improved type of Zeppelin, came in over the Wash, steered straight on London and bombed the City deliberately and with considerable success. Fires broke out in many places, and the damage done amounted to more than 500,000. Mathy also took part in the raid of Oct. 13, when his ship bombed Woolwich. On this occasion the casualties were 71 killed and 128 wounded. These losses were severe enough, but they were nothing to what the German public was led to