WW1. Ramsden in War Time - 1914-1918

From the Isabel Johnson Archive

Over the next few months you will see a number of new pages relating to the history of Ramsden Heath, Ramsden Bellhouse, Downham and Crays Hill. We are currently digitalising the photographic and documentary collection of Mrs Isabel Johnson.

Her collection consists of a number of separate files that we are copying and eventually publishing on the site

One such is the First World War.

The photographs show an Anti Aircraft Gun emplacement at Kents Hill in Ramsden in 1918 together with the soldiers used to fire it.

The article from The Southend Standard outlines the fear that local residents had of the new air raids carried out both by the Zepplin airships and the Gotha bombers that used to try and bomb London using the River Crouch as a navigational aid 

AA Gun Emplacement 1918

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  • Great article Geoff, I will try to get the picture of the bomber at the old aerodrome at STOW MARIES.

    By ALAN HIGLEY (13/07/2014)
  • Hi Geoff, I have carried out extensive research in the past on the incident referred to above, of the shooting down of the Gotha Bomber on the night of the 28th January 1918. The two pilots 2nd Lieutenant C.F. Banks and Capt. G. Hackwill were from Hainaut Farm flying Sopwith Camels with 44 Home Defence Squadron. George Hackwill was flying a specialised night fighter version of the Camel…known as the ‘Comic Camel’. The incident puts Wickford on the map for early aviation history. Because the destruction of this Gotha was the very first enemy aircraft to be bought down on British soil at night. Both pilots were mentioned in the House of Commons the following day…and both were decorated with the Military Cross….However in all my research I had only ever seen the crash location as being near Friern’s Farm off of London Road and Victoria Avenue. For years locals named the field ‘Gotha Field’….and I actually heard the term of phrase used in my life time by my late Grandmother….so to see in print the location as being Hospital Farm, London Road is a new one on me. There are a series of very good photographs of this incident, they show the wreckage of the Gotha in the field and in one photograph you can see the Farm…the crew of three were all killed in the crash, Leutnant Friedrich Von Thomsen (Navigator & Commandeur)..and Unteroffiziers Karl Ziegler (Pilot) Walther Heiden (Gunner)…all three were buried at the German War Cemetery at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire….the aircraft itself was Gotha G V/938/16 of Bogohl 3….

    By Trevor A. Williams (12/10/2013)

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