AN EXPLOSION WOKE RESIDENTS in the early hours of 22nd August 1917. Windows rattled, rafters creaked and the ground shook. Hedon was the victim of a raid by a German aerial war machine – a Zeppelin!

On Sunday 22 August 2021, it is the 104th anniversary of the Hedon Zeppelin Attack – the first bombing raid on Hedon from the air! It was the first time that Hedon had experienced such a terrifying attack.  The Zeppelin had been undetected in the night and it struck with no warning at about 1 am in the morning on 22nd August 1917.

Apparently, five high explosive bombs were dropped over Hedon. Fortunately, there were no serious casualties, although one man was slightly injured by the bomb in Baxtergate. However, the bombing completely destroyed the Primitive Methodist Chapel that had stood on Baxtergate since 1873.

An emergency meeting of the Chapel Trustees was called on the day of the bombing on 22 August. The minutes’ record “The bomb fell on the harmonium which was standing just in front of the desk, the harmonium being blown to pieces…. The premises were left in order, the gas having been turned off about 9.30. The Chapel clock had stopped at one o’clock in the morning of the 22nd August, leading one to believe that was the time when the bomb exploded.”

Hedon Zeppelin Attack on Primitive Methodist Church.
This photograph of the ruins was taken about a week after the raid (from the collection of Bryan Richardson).

The Baxtergate building rubble was eventually cleared and the search for a bigger site resulted in the present Hedon Methodist Church being built on Hull Road in 1923.

Hedon Zeppelin Attack log book.
Hedon Museum has the Hedon Board School log book which records the impacts of the bombing on school attendance.

The attack was part of a series of raids over the Midlands and the North East coast on the 21st and 22nd August 1917. Previously, there had been sightings over Hedon of Zeppelins making their way to bomb Hull, but this was the first time the town itself had experienced an attack.

There were over fifty Zeppelin raids on Britain during the Great War  (1914-18), claiming the lives of more than 500 people.

Hedon Zeppelin Attack model.
Model Zeppelin at Hedon Museum.

With kind thanks to Mr. Peter Harrison for information relating to the attack.

There is an excellent article about the Zeppelin raid, over on the Hedon Town Council website. See Zeppelin Attack!

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