Zeppelins over Antwerp




from a French 'Image d'Epinal' : a somewhat exaggerated view


Antwerp has the dubious distinction of being the first city to suffer aerial bombardment. On the night of 25th August 1914, a Zeppelin dropped several bombs over the city. Several inhabitants were killed and injured and minor damage was inflicted on several houses.

It is needless to say that the bombing was received with outrage and dismay by the inhabitants of Antwerp and that they were hardly pleased at being on the receiving end of this military operation, novel though it may be.

There is a very good first hand account written by an American journalist. See the account by E. Alexander Powell in 'Fighting in Flanders 2'.

Newspapers and magazines published accounts and photos of the damage inflicted. Since Zeppelins flying over a city in night-time are difficult to photograph, several illustrations were commissioned by news magazines. These were published in various countries. The illustrations while being fanciful renditions, are however very correct when portraying landmarks, buildings and streets of Antwerp. No doubt the artists worked from existing stock photographs of the city.



left : from a postcard
right : from a British newsmagazine ('The Sphere')



back to Siege of Antwerp