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Person Details
Florence Smith was born in Newark as Florence Mills to John Horace Mills and his wife Marion in the first quarter of 1890. In 1891 and 1901 she was living with parents and siblings – Edith Sarah, Horace Arthur and William Edward at Kirklington Road Southwell. Her father was listed as a basket and willow merchant. By 1911 they lived at Farndon Road Newark. In the first quarter of 1914 she married Frank William Smith who had been born in West Bridgford in 1888. In 1891 he lived at Radcliffe upon Trent. In 1901 he was at grammar school in Newark and in 1911 lived at 69 Charles Street Newark. They moved to live at Westminster Drive, Westcliff on Sea in Essex. A daughter, Mary was born shortly afterwards. He was employed as an architect & surveyor for Southend Corporation.
15 Jun 1915
25
On May 26 1915, she became a victim of the Zeppelin raids. The Newark Advertiser reported in its edition of June 16th 1915, that willow merchant Horace Mills and his wife Marion of Farndon Road Newark had heard a day earlier that their second daughter Flo had succumbed to her injuries in Southend. The report said that after the first bomb fell, Mrs Smith and her husband went to the front door of their home believing the danger had passed. 'When at that moment a bomb struck the road and exploded a few yards from where Mrs Smith was standing, scattering broadcast fragments of iron and stone from the roadway,' the Advertiser reported. 'Mrs Smith was wounded by shrapnel in the abdomen, lungs and leg, and was operated on immediately. She progressed satisfactorily until Sunday last, when she had a relapse, and passed away yesterday morning.' 'Large crowds attended the Newark Cemetery' The Advertiser reported the couple had one daughter 'and much sympathy is felt with the husband and parents of Mrs Smith in their loss. The paper’s funeral report said 'The terribly pathetic circumstances under which Mrs Florence Smith met her death by wounds from a Zeppelin bomb during the air raid some time since at Southend, appealed very strongly to the general public, and large crowds attended the Newark Cemetery on Saturday to show their sympathy with the bereaved relatives, and pay a last tribute of respect to who was universally esteemed. The mortal remains were brought from Southend on Saturday, and taken for a brief space back to her old home ­— Rushcliffe, Farndon Road, from which such a short time ago she went as a young bride to reside at Southend with her husband and long before the funeral cortege reached the burial place, the cemetery was crowded with sympathetic towns-people, many of whom joined in with the cortege behind the carriages with the family mourners, and the long line of employees who were on foot. 'The service was conducted by the Vicar of Newark (Canon W. Paton Hindley). 'Naturally one thought of the bright young life sacrificed to German "kultur," and the internment of the victim produced a very impressive scene.' Zeppelins were named after the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who pioneered rigid airship development at the start of the 20th Century. Zeppelin raids over England brought confusion and terror from the skies killing more than 500 people in raids over Britain. One raid across the English Channel, on May 26, 1915, saw about 60 bombs dropped on Southend-on-Sea, a town where troops from the front were sent to convalesce. About 120 bombs were dropped on Southend in two raids, the first on May 10, 1915, and the second, in which Flo was fatally injured, 16 days later.Some of the bombs were dropped near Southend Pier, aiming for what was believed to be a battleship, but was actually a prison ship holding Germans. A crudely-written note attached to one bomb read: 'You English. We have come and will come again soon. Kill or cure. German.' LZ-38, a P Class airship, had made her first flight on 3rd April 1915 and was destined to have only a brief career. She carried out the first bombing raid on London on 31st May 1915 killing 7 and injuring 35 people and made a total of five successful raid on Ipswich, Ramsgate, Southend (twice) and London, dropping a total of 8,360 kg (18,430 lbs.) of bombs. On the night of 6th / 7th June 1915 she undertook a raid on a railway communication centre south of Calais. The original target had been London, but Linnarz received a radio message cancelling the raid and directing him to Calais instead. She had just been returned to her shed at Evere, near Brussels when she was destroyed by Henri Farman bombers from the RNAS Station at Dunkirk flown by Flight Lieutenant John Philip Wilson and Flight Sub Lieutenant John Stanley Mills. Wilson took off at 12:40 am and arrived at 2:05 am. He replied to a series of long flashes from a searchlight with a series of short flashes, which kept the anti-aircraft guns quiet whilst he circled until there was enough light to attack. At 2:20 am he could just see the airship shed, so dropped his three 65 pound bombs from 2,000 feet. One hit the centre of the shed, sending up dense smoke but no flames. Mills turned up at 2:30 am, but was forced by anti-aircraft fire to turn away and gain height. He came back at 5,000 feet, dropped his four 20 pound bombs, setting LZ-38 alight and destroying her. Both pilots had problems with fog, but got home safely, although Mills had to land on the beach between Calais and Dunkirk and Wilson in a field near Montreuil. Both pilots were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on 21st June 1915 (London Gazette 22nd June 1915) Robert Ludwig Theodor Erich Linnarz was born 24th July 1879 at Bederkesa, Kreis Lehe, Hannover. He joined IR50 on 17th September 1898 as a volunteer and served as a company officier in IR50 between 27th January 1900 and 5th January 1905. Between 5th January 1908 and 1st June 1908 he served as Adjutant of I Battalion IR50. After a year’s leave of absence, he became commander of the Military Technical Academy where he served until 21st July 1911. Sometime in 1912, he transferred to Luftschiffer Bataillon Nr. 1 and became a teacher there from 1st October 1913. He was initially Executive Officer on Z IV (LZ-16) before he took over the command of LZ-38. After the destruction of the LZ-38, Linnarz was then given command of LZ-86 on Eastern Front, and then later he commanded LZ-97, which raided England on night of 25/26th April 1916. Erich Linnarz ended the war with the rank of Major, survived the war and Germany's postwar troubles, and wrote an article that was included in Sir John A. Hammerton's book, "The Great War...I Was There!" published in London, in 1938-39. The title of Linnarz's article was "I was London's First Zepp Raider." This is a probable id. Research by John Beech
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Photos

  • Florence Smith -
  • Hauptman Erich Linnarz Commander of the LZ-38 -