Historian releases revised edition of Zeppelin book

Gareth Jenkins with the revised edition of Zeppelins Over Bury.
Gareth Jenkins with the revised edition of Zeppelins Over Bury.
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A local historian has published a revised edition of his book detailing Bury St Edmunds’ first real taste of World War One.

Gareth Jenkins’ Zeppelins Over Bury was first published in 1985 and sold more than 1,250 copies.

Now the author has revisited the work to publish a new expanded 86 page hardback version with never before published photos and new research.

“The new edition contains 74 photographs, 13 illustrations, two coloured maps and contains new appendices and indexes,” said Mr Jenkins, from Bury St Edmunds.

“Other than searching through newspaper articles from the Bury Free Press and the Bury and Norwich Post, there is no other complete, self contained record of the Zeppelin raids I am aware of.

“Most people’s knowledge of the raids is passed by word of mouth and as often is the way when this happens, the facts can get lost.

“I’ve even heard people talk about Hitler bombing Bury in the context of the raids and so wanted to produce as complete a document of local history as I could for future generations to come.”

Germany’s Luftwaffe carried out two Zeppelin raids on Bury St Edmunds during WWI.

The first raid on Friday, April 30 1915 led to the destruction of many town centre buildings.

The second on the night of Friday, March 31 1916 killed seven people.

Mr Jenkins, a former museum curator researched his book using archive material from the time, as well as film footage and also with input from some of the descendents of those affected by the second Zeppelin raid.

“I don’t think the airship pilots even knew where they were the first time round as navigation would have been quite primitive,” he said.

“They dropped mainly incendiary devices after perambulating 3,000 ft in the air.

“For the second raid, a year later, however, there would have been different pilots, different commanders and this time they intended to cause as much destruction as possible, and to kill people.

“Their aim was to strike fear into the heart of Britain.”

Zeppelins Over Bury is a Quarto size hardback and is published by Gipping Press of Needham Market.

Artwork and photography is by Chris Mycock and copies are currently available in the Cathedral Shop priced at £15.