The Zeppelin Raid

On the night of September 25-26th 1916, several bombs were dropped in the village by the 163m Zeppelin airship LZ 61, commanded by Oberleutnant Kurt Frankenburg.  He made several other attacks that night in Rawtenstall, Irwell Vale, Bolton and elsewhere before returning safely to Germany, where he reported that he had made a successful attack on Derby!

In the village, the bombs were loosed on Holcombe within a radius of 500 yards. One landed on pasture before a larger device fell in the main road between the Shoulder of Mutton, then a farm and country inn, and what was then the Post Office, opposite the modern car park. Twenty of the pub’s windows were shattered and the front door was broken in half. The house opposite suffered major damage and shrapnel indentations can still be seen on the stone window lintels.  Higher House also suffered some damage still visible today.  Looking at the front of the house there are two banks of six windows on the ground floor. The original windows had diamond shaped leaded glass but the  bank of windows to the right were blown out in the explosion and were later replaced with square shaped leaded glass.

A further bomb was dropped on Holcombe School, severely damaging the building.  The blast  also stopped the church clock and smashed  windows.  Mercifully there were no casualties . . . except for a thrush which was later preserved in a glass case in the School.  For more details, see here.

Bomb Damage to the Post Office, 1916. Photo from Bryan Dawson.
Bomb Damage to the Post Office, 1916. Photo from Bryan Dawson

The photo above shows the building which was the post office at the time of the raid, but which is now part of Higher House Barn.  As can be seen from the modern photograph below, some traces are still visible.


Bomb damage from Zeppelin Raid, Holcombe 1916
Bomb damage from Zeppelin Raid, Holcombe 1916

Below is a view of the School, apparently taken the morning after the raid.

Bomb damage at Holcombe School 1916. Photo from Bryan Dawson