Terror over Stanton was 100 years ago

Author Scott Lomax
Author Scott Lomax

A new book tells about the day fifteen bombs were dropped over Stanton by Dale by a Germnan airship.

Archaeologist and local historian Scott Lomax, from Derbyshire, has been researching the raid.

Scott is author of the book ‘The Home Front: Derbyshire in the First World War’, which includes a chapter about the raid, and which is released in February.

On the night of 31 January 1916 Zeppelin L20 dropped 15 bombs over the Stanton Iron Works. A railway bridge was damaged and two men were killed, and a further two injured, as they tried to flee the falling bombs.

The Zeppelin was one of a fleet of airships intent on wreaking havoc. In the county bombs were also dropped on Derby shortly after midnight the following day and it was believed by the airship crews that they had successfully attacked Liverpool; a key target due to its docks.

In total seven people were killed in Derbyshire that night during what was the most intensive raid to have occurred in Britain at the time: five in Derby and two at Stanton. Other Midlands towns that experienced destruction and loss of life included Loughborough and Burton on Trent.

Scott said: “The zeppelins that raided a century ago brought fear, destruction and death to Derbyshire as well as neighbouring counties. It was the first ever air raid in Derbyshire and brought the horrors of war to the home front.”

Whilst historians have concentrated on the effects of bombings in Derby relatively little has been written about the bombing of the Stanton Iron Works.

There were suggestions that spies had been involved in the raid, with sightings of a car close to the Iron Works whose occupants appeared to be signalling to the airship.