The First Blitz Project - The Aerial Bombardment of Britain 1914 - 1918
This section of the Battlefields Trust website is dedicated to the Trust's project on the aerial bombardment of Britain during the First World War
The Battlefields Trust is setting up a project to collect the information on the largest battle of the Great War fought on, and over British soil. The German aerial campaign against the United Kingdom was the first strategic aerial bombing campaign in history. For the first time in centuries the British civilians were in the front line of a war against a foreign power.
The air-war over the UK would be an important catalyst for military aviation technology and methods. The comprehensive air defence system developed in the Great War is the precursor to the system which protected Britain during the Second World War. The worlds first independent air force, the Royal Air Force, was founded as a result of this campaign. The countermeasures by the Royal Navy would result in the worlds first naval based air operations, using seaplanes and the worlds first aircraft carrier based air strikes against the German air bases.
The aim of the project is to protect, interpret and present this to the public through a project which will seek to involve, inform and develop understanding of this neglected part of our history with communities across the UK. The intention is to focus on the approximately 200 air raids launched by the Germans on Britain in the Great war of 1914-18 war and the British countermeasures. The scope of the projects includes the following:
- Restoration of existing memorials to the damage and casualties from air raids, many of which are in a poor condition, working with the War Memorials Trust
- Identification of locations associated with the campaign including airfields, crash sites, bomb sites, gun and searchlight emplacements, and associated industries, which is an input to the Council for British Archaeology's Home front project and local Heritage Environment Registers.
- Collecting and collating the historic information about the air raids, and their impact on Britain and the British public, including information from official documents the press and oral testimony.
- Raising the awareness of the aerial campaign as it is not well known. The impact on the civilian population – oral testimonies
The project is part of the 2014-18 Great War Centenary programme. We seek to involve people within their own localities, including local museums, archives, schools, local history societies and other bodies as well as working with national and international organisations with a common interest in the field, including the RAF Historical section, the Western Front Association and the Cross and Cockade society. There are teams within the project focusing on the archaeological and historical and learning dimensions to the project.
A bid has been made to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for funding; currently this is at the first stage, the enquiry stage. This is likely to include funding for a project team to co-ordinate and support teams of volunteers.
The Battlefields Trust is looking for volunteers interested in taking part from anywhere in the country. We need help from people willing to offer their time in historic and archaeological research, project management, fund raising, IT support and administration.
For further information or to get involved in the project then please contact either: