19/20 May 1918 Air Raid

In December 1914 the first German Zeppelin appeared over the English coast and in Feburary 1915 the first bombs were dropped from Zeppelins at Yarmouth. By April 1915 the use of airships by the Germans increased. Zeppelins began attacking London. They were also used for naval reconnaissance, to attack London and smaller balloons were used for reconnaissance along the Western Front. They were only stopped when the introduction of aeroplanes shot them down.

In November 1916 the first German air raid on London took place. The Germans hoped that by making raids on London and the South East, the British Air Force would be forced into protecting the home front rather than attacking the German air force.

The bombing raid on Whit Monday 20 May 1918 was carried out by a German Gotha twin-engine airplane.

One 50Kg bomb fell at 11.40 am at Sangley Road Killing 1 man and injuring 1 woman. 44 houses were damaged here.

50 and 100Kg bombs that fell in the Borough killing people during this raid. Other bombs fell and did damage and injured people. See John Hook's book in Local History and Archives Centre for details.

At 12.10 am Two 50Kg and two 100 Kg bombs fell in the area of 187 Leahurst Road [Hither Green Station], Lewisham Killing 2 Soldiers and injuring 2 others. 1 Man, 2 women and 1 child were also injured in this incident. The railway line, 19 shops and 63 houses were damaged by this bomb.

The other fell on the corner of Sydenham Road and Fairlawn Park destroyed 3 shops and killed 18 people including 5 soldiers.



John McLachlan 39 Army Service Corps Rail & Transport [Lee] M/399602 Son of the Late William & Mary McLachlan of Highmoor, Wigton, where he was born. He was single, horseman born in Wigton, Cumberland. He had volunteered Wigton 11 December 1915 and was mobilised 29 March 1916 into the Corps and had only arrived at the Sydenham Depot on 4 May 1918 He was buried In Wigton Cemetery [2 T C 52]
John "Jack" O'Grady 24 Army Service Corps M/372831 Son of John & Margaret O'Grady of Chapel Street, Co. Cork. Husband of Margaret Sweeney [formerly O'Grady] of 74 Gairymore, Clonmel. He enlisted in London. He was buried in Inishlounaght Church of Ireland Churchyard, near the East boundary
Francis "Frank" Smith 24 Army Service Corps HT Depot (Sydenham) M/353350 Husband of Margaret Smith of 5 Buckingham Place, Dublin. He enlisted into the Royal Dublin Fusilliers [5/8782] in August 1915 and was transfered into the ASC 1 December 1917 at Grove Park. His service record shows he was transfered to the RAF 11th May 1918 and at the time of his death he was on active service with the Police. He was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery [RC 562]
John William White 40 Army Service Corps Reception & Training Area [Lee] Son of the late John and Mary White and husband of Martha Jane White of 55 Bayswater Road, Leeds. He had been born in Durham and enlisted in Rotherham M/372113. He was buried in the Leeds [Harehills] Cemetery [Screen Wall G 78]
Trevor Williams 23 Army Service Corps MT Depot (Sydenham) M/372105 He enlisted at Mount Ash He was buried at the Mount Ash (Maesyrarian) Cemetery [1061]


Cook Emma Elizabeth 23 # Found dead by her daughter in the street, she had been standing in the doorway of her house when the bomb exploded
Delahoy Isaac Wanty 57 * Born 1861, husband of Eliza and father of Laura, Mary V and Beatrice
Delahoy Eliza 57 * Born 1861, wife of Isaac and mother of Laura, Mary V and Beatrice
Delahoy Beatrice Florence 17 * Child of Isaac and Eliza with 2 other siblings
Delahoy Laura 20 * Child of Isaac and Eliza with 2 other siblings
Delahoy Mary Violet 14 * Child of Isaac and Eliza with 2 other siblings
Hambrook Elizabeth 57 + She was visiting her Brother in Law Mr Westley and Niece Rosina Gladys Smith, when she died.
Phillips William Allen 72 A bootmaker. He had gone in the garden to watch the gunfire, when he was killed. His wife and daughter had looked for him, but later had found out he had died.
Pout Emma 48 Died in Greenwich Registration District, was in the street at the time of the explosion and was found dying by her daughter. She died 3 hours later.
Smith Rosina Gladys 24 + she was visiting her Uncle Mr Westley, when she died.
Westley Redvers Buller 17 + Born 1900 in Lewisham Registration District. Journeyman baker
Westley Rosalind M "Rose" 47 + Wife of Arthur Westley, coachbuilder, who survived and mother of Redvers, who also died an hour after being found in the rubble of the house
Klingels John Jacob 58 Was a naturalised German and had served in the British Army was in the street when the bomb exploded.

The 3 shops destroyed were in Sydenham Road

198 Delahoy Bros Dairymen Where 5 members of the Delahoy family died *
200 J H Mitchel Baker Where 4 members of the Westley family died +
202 R Cook Marine Store Dealer 1 person died in doorway here #
Also damaged was
204 Lillian Pout, Miss Confectioner

233 [a house] John J Klingels was killed.

Further information on this air raid, including newscuttings are held within the Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre Ephemera Collection. Please contact the Local History and Archives Centre, Lewisham for access to this collection.

Lewisham WWI War Civilian Memorial
All Saints, Sydenham WW1 War Memorial

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