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Great War, History, Walsall

Archivist to reveal true story of Walsall Zeppelin Raid in public talk

L19 Zeppelin

Archivist Paul Ford is all set to reveal the secrets of the 1916 Walsall Zeppelin Raid in a public talk at Walsall Local History Centre on Monday 3 December.

In the talk, which starts at 7.30pm, Paul will use the original police, coroners, council and other records to try to piece together not only the series of events that night, but also to answer some important questions about the wider context of the raid.

On 31 January – 1 February 1916, the Black Country night was turned to flame when German airships attacked Walsall, Wednesbury, Bradley and Tipton. This totally unexpected Great War bombing raid caused ‘universal shock’ across Walsall – claiming several lives and badly damaging a number of properties.

It is said the lights of the town were blazing away and the trams were running, making Walsall a sitting duck; but in truth, no detailed official report of the night’s events actually survives.

Today, the raid is largely forgotten in the town, save for a shrapnel hole and blue plaque in Bradford Place and a bronze plaque in the Council House that commemorates Walsall’s most famous victim – Mary Julia Slater, Walsall’s Mayoress.

Nearly 100 years on, it is time to re-examine one of the most extraordinary episodes in Walsall’s history and to remember those that were affected by it. This talk aims to set the record straight and shed light on a dark chapter in the story of the town.

Tickets for the talk cost just £2 and booking is essential, telephone 01922 721305 to book.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CENTRE’S ANSWERING MACHINE WILL BE ON ON MONDAY – so leave a message with your telephone number, asking staff to confirm your booking before making a journey.

Walsall Local History Centre is the archives service and local studies library for Walsall Metropolitan Borough, and is part of Walsall Council. For further information on the centre, telephone 01922 721305 or check out the centre’s website: http://www.walsall.gov.uk/localhistorycentre

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