18 July 1916 - WW1 Blog - Jersey Heritage

An unusual and unexpected visitor caused a great deal of excitement this week. A huge airship, believed to be French, flew over the island at low height, leading people to stop what they were doing and gather outside to watch.


An unusual and unexpected visitor caused a great deal of excitement this week. A huge airship, believed to be French, flew over the island at low height, leading people to stop what they were doing and gather outside to watch.

The airship was first reported on an approach to Corbière shortly before 4.00pm. Flying at between 800 and 1,000 feet it passed along the south coast at a good speed. It’s body consisted of three large cigar-shaped chambers below which hung a single gondola. Upon reaching St Helier, the airship descended to around 400 feet, turned north and flew across the town. The men on board could clearly be seen waving down at the excited crowds below.

The reason for the visit is unknown. Given the ongoing zeppelin raids against UK towns and cities, there may have initially been some fear that Jersey’s visitor had come with hostile intentions. The threat of air attack has hung over the population since the start of the war, although to date nothing has materialised. Nevertheless, the Militia remain on alert, having been issued with means of identifying hostile from friendly aircraft.

Associated Record:

B/D/F/2 contains a poster showing British and German aircraft silhouettes.