Radcliffe on Trent WWI letters
Herbert Sudbury Smith
A Daylight Raid On London, 7th July 1917, seen from the roof of the Royal College of Science with the Brompton Oratory in the foreground. Photo by Norman G Arnold (C) IWM
Herbert Sudbury Smith (known as Sudbury) joined the Tank Corps on 9 Nov 1916 as a Gunner.
Sudbury trained with the Tank Corps at Bovington Camp near Wareham, Dorset, but on 11 Feb 1917 he was admitted to Bovington Camp hospital with measles. After this he was hospitalised a number of times with disordered action of the heart (DAH), including a period spent in Brook War Hospital, near Woolwich. He was discharged unfit for War service on 23rd Oct 1917.
Click on original letters below for larger image
In a letter to his parents from the Brook War Hospital near Woolwich on 7 July 1917, Sudbury describes an air raid that he witnessed:
NB The Taubes aircraft in the air raid described by Herbert Sudbury Smith were in fact Gotha bombers.
‘On 7 July 1917, London was attacked by 22 Gotha bombers, which arrived over the east coast, formed up over Epping Forest and proceeded to bomb the East End and the City of London – in all 57 people were killed. The raid caused great anger about the lack of proper warnings and the lack of effective defences. It prompted another big anti-German riot, just as the sinking of the Lusitania had sparked off the mass rioting and looting in May 1915’.