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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 867
Last updated: 16 November 2018
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Type:Zeppelin LZ.48
Registration: L.15
C/n / msn: LZ48
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 17
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Thames Estuary, near the Kentish Knock Lightship, off Margate, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Damaged by ground fire from Dartford AA battery during a raid on London on 1 April 1916, The commander of the L 15 was Kapitanleutnant Joachim Breithaupt. On the 31st March 1916 (note date!), at 21.45 hours, the L 15 received a direct hit from the AA gun at Purfleet, Essex.

The AA shell damaged four of the gas cells (numbers 9, 11, 12, and 16), and the L 15 began to lose height - despite the crew chucking out everything, to lose weight. While the L 15 got closer to earth, it was attacked by 2nd Lt Alfred de Bathe Brandon RFC, 19 RA Sqn (Hainault Farm), in a BE 2C. Brandon climbed above the L 15 and tried to destroy it by dropping incendiary bombs, and Ranken darts onto the top of the hull. He was not successful.

But eventually the Zeppelin became too heavy to fly, and she came down in the sea off Margate at 00.15 (1st April) - close to the Kentish Knock lightship. One crew member, ObsigMt Willy Albrecht, was drowned. The rest of the crew (16 members in total) were rescued by the armed trawler Olivine (and then transferred to HMS Vulture).

The sodden, half-sunk remains of the L15 were then taken under tow but the airship broke up off Westgate and only small sections were hauled ashore, where parts were obviously liberated by souvenir hunters. Eventually the sea reclaimed what was left of the airship on the beach.


1. Puget Sound Airship Society.
2. German Air Raids On Great Britain 1914-1918 / Joseph Morris
3. Flight Magazine August 31 1916 p.740 at

Revision history:

23-Jan-2008 05:00 ASN archive Added
24-Jan-2008 09:12 JINX Updated
25-Oct-2011 12:53 harro Updated [Location, Phase, Source, Embed code]
13-Feb-2017 21:09 Dr.John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Total occupants, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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