4th March 1917 : Air Raid!

As General Milne, for his part, began his preparations [for a major spring offensive] he was plagued by the German bombing squadron at Hudova. The RFC [Royal Flying Corps] dropped bombs on its aerodrome at dawn on 4th March [1917], but that did not prevent the German bombers from carrying out an attack against the base area later in the day, causing 64 casualties, mostly in No. 29 General Hospital, which had now been twice bombed.

From ‘Official History of the Great War Other Theatres: Military Operations Macedonia – Part 1’ (published 1934, reprinted 1997 and 2011 pp.296-297).

Lembet Road CWGC Cemetery contains the graves of 25 men who died on that day – from a variety of units – who may well have been killed in the air raid.  Canada’s McMaster University Library provides a handy online map showing the location of hospitals in Salonika in June 1916, although this shows 29th General Hospital at Mikra, which doesn’t tie-up with burials at Lembet Road. A photograph at the IWM (HU90800) shows a 29th Stationary Hospital in 1918 at Karaissi, north of Salonika. This is not far from Lembet Road and assuming it is the same establishment, makes more sense. The War Diary of 29 General Hospital will probably tell us more, although sadly as with all BSF war diaries it has not been digitised. If you know more we will be pleased to hear from you.


Damage in the ward of a British Red Cross Hospital caused by air raid carried out by 1st German Air Squadron Salonika, 4th March, 1917. Three people were killed.Damage in the ward of a British Red Cross Hospital caused by air raid carried out by 1st German Air Squadron on Salonika, 4th March, 1917. Three people were killed. © IWM (Q 32774)

BRITISH FORCES IN THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915-1918
Damage to the interior of a British hospital marquee following a bombing raid by German aircraft in March 1917. BRITISH FORCES IN THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915-1918 © IWM (Q 32773)

 

Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal, 'The New Mosquito', a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915-1917, mainly in the Struma valley.