Photos: Shocking postcards tell the tale of German navy attack on Lowestoft

Youngsters pose in front of wrecked homes in Cleveland Road, Lowestoft in one of the postcards of th

Youngsters pose in front of wrecked homes in Cleveland Road, Lowestoft in one of the postcards of the 1916 German naval raids which are coming up for auction. - Credit: Archant

It was a night that brought terror and chaos to Lowestoft. An attack by the German navy in spring 1916 had a massive impact, and now a set of postcards marking the incident is going up for sale.

A postcard showing the aftermath of the German battle cruiser attacks on Lowestoft in 1916.

A postcard showing the aftermath of the German battle cruiser attacks on Lowestoft in 1916. - Credit: Archant

They record the aftermath of one of the most traumatic incidents in Lowestoft's long history.

A collection of postcards, showing the devastating effects of a raid by the German Navy, are being sold at auction.

On April 25, 1916, four German battle cruisers approached the east coast and unleased a deadly salvo of 60 shells which wreaked havoc within the town and heaped misery on its population.

The bombardment, which started at 4.10am, saw three people killed and another 12 injured as more than 200 homes were destroyed.

A postcard showing the aftermath of the German battle cruiser attacks on Lowestoft in 1916.

A postcard showing the aftermath of the German battle cruiser attacks on Lowestoft in 1916. - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


And such was the panic created in Lowestoft and the surrounding area that in the raid's chaotic aftermath, hundreds of people fled inland amid fears of further attacks.

Images depicting the raid's devastating impact were turned into postcards to illustrate the destruction caused by the Kaiser's naval forces – and how the people of Lowestoft would not be beaten.

Most Read

And now 13 of those postcards have been put up for auction by Lockdales of Martlesham.

The cards show a building destroyed in The Esplanade, a convalescent home in ruins, damaged cottages in Carlton Road and a home reduced to rubble in Yarmouth Road.

Despite the uncertainty, shock and fear in the aftermath of the raids, people still stood to be phot

Despite the uncertainty, shock and fear in the aftermath of the raids, people still stood to be photographed in front of the damage. - Credit: Archant

They also show how people in the town were clearly intrigued to see for themselves the shocking aftermath of the bombardment, as work began to survey the damage and clear the debris.

Lockdales will be auctioning the set of postcards on Sunday and the guide price for the collection is between £60 and £70.

Chris Ellamy, for Lockdales said: 'They show sad scenes in the port after the German overnight raid on April 25, 1916 and show the full extent of the bombardment.

These postcards are an assortment of printed and real photographic cards showing shell damage to buildings. We are selling these cards on behalf of a local person.'

The bombardment of Lowestoft was followed by a similar attack on Great Yarmouth later that day, but its Norfolk neighbour suffered very little damage.

After the bombardments, the Royal Navy engaged the German raiding party, but the British forces fell victim to enemy shells and three cruisers were hit.

Afterwards, German naval commander Georg van Hase described the raid on the two towns as 'a very heartening experience'.

The raid led to defences being bolstered along the east coast, with pill boxes built and batteries of field guns set up at Caister, Corton and Pakefield.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus