Great-great-grandson of WW1 Northampton Zeppelin bomb victim to commemorate centenary

Wayne Casey.
Wayne Casey.

A Northampton man is next month set to commemorate the centenary of the World War One Zeppelin raid that killed his great-great-grandmother and aunts in their home in St James.

Relative of the deceased, Wayne Casey of Obelisk Rise, alongside the mayor's office, pupils from St James CE Primary School, where the aunts went to school, and other organisations will together visit Sywell Aviation Centre on October 17 - where the inactive incendiary device is displayed - to commemorate the anniversary.

The device was one of 22 bombs dropped on the town from a German Zeppelin airship on the night of October 19, 1917, in a raid which caused the first war casualties in the county since the civil war.

The deaths of Eliza Gammons and her 13-year-old twin daughters Lilian and Gladys when their house in St James was bombed, were the only fatalities from 29 Zeppelin raids which dropped 66 bombs in the county during the war.

The Chronicle & Echo interviewed Albert Bazeley back in 1983 who was married to Wayne's great grandmother, Elizabeth who lived in the same property as the three women who died.

He said: "It was my second night home on leave. The bomb came through the roof and landed on the bed in my mother-in-law's room, killing her instantly and injuring her two daughters, who were with her.

"I was in the front room with my wife and two sons.

"I rushed into the other room but it was ablaze - I got the twins out and put them by the front room window. Their mother was already dead. The stairs were unusable because of the fire so I threw my sons aged six and three out of the window into blankets neighbours were holding. The twins followed.

"My wife Elizabeth and I jumped after them. I burnt myself on my arms but I still make sure my army kit was safe otherwise I wouldn't have anything to wear."

The twins were rushed to the hospital and shortly died from severe burns while their mother died at home from the fire.

Now, the twins and their mother are now buried at Dallington Cemetery and will be remembered next month.