Northampton primary school pupils honour twins killed in First World War air raid

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The Northampton victims of a First World War bombing raid have been commemorated at a school 100 years on from the attack.

On October 19 1917 a German Zeppelin, on its way to bomb Sheffield, changed course to Northampton which it reached at 10.45pm - dropping 22 bombs, including nine incendiary bombs over Kingsthorpe, Dallington, Far Cotton and St James End.

The fifth bomb smashed through the roof of 46 Parkwood Street, just west of the train station, killing Mrs Eliza Gammons instantly while she was sleeping in her bedroom. Her 13-year-old twin daughters, Gladys and Lily, who were also in the house, died later from their burns.

Eliza, Lily and Gladys, buried at Dallington Cemetery, are believed to be Northampton’s only victims of air raids which killed more than 500 people across Britain.

The twins went to St James CE School and a plaque to their memory was put up by their schoolfriends in the 1920s.

A century after the deadly raid, pupils and the headteacher of St James CE School, Sarah Beach, visited Sywell Aviation Museum where one of the raid’s incendiary bombs is on display, to commemorate the tragedy and honour the sisters.

The current students studied the displays and a replica of a First World War plane and an original fighter aircraft.

Sarah Beach said: “The children had a wonderful trip to Sywell and really enjoyed the activities and learning more about Zeppelins, flying and the war in general.

“The museum’s hospitality and generosity of time was greatly appreciated – especially the owners of the impressive planes who allowed us such privileged access.”

A museum spokeman said: “This was a terrific example of the community coming together to mark the events of 100 years ago.”