Cat no. 2473

Funeral Of The Crew Of The Zeppelins Shot Down Over Cuffley

Running time3:11 Black & White Silent 1916 Potters Bar, Hertfordshire

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Two newsreels showing the aftermath of a downed German airship.



Excerpts from two newsreels showing the aftermath of the wreck of a German airship, the first to be shot down in Britain. Although widely reported (and identified in this film) as being the Zeppelin L.21, the airship in question was actually a Schütte-Lanz SL11.

First, a Topical Budget newsfilm shows British soldiers carrying coffins containing the 'charred remains' of the German airmen shot down over Cuffley. The coffins are carried through the cemetery, as military officers stand to attention, and placed beside a large grave. Lowered down one by one, clergymen hold a service whilst officers and men salute.

The second item, taken from a Pathe Gazette newsreel, show remnants of the airship being displayed at the London headquarters of the Honourable Artillery Company.

Background Information:

From Wikipedia:
"The Schütte-Lanz SL 11 was the first German airship to be shot down over Britain. It was of Schütte-Lanz production, thus not a Zeppelin. It was based at Spich and commanded by Hauptmann Wilhelm Schramm. On the early night of September 3, 1916, after having bombed Saint Albans, it was attacked over Hertfordshire by Lt. William Leefe Robinson in a BE 2C using incendiary ammunition. It crashed at Cuffley. The crew were buried at Potters Bar Cemetery, and in 1962 they were re-interred at Cannock Chase German war cemetery."
"For unknown reasons, when the SL 11 became the first German airship to be shot down over England, it was described officially and in the press as Zeppelin L 21 (LZ 61's tactical number). This misidentification persisted for decades, even though it is clear that the authorities were always aware of SL 11's correct identity.
It has been suggested by Ray Rimell that the reason for this confusion was a calculation by the authorities that the downing of a hated and feared Zeppelin 'baby killer', would play better with the public than the destruction of an almost unknown Schütte-Lanz type."


The Pathe footage is from a newsreel entitled `Zeppelin Stories'. No issue date given on the British Pathe online catalogue, and perhaps an unreleased story.

Featured Organisations:

Honourable Artillery Company