Zeppelin led us up the harbour path... to northern Germany
I recently published this postcard photograph of a Zeppelin airship flying over the fleet.
I wondered if it was the upper reaches of Portsmouth Harbour. I thought it might be Portsdown Hill on the horizon stretching into the distance.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As ever with these pages, there is always someone who has the information.
It is actually in Germany just before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
Brian Lavery tells me that on the same morning as he saw the picture in The News, he bought a secondhand book which contained the same photo.
It is captioned: ‘Kiel Regatta Week,1914.’
It says itshowed the German Zeppelin passing over the new super-dreadnoughts King George V, Centurion and Audacious. In the line-up was also the 2nd Cruiser Squadron.
The Kaiser is said to have visited KGV along with German officers.
As Britain and Germany had been in an arms race for many years it seems a strange state of affairs, but as the German leader Emperor Wilhelm II was a grandson of Queen Victoria I suppose those in power thought it was all right.
On September 25, 1916, a Zeppelin did attempt to bomb ships in Portsmouth dockyard, but to no avail.
However, in more friendly times one was supposed to have paid us a visit.
By special permission the Graf Zeppelin was booked to visit Portsmouth in connection with the opening of Portsmouth Aerodrome in July, 1932.
The airship was booked to take off from Hanworth, London, and was expected to arrive about 8pm. There does not appear to be a record of this happening.
• I wonder how the organisers of Victorious, the Portsmouth pop festival, would have got on 70 years ago with a very strict Portsmouth City Council?
At a meeting of the Piers, Beach and Publicity Committee on January 28, 1949, terms of lease were put in place for the use of Lumps Fort, Eastney.
In the third condition it states in no uncertain terms:
‘The use of amplified reproduction or other form of music is to be regulated as not to cause any annoyance in the neighbourhood.
‘If, in the opinion of the committee, such an annoyance is caused the committee will have the power to forbid the use of music.’
Can you imagine a man from the council in a gaberdine mac and bowler turning up at Victorious when Madness are blasting out and telling them to turn the sound down or he would have to turn it off?
• In Thursday’s column I asked a question and in case you missed it I am asking it again.
Does anyone remember motor bike racing within Lumps Fort, about 1952? Apparently there was a track within the old fort.
We know there was a track at Milton Park, but that is not what I’m talking about.
Any assistance would be extremely welcome.