And here, on the night of 4 September 1917, the German air force launched a bombing raid, and the obelisk base and one of the two sphinxes was hit by shrapnel.
|Zeppelin raids on London in WWI|
During the first World War French planes bombed German towns, and Kaiser Wilhelm II agreed that the German air force should retaliate, and allowed Zeppelins to be used in bombing London for the first time on May 31, 1915.
He spent his life building the rigid dirigibles, with the first successful flight of his airship in 1900; within eight years Zeppelins were delivering mail and passengers over Germany.
In 1909 the German army used the first Zeppelin; during the first World War they used 115 Zeppelins for various missions, including bombing raids – the Zeppelins bombed England at the rate of about two per month. Of the 115 Zeppelins, 53 were destroyed and another 24 so damaged they could not be used again.
|Gotha bomber - World War One|
When Zeppelin losses mounted, the German forces switched to airplanes, including the Gotha biplane aircraft, which flew at night and sometimes reached 20,000 feet, beyond reach of the British fighter planes.
Starting in September 1917, the Gothas and another large German bomber, the Giants, began what was called the "harvest moon" raids, attacking London nearly every night for a week. Some shops let their staff go home early to escape the raids; some people gathered in parks to watch the raids, while others slept in the Tube stations.
|Gotha bombing raid in WWI|
|Zeppelin watery end in WWI|
|Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin stamp|
|Cleopatra's Needle, London: Gotha bomb damage to sphinx 1917|
|Shrapnel wound to Sphinx of London obelisk - 1917|
|London obelisk - sphinx with shrapnel wounds from Gotha bombing raid in 1917|
|Loraine and Sphinx of the London obelisk|