There have been a few accounts of the Folkestone Air Raid (also known as the Tontine Street Bombing or the Gotha Bombing) which happened on 25th May 1917 – so I will not attempt to write about it again.
Except to say that this bombing raid saw the death of almost 100 people – including many children. The bomb that hit Tontine Street was the tail end of an air raid which came across from Ashford over Hythe and Shorncliffe – but it dropped just one bomb in Tontine street and killed around 60 people who were doing their shopping in there – many were queuing outside the green grocers waiting to be served.
It is thought that the bombers were attempting to lighten their load by offloading bombs before returning to Germany, as they were low on fuel and may not have had enough to complete the flight – and so one bomber dropped his last bomb most likely aiming for the harbour station.
To avoid panic many newspapers across the county and nationally didn’t report it or downplayed it because most of the bombing activity at this time took place over London and this significant number of deaths outside London was unheard of. Here are various accounts of this terrible event as written by local people and historians.
The Tontine Street Air Raid – and Details of Memorial Service
Pictures of the 100th Anniversary of the Folkestone Air Raid x
Folkestone forgotten tragedy (Step Short website)
A detailed account of the Gotha bombing x
An account published in The Times (25/05/2017)
YouTube vid of Michael George talking about the Bombing Raid
A full account can be found in book entitled ‘A Glint In The Sky’ (ISBN 1-84415-119-0) by author Martin Easdown with Thomas Genth