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Region's role in Zeppelin raids

PUBLISHED: 10:08 24 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:23 06 July 2010

BASED in an everyday office building, it helped to defend the country from deadly Zeppelin raids in the first world war.

And now the vital role of Yarmouth's Royal Naval Air Station has been recognised with the unveiling of a blue plaque in honour of the men who protected the nation from the kaiser's air force and navy.

BASED in an everyday office building, it helped to defend the country from deadly Zeppelin raids in the first world war.

And now the vital role of Yarmouth's Royal Naval Air Station has been recognised with the unveiling of a blue plaque in honour of the men who protected the nation from the kaiser's air force and navy.

The regional headquarters of the Royal Naval Air Service was based in Regent Street from 1913 to 1920, and during the war it co-ordinated the actions of 36 planes and 300 airmen and crew.

They were tasked with shooting down and harassing Zeppelin bombers, locating enemy U-boats and torpedo boats and bombing the German coast.

One of the pilots was the celebrated air commodore, Sir Egbert Cadbury, of the chocolate manufacturing dynasty, who shot down Zeppelin L70 during one of the last German bombing raids of the war. And Henry Allingham, now the world's oldest man at 113, also received training at the Regent Street building.

One of their illustrious successors in the Fleet Air Arm, former Rear Admiral Scott Lidbetter, who flew Royal Navy Sea Harriers and captained the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, unveiled the plaque on Monday. Praising the role of the Yarmouth-based air station, he said: “They were instrumental in harassing Zeppelins which had flown from the continent. I am delighted the Yarmouth headquarters is now emblazoned with a blue plaque.”

Yarmouth was one of eight RNAS stations created before the great war to combat the aerial threat. At the tail-end of the conflict, the RNAS became part of the fledgling Royal Air Force. During the war planes flew from South Denes in Yarmouth and from Hickling and were supported by supplementary landing grounds at Burgh Castle, Bacton and Covehithe, near Southwold.

Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society installed the plaque at the building, which was the office of the EDP and its sister paper, the Great Yarmouth Mercury, until last April. The building is being converted into three maisonettes and a shop.

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