Zeppelin at Mudros 1917: Traces?

By Steve Moore

Finally after two years of the plague, we were able to return to Lemnos in July this year for our annual trip.

On previous visits to this wonderful island we had visited many Gallipoli related sites, and of course did so again this year! This time we had a new and specific location to look for; the site(s) of the bomb craters from the 1917 raid by Zeppelin LZ 101.

Thanks to Bernard de Broglio and his article in the ‘14-18’ Journal, published by the Australian Society of Aero Historians, and his link to the 1916 ’Chart of Port Mudros’; we were able to use the bomb crater map and Google Earth to identify the locations where the 23 bombs (four unexploded) landed.

For various reasons including crops still in fields and large angry dogs, we decided to concentrate on the area to the South East of the town of Mudros, where 5 bombs fell in a field.

Approximately 400m yards out of town on the Fanaraki road, there is a dirt road to the left which if followed, leads through the back streets of Mudros via ANZAC Street, onto the road that leads to East Mudros CWGC cemetery. Immediately taking the smaller track to the right, leads to a small farm in cultivated fields.

I had printed off Bernie’s photograph of the crew of HMS Agamemnon with local children in a bomb crater and showed it to the ancient farmer, who was looking slightly bemused at four Brits of a certain age, who had struggled up the rough track to his farm in a seriously abused hire car.

After showing him the print and a photograph of a Zeppelin, he called his neighbour over from the shade and in very passable English (compared to my Greek) said “oh yes, my mother told me of this, they landed in that field there” and pointed... His friend was less impressed and on carefully studying the photograph of the sailors and children, solemnly announced – “but they are all dead now”...

The farmer gave us permission to go into the fields, but other than two large old wells, interestingly at the approximate location of two of the bombs, there was nothing Zeppelin related to see. Not unexpected really, as the area has been ploughed regularly for the last 100 plus years.  

When we left we shook hands and I left him with the print of the sailors and children, which seemed to go down really well. (When in doubt in Lemnos, talk to local folks and ask; they are generally so helpful and friendly) 

All was not lost however with traces of the Zeppelin raid. Just before the airport, on the Mudros to Myrina road, we found this sign outside a derelict night club. Coincidence or someone with a knowledge of local history?

The history of the Zeppelin raid on Mudros can be found in Volume 1 of the 2021 journal of the Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians. An abridged account was featured in Neo Kosmos in August 2021.