Dover in the First World War - Bombing and Shelling
To Dover goes the dubious honour of being the place where the first bomb fell on British soil. It was Christmas Eve 1914, the weather bright sunny, when at around midday a German plane was spotted over the town. Its pilot Lieutenant von Prondzynski leaned over the side of his plane and saw Dover Castle and the great naval harbour some 5,000 feet below him. He lifted his bomb in both hands as his knees held his “joy stick” to keep the plane under control, heaving the bomb over the side of the plane he let it fall.
The tiny bomb landed in the garden adjoining St James’s Rectory and made a crater about four or five feet deep. The blast smashed some windows in the Rectory and knocked the gardener, Mr James Banks, out of a tree he was pruning.By the end of the First World War 184 bombs dropped from enemy aircraft and 23 shells fired by enemy ships had fallen on the town. There were 113 air-raids in all, 23 people were killed and 71 injured.
The bomb dropped towards the Castle but Lt. Prondzynski was about 400 yards short of his target, no mean achievement in days when bomb aiming instruments were unknown.