The Gotha Air Raid on London, 28 January 1918

A raid on London, on the night of Monday, 28 January1918 saw one of  3 enemy Gotha bombers being brought down by two RFC aircraft acting as scouts.

The names of the two airmen who brought down the aircraft, a German Gotha, were given as Capt. G.H.Hackwill, RFC,   aged 26, (from Langtree, N.Devon)  ex-Somerset Light Infantry, and Lieut. C.C.Banks,  RFC, ex-Royal Welch Fusiliers (transferred May of 1917).

Another eye-witness account of the event ran: "One Gotha, apparently lame, banged and bumped her way homewards in apparent safety, until the moon  showed her up against the background of the sky. 'Archies' roared out at her, the face of the moon was covered with little smoke-clouds, and the Gotha tuned from the barrage, wheeled in the sky, and droned on-only to meet more guns. Then the guns ceased again and gave way to the machine-gun cackle, and suddenly the raider turned over and came down in flames". A local farmer is said to have been the first to reach the scene of the crash immediately afterwards, and saw the three bodies of the crew.

In his official communique   issued on the Air Raid, Viscount French as the Officer Commanding -in Chief the Home Forces, makes this reference to the bringing down of one of the raiding aircraft: "A number of aircraft of the RFC went up. Two of our scouts encountered an enemy aeroplane over Essex. After a brief fight at close range the raider took fire and fell in flames to the ground10,000 ft. below. All three members of its crew were burnt to death".

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3 photographs taken soon after the crash


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