On August 5th 1918, this de Havilland Airco DH4 NO.A8032 flown by Major Egbert Cadbury, Commanding Officer 212 Sqn and his Observer/Gunner Major Robert Leckie (Commanding Officer 228 Sqn.) engaged and successfully destroyed the huge, 7-engined German Navy Zeppelin LZ-70 as it approached the Norfolk coast with three other airships on a bombing raid against England. At this time, it was the world’s largest airship and the Imperial German Navy’s flagship Zeppelin.
After climbing to 10,000 ft Cadbury and Leckie saw the four Zeppelins in the evening light and made for the vast leading Zeppelin. At 16,400 ft they attacked the LZ-70 head-on and slightly to port. Leckie fired bursts of tracer fire from his Lewis machine gun as they passed along the huge airship, setting it on fire. In just 45 seconds the whole airship was ablaze and plunged in a fiery death into the North Sea off the Norfolk coast. Every man aboard perished including Germany’s most senior naval airship commander Fregattenkapitan Peter Strasser.
For this action Major Cadbury and Major Leckie were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and made a convincing point to the German High Command that bombing raids by Zeppelins were now, a too-costly and too-deadly effort to their crews to continue in practice.
Copyright Image and Text Simon W. Atack