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Home Front: A Lightening

Charlie Clements and Ann Mitchell star in a special edition of Home Front, marking the centenary of Britain's first Gotha air raid, which devastated Folkestone on 25 May 1917.

By Sarah Daniels. A special edition of Home Front, marking the centenary of Britain's first Gotha Air Raid, which devastated Folkestone on 25 May 1917. Weaving real historical figures and testimony with the stories and characters of Home Front, Sarah Daniels pays tribute to the people who died in this sudden, shocking atrocity.

Written by Sarah Daniels
Sound by Martha Littlehailes
Directed by Jessica Dromgoole

Friday 25 May 1917 marked the beginning of the Whitsun weekend, and shoppers queued in Tontine Street outside Stokes Greengrocers, who had put word around town that they were stocking fresh potatoes on that day. A squadron of Gotha planes who had attempted an attack on London, were returning unsuccessful, and tried their luck bombing the railway line that took thousands of soldiers daily to the coast.

Some planes attacked Shorncliffe Camp, killing 18, mainly Canadians, while others swept east across the town. A single bomb was dropped on Tontine Street at 6.22pm (breaking the clock of the Congregational Church). It killed 63 - 10 men, 28 women and 25 children. More than 100 were injured.

On Thursday 25 May 2017, the first plaque commemorating the victims will be unveiled in Folkestone.

Available now

45 minutes

More Home Front

Listen to the daily episode for 25 May 1917 from Season 10 of Home Front.


Role Contributor
Alfred Vane Charlie Clements
Mary Stokes Ann Mitchell
Jessie Moore Lucy Hutchinson
Ivy Lizzy Watts
Dennis Sam Swann
Noah Finn Monteath
The Apple Yonatan Roodner
Kitty Ami Metcalf
Nancy Jane Whittenshaw
William Stokes James Lailey
Maggie Hollie Thoupos
Writer Sarah Daniels
Director Jessica Dromgoole


The Characters

The Characters

Set in Folkestone, Tyneside and Devon, meet the characters of Home Front.