History KS1 / KS2: Z is for Zeppelin

Newsreel, photographs and a school child’s commentary give an account of the Zeppelin raids on Britain which began in January 1915.

This was the first time civilian populations had been attacked from the air.

Around 1,400 British people were killed in the Zeppelin raids, which also caused widespread damage.

In a dramatic monologue, Stanley Joseph Grimes, aged 10, tells us about the Zeppelins he saw on their way to bomb London.

He recalls seeing the wreckage of a Zeppelin that was shot down at Cuffley near Potters Bar, in 1916.

This was the first Zeppelin to be brought down on British soil.

Zeppelins would never again enjoy a reputation for being ‘invincible’.

This clip is from the series WW1 A to Z.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 1

Pupils could use toy balloons filled with helium to investigate how Zeppelins were able to fly.

Explain that helium is a gas lighter than air and that is why the balloons float.

Zeppelins were filled hydrogen, another gas lighter than air.

The children could test their toy helium balloons by taping weights to them.

How much weight can a toy balloon carry and still get off the ground?

Key Stage 2

Pupils could locate Cuffley on a map of the UK.

They could search online using the search term ‘Cuffley Zeppelin’ to find out more about the airship Stanley Grimes describes.

Newsreel items, first-hand accounts, letters and newspaper reports are all freely available for study.

Pupils could write a short story ‘Night of the Zeppelin’ describing the events of 3rd September 1916.

Why do they think the story of the Cuffley Zeppelin was so widely reported by the British press?

Curriculum Notes

This clip is relevant for teaching History at primary school ages for Key Stages 1 and 2, or First and Second Level.

More from the series WW1 A to Z

Y is for Your Country Needs You
A is for Archduke Franz Ferdinand
B is for Battalions