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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

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.
Maps showing where the bombs and shells fell on Dover during the First World War. Civilians sheltering in the vaults under the Phoenix Brewery.
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.  
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