Accident Zeppelin LZ.48 L.15,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 867
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Date:Saturday 1 April 1916
Time:00:15 LT
Type:Zeppelin LZ.48
Owner/operator:Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy)
Registration: L.15
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 17
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Thames Estuary, near the Kentish Knock Lightship, off Margate, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:Hage, East Frisian Islands, Lower Saxony, Germany
Destination airport:Hage, East Frisian Islands, Lower Saxony, Germany
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Zeppelin L.15 (MSN LZ.48), Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy). Set out from Hage, East Frisian Islands, Lower Saxony, Germany. Damaged by ground fire from Dartford AA battery during a raid on London on the night of 31 March/1 April 1916, The commander of the L.15 was Kapitanleutnant Joachim Breithaupt. On the 31st March 1916 (note date!), at 21.45 hours, the L.15 received a direct hit from the AA gun at Purfleet, Essex.

The AA shell damaged four of the gas cells (numbers 9, 11, 12, and 16), and the L.15 began to lose height - despite the crew chucking out everything, to lose weight. While the L.15 got closer to earth, it was attacked by 2nd Lt Alfred de Bathe Brandon RFC, 19 RA Sqn RFC (Hainault Farm), in a BE 2c. Brandon climbed above the L.15 and tried to destroy it by dropping incendiary bombs, and Ranken darts onto the top of the hull. He was not successful.

But eventually the Zeppelin became too heavy to fly, and she came down in the sea 15 miles north of Margate at 00.15 (1st April) - close to the Kentish Knock lightship. One crew member, ObsigMt Willy Albrecht, was drowned. The rest of the crew (16 members in total) were rescued by the armed trawler Olivine (and then transferred to HMS Vulture).

The sodden, half-sunk remains of the L.15 were then taken under tow but the airship broke up off Westgate and only small sections were hauled ashore, where parts were obviously liberated by souvenir hunters. Eventually the sea reclaimed what was left of the airship on the beach.


1. Puget Sound Airship Society.
2. German Air Raids On Great Britain 1914-1918 / Joseph Morris
3. Flight Magazine August 31 1916 p.740 at

Revision history:

23-Jan-2008 05:00 ASN archive Added
24-Jan-2008 09:12 JINX Updated
25-Oct-2011 12:53 harro Updated [Location, Phase, Source, Embed code]
13-Feb-2017 21:09 Dr.John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Total occupants, Location, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
25-Nov-2018 19:26 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator]
29-Nov-2018 17:17 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator]
03-Dec-2018 21:27 Dr.John Smith Updated [Date, Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Dec-2018 21:29 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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