Lewes man writes book that charts grim years of conflict


A secret First World War map showing the routes of German bombing planes over London and the Thames Estuary has been published for the first time in a book by a Lewes man.

Mapping the First World War, by Dr Peter Chasseaud, was released this week by Collins in Association with IWM (Imperial War Museums).

university of brighton gallery  drawing apon drawing'carolyn trant and peter chasseud

university of brighton gallery drawing apon drawing'carolyn trant and peter chasseud

The official map, which was not for public consumption, shows the paths of 16 German aeroplanes, as they fly across Kent and Essex into London during an air raid on December 6, 1917.

The book features more than 150 maps from the IWM archives, many of which haven’t been published since the First World War.

Strategic bombing campaigns, more commonly associated with the Second World War, were a feature of the conflict right from the beginning. The first Zeppelin raid on Britain took place on the evening of January 19, 1915, when two airships bombed Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn in Norfolk, killing nine people.

More raids followed on coastal towns and also on London during 1915 and 1916. In all there were 52 Zeppelin raids on Britain during the war, killing more than 500 people.

Large scale raids on Britain by Gotha IV bombers began in May 1917. The first daylight raid on London, on June 13, killed 162 people, including 18 children in a primary school in Poplar, and injured 432. In all, Gothas carried out 22 raids on England, dropping 186,830lb (84,740kg) of bombs for the loss of 61 aircraft.

Mapping the First World War, priced at £30, tells the story from 1914 to 1918 through a unique collection of historical maps, photographs and expert commentary from Dr Chasseaud, historian of military cartography.

The book features an extensive variety of often visually striking images ranging from small-scale maps showing country boundaries and occupied territories to large-scale maps of key battles and offensives, trench maps depicting detailed front line positions, naval and air charts, maps from newspapers and propaganda.

The book also features remarkable aerial photography, and before and after pictures which combine with the maps to plot the history of the war and clearly show the position of the Allied and Central powers in key offensives on all fronts, as well as telling the story of the war in the air and at sea.