Thursday, 28 August 2014

Wulstan Tempest

Ok now I will tell you a little about Wulstan Tempest yeah I know you are thinking who the hell was Wulstan Tempest well he was the guy who shot down Heinrich Mathy during the First World War.

He received the DSO for his actions, I will tell you more about what the DSO is in a later post.

At about 11.45 pm on the 2nd January 1916 Second Lieutenant Wulstan J. Tempest was approximately two hours into his patrol. A large portion of this time had been spent in climbing to bring his BE2c plane to its patrolling height of about 14,500 feet - over two and a half miles high. From this height he saw several of the searchlights to the North of London - about fifteen miles away - converge upon one distant, silvery, cigar-shaped object.

Tempest, of course, knew exactly what he was looking at, and headed towards the Zeppelin at top speed. He was not the only part of London's air-defence to have been jolted into action that night - by the time he got closer to the Zeppelin he found himself flying through large amounts of anti-aircraft fire as more and more batteries began firing at the airship.

Tempest closed with the airship and dived at it, firing a burst from his machine-gun as he approached, and another burst into the underside of the L31 as he passed below. His gun was loaded with a mixture of tracer, incendiary and ordinary ammunition, so he could see that he was hitting his target, but nothing happened.

Tempest got into position under the tail of the ship and fired a long burst as he flew along its length. He saw the envelope begin to glow from the inside like "a giant chinese-lantern" and then flames began to spurt out of the forward end and almost at once, it seemed, the Zeppelin began to fall.

He was soon promoted to Major and served with 100 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, operating night-bombers on the Western Front, eventually commanding the unit until June 1918. He left the RAF in 1921 and died in 1966.


  1. I remember watching a show that mentioned how hard it was to bring the zeppelins down- until they figured out the trick- rake the shots around. Well done, Jo-Anne and Wulstan!

    1. Thank you I hadn't heard of them till I saw a documentary about them

  2. I never would have thought that zeppelins were all that hard to shoot down. Thanks for the story!

    1. No me neither I learnt something oh yeah I also learnt there were Zeppelins since I had not heard of them before

  3. Nice piece of writing. It gives me a sense of deja-vu.



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