John WHEELER
Rank: Private
Number: 27591
Unit: 3rd (reserve) Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 1 April 1916
Age: 19
Cemetery: Cleethorpes Cemetery

John was born in Stockport and lived with his family at 7 Tame Street in the Portwood area. He had not been in the army long and was still in training.

During the evening of 31 March, John and comrades settled into a new billet in the Baptist Chapel on Alexandra Road, Cleethorpes. It was a normal evening and they could not have known that, for many of them, it would be their last.

Seven German Zeppelins had left their base and headed towards London and the east coast of England. Most attacked towards the south of the country, but Zeppelin L22, commanded by Max Dietrich, headed further north. It arrived over Cleethorpes just after midnight. Reports indicated that it then appeared to turn away from the town but returned and started to drop bombs. The first was a direct hit on the Chapel. John and 30 of his comrades were killed. Over 50 more were injured.

Dietrich, of course, could not have known that he had, in fact, hit a military target. L22 had made its first flight only the month before and would make 30 reconnaissance flights and 8 bombing missions before it was shot down on 14 May 1917 over the North Sea.

   
           
   
     
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