Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chocs Away for a Fun Family Day; There's a Chance to Rise above the Festive Hubbub at the Lit & Phil This Weekend, as DAVID WHETSTONE Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chocs Away for a Fun Family Day; There's a Chance to Rise above the Festive Hubbub at the Lit & Phil This Weekend, as DAVID WHETSTONE Reports

Article excerpt

THEY'RE taking flight this weekend at Newcastle's Lit & Phil, where a million stories - no exaggeration, surely - roost on the many shelves.

Flight is the theme of the library's Family Open Day on Saturday, and a Zeppelin airship is to be one of the main attractions.

Not a real one, of course (the real Zeppelins were just short of 800ft long and 100ft in diameter - so not designed to get in through the door of a members' library).

But this is a scale model - a stillsubstantial 9ft long - of Zeppelin L34, which was shot down off Hartlepool on the night of November 27, 1916.

It was made by Lit & Phil member David Kidd, from Newcastle. Zeppelin raids were a First World War menace over Britain. The captain of L34 was Max Dietrich, uncle of actress Marlene Dietrich.

On that fateful night he and his crew dropped 16 bombs over West Hartlepool as they were heading back out to sea, damaging 40 houses, killing four people and injuring 34.

Before the airship could escape, it was spotted by 20-year-old Second Lieutenant Ian Pyott of the Royal Flying Corps, stationed at Seaton Carew with 36 Squadron.

Pyott, who was from South Africa, followed the airship for five miles in his single engine biplane and fired 71 rounds at it before it burst into flames.

He was forced to dive rapidly but still suffered burns to his face. L34 plummeted into the sea at 11.50pm and the flaming wreckage could be seen for miles.

Dietrich and his crew of 19 were all killed and Pyott was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

Displayed alongside Mr Kidd's airship will be a model of Pyott's biplane on the same scale, giving an idea of this David-and-Goliath encounter.

There will also a small exhibition of the Lit & Phil's books about flight (it has books about everything and from all different eras).

At 11.30am and 2pm the Centre for Life will be in the library to present Flights of Fancy, a show about the science of flight from hot air balloons to modern jet engines. …

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