The Zeebrugge Raid 1918

A Story of Courage and Sacrifice Told Through Newspaper Reports, Official Documents and the Accounts of Those Who Were There

Paul Kendall

Date Published :
July 2016
Publisher :
Frontline Books
Series :
Voices from the Past
Illustration :
32 illustrations in plate section
No associated books available.


Approximately a third of all Allied merchant vessels sunk during the First World War were by German boats and submarines based at Bruge-Zeebrugge on the coast of Belgium. By 1918 it was feared that Britain would be starved into surrender unless the enemy raiders could be stopped.

A daring plan was therefore devised to sail directly into the heavily defended port of Zeebrugge and then to sink three obsolete cruisers in the harbour in the hope they would block German vessels from reaching the English Channel. The cruisers were also to be accompanied by two old submarines, which were filled with explosives to blow up the viaduct connecting the mole to the shore, whilst 200 Marines were to be landed to destroy German gun positions at the entrance to the Bruges Canal.

On 23 April the most ambitious amphibious raid of the First World War was carried out, told here through a huge collection of personal accounts and official reports on the bitter fighting which saw more than 500 British casualties from the 1,700 men who took part, and saw the awarding of eight Victoria Crosses.

About The Author

Educated at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, where he also served as an Honorary Midshipman with the University of London Royal Naval Unit, Paul Kendall is a military historian and author from Kent specializing in the First World War.


"With a further elaborate sub-heading 'A Story of Courage and Sacrifice Told Through Newspaper Reports, Official Documents and the Accounts of Those Who Were There' just about sums the book up in one sentence. Broken down into 28 bite-size chapters, The Zeebrugge Raid is a 'blow-by-blow' account of the action through the eyes of those who were actually there rather than from a historian's viewpoint. Eight pages of black and white photographs, a single plan and a comprehension section on Notes and Reference all combine to make this one of the most comprehensive and detailed accounts of this famous raid to date."

- Military Modelling

"A story of courage and sacrifice told through official documents, newspaper reports and the first-hand accounts of those who were there. On 23rd April 1918, the Royal Navy embarked on a daring operation to scuttle three old cruisers in the entrance to the Bruges Canal at Zeebrugge in an attempt to prevent the U-Boats which has wrought havoc in the waters around the UK during the war from using their base. Two submarines packed with explosives were also going to be used to blow up a viaduct connecting the Mole to the shore, while 200 Marines were to destroy the Germans' gun positions at the entrance to the canal. This then is the account, often told in first-hand eyewitness form, of one of the most ambitious raids of the Great War. The fighting at Zeebrugge resulted in over 500 British casualties, out of a total strength of 1,700. The raid resulted in the awarding of eight Victoria Crosses. The author skilfully weaves the personal accounts into his informative, detailed and well written narrative and thus it makes for riveting reading as we follow the events and people involved as they unfold. I had no trouble at all in selecting this as the Editor's Choice this month,standing, as it does head and shoulders above everything else, and I highly recommend it."

- Great War Magazine

"Nearly a decade ago, Paul Kendall compiled what was - and probably remains - the definitive account of the world's first commando raid, Zeebrugge"

- Navy News

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