‘We must not base extravagant hopes or fears on the exploits of aeroplanes’
Zeppelin LZ7, a German airship used in 1910, similar to the airships used at the outbreak of the war. Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, LC-B2- 2241-13

‘We must not base extravagant hopes or fears on the exploits of aeroplanes’

The Irish Times question the value of aeroplanes during wartime.

Dublin, 19 August 1914 - The Irish Times has written today about the value of aeroplanes and airships in the war: ‘We have as yet heard little or nothing of the famous German Zeppelins, but aeroplanes have so far failed as weapons of destruction. They have not, as they do in the stories, reduced any cities to ruins or cut up army corps.’ The Times mention how the four attacks made by the Germans using airships since the outbreak of the war have caused little damage and casualties.

'Aeroplanes have proved surprisingly immune from attack. A certain number of cases are reported in which aviators have been brought down by fire from the ground, but they are few in comparison with the number of successful flights which appear to have been made over hostile territory. '

'The principal role object of aircraft in the war is to collect information and the paper comments how they are of real value as scouts, ‘but no one should imagine that it is only necessary to fly over a piece of country in order to find out exactly all that is happening there. Even if the aviator ventures far below the safety line, he has to make his observation from a height. In addition, he is liable to be confused by the noise of his motor and rush of air. We must not, therefore, base extravagant hopes or fears on the exploits of aeroplanes.’

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.