Even before the outbreak of the first World War, aviation had made its presence felt in the East Riding of Yorkshire, with visits from many of the leading aviation pioneers including Gustav Hamel and Harry Hawker. It was, however, the outbreak of the war in 1914 and the arrival of the German Zeppelins which led to the establishment of the first official air bases in the area. In fact the first ever enemy attacks upon Yorkshire from the German navy when they bombarded Scarborough and Whitby on 16 December 1914. On June 6 1915, however, threat became reality when a Zeppelin bombed Hull, killing 24 people and injuring 40. For the next four years the landing grounds and marine stations in the East Riding served as bases for British aircraft and airships which were defending the East Riding towns and coastal shipping from air and sea attack. Geoffrey Simmons tells something of the bravery and expertise of the men who flew the primitive machines of the time, often in appalling weather at night, from these little known bases.