Zeppelin just avoids crash as German airmen pose by planes in uncovered WW1 pics

This dramatic moment, when a First World World Zeppelin just misses a barracks, has emerged in an album of First World War pics.

The rare historic images show fascinating aerial shots as well as crashed planes and posing pilots.

Taken in Flanders, Belgium, by German airman Rudi Porta, they will be sold on Friday August 3 in Middle Claydon, Bucks.

Rudi Porta, of the Imperial German Flying Corps, was based in Flanders for the duration of the conflict.

There are several shots of German aircrew stood next to the wreckage of a downed British De Havilland biplane.

Remarkably, the two captured British pilots look upbeat as they give their German foes a tour of the plane controls in another example of the cordial spirit which existed between the two air forces in the conflict.

Porta can be seen posing in his flight attire and he took stunning aerial photos of German aircraft flying through the skies.

The album also provides an intriguing glimpse into the sheer scale of the feared Zeppelin which terrorised Britain in the early skirmishes of the war.

One snap reveals the inside of the 650ft long airship as it barely fits into a giant aircraft hangar.

Interspersed with dramatic snaps of aircraft wreckage are candid images of German soldiers hunting pheasant and letting their hair down at formal dinners.

The album has been consigned for sale by a private collector amd is tipped to sell for £600.

Auctioneer Louise Gostelow said: "It is a very interesting collection which was compiled by German pilot and photographer Rudi Porta.

"There are fascinating aerial and reconnaissance views and the photos of the inside of a Zeppelin and a hangar built for one reveals just how big they really were.

"It is quite humbling to look at these photos and reflect on how many of the people actually survived the war," she added.

The first Zeppelin raid over Britain was on January 19, 1915, with Norfolk coming under attack.

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To combat their threat, trials of explosive and phosphorus bullets were carried out and from July 1916 the machine gun drums of defending aircraft were routinely filled with a combination of this ammunition.

In total, Zeppelins made about 50 bombing raids on Britain during the war with 557 people killed and 1,358 injured.

About 30 Zeppelins were shot down or lost in accidents.

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