In early September 1916, all that changed when ‘Billy’ Leefe Robinson shot down a wooden-framed Army airship, the SL.11, in flames over Cuffley. The lower picture shows the centre section of the upper wing of his BE2 which he had fired through in his efforts to down the airship. You can see the Lewis gun mounted centrally just in front of the rear cockpit. It was the first raider to be brought down in plain sight of the civilian populace and Robinson was awarded the Victoria Cross for his achievement: it also brought him fame and public adulation. Robinson’s success had been mainly due to newly-developed incendiary explosive bullets that ignited the airship’s hydrogen-filled gas cells with cataclysmic results. His feat was soon repeated.