The R26 Airship

The R26 in flight.

Part of the 23 class airships the newly titled R26 was built a little later than her sisters. Previous 23 class airships were given a prefix HMA followed by a number and small r, hence HMA 23r, HMA 24r, and HMA 25r. She benefitted from the experience gained on these earlier versions and so avoided many of the weight issues. Constructed at Barrow by Vickers she was launched in March 1918. In Oct 1918 she flew over London as part of the Lords Mayor Show.


Following the Armistice in Nov she escorted the surrendered German U-boats into Harwich along with HMA 23r. She then took part in mooring experiments but was badly damaged by heavy rain and snow falls and was deleted in March 1918.

Some of the known R26 crew.

Major H W Watt

W H.W. Watt joined the Royal Naval Reserve in 1914. From 1914 to 1916 he took part in naval patrols then transferred to the R.N.A.S. (Airship Section) becoming Captain of Non Rigids. In 1918 he was appointed Captain of R26 and then transferred to Pulham taking part in airship mooring experiments and retired in 1920 to New Zealand. However with the launch of the R100/R101 airship projects he came back to The Royal Airship Works at Cardington in 1929. He was trained to take charge of Karachi Airport an anticipated stop off point for the proposed new commercial airship service.

Rigger Leslie Moncrieff joined the RNAS in August 1915. He served on the R9 and later on rigids HMA 23r, HMA 25r, R26, R33, and in 1929 joined the R100.

Capt T B Williams mentions the R26 in his book shown left. This is a great read giving us an insight into the airship world.

T B Williams
Harold Butler Wyn Evans.

Shown left: Harold Butler Wyn Evans. In 1916 he was Admiralty Overseer for H.M. Rigid Airships and worked on airship R9. In 1917 he became Chief Admiralty Overseer and was attached to airships R23 and R26. He later worked on airships R29, R33 and R38. From 1924 to 1926 he was Officer in Charge of Design, Research & Construction of H.M. Airships at Cardington. (With grateful thanks to Christine Dalton the grand-daughter of Harold Wyn Evans for providing this information. For more details about Harold see his biography written by Christine in the Notable People Section of this website). airship service.