Roll of Honour.

Chatham Naval Memorial.
Memorial to the UK & US R38 crash victims at Hull.

Here we commemorate British men who have lost their lives whilst serving on airships. During WW1 some 63 men were killed, some on the ground either in handler accidents, gas explosions or fires in sheds, or hit by propellers. Others were drowned following crashes at sea, and some were shot down by the enemy. After the war a further 85 men lost their lives in just three incidents with the loss of the NS11, R38 and R101 airships. (This figure does not include the 14 US men who also died in the R38 crash).


In 1915 Britain suffered a series of Zeppelin raids and the government responded by commissioning new airships. Prior to 1914 only a handful of airships had been built in this country and came under the umbrella of the British Army, responsibility later passed to the Royal Navy. Wartime airships were used to escort ships around the coast and to search for German submarines. They were small and initially had crews of only 2-4 men but rapidly developed to carry bigger crews and to fly for longer hours. Given the urgency to produce these airships with little previous expertise to build on, one can only admire individuals at all levels who signed up to what was a rather precarious programme, no doubt fuelled by a real passion for flight.


The list is by no means complete as there are most likely other pre-war and wartime casualties yet to be discovered. Here at least we can salute those we know about.

Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton.
Panel at Hollybrook Memorial listing the four crew of the C25. Photo shown with kind permssion of Susan Hyam via Find a Grave.

23.04.1915. Accident at R.N.A.S. Kingsnorth. Handler fell to his death when HMA4 attempted to land.

HMA No 4. Ref IWM Q 48040.

Leading Mechanic William James Standford was killed in an accident at Kingsnorth Airship Station. He was part of a handling team guiding the approaching HMA No 4 back to land. However a sudden gust of wind caused the airship to swing back upwards and handlers were ordered to let go of their ropes. Sadly William Standford was swept up with his rope and despite frantic efforts by the crew to land the ship he sadly fell to his death. He was 23 years old. (Source - South East History Boards.)

Ldg Mech William James Standford. Buried at Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery. Kent. Aged 23.

28.07.1915. Explosion in an airship shed at R.N.A.S Wormwood Scrubs. Two fatalities.

The explosion as reported in the New Zealand Evening Post dated 31.07.1915. Given that there was a general news blackout in wartime Britain it is a bit of a mystery how this got to be reported in New Zealand.
Air Mechanic 2nd Class George W C Heydon. Buried at Folkstone (Cheriton Rd) Cemetery. Aged 21.
Air Mechanic 1st Class Frederick J Westerman. Memorial at Hammersmith Old Cemetery. Aged 28.

21.02.1916 R.N.A.S Kingsnorth. Accident during a test when an airplane was suspended from an airship. Two fatalities.

Extract from the Flight Magazine 24th February 1916 announcing the deaths of Wing Commander Usborne and Commander Ireland.

On 21st February 1916 Wing Commander Neville Florian Usborne and Squadron Commander de Courcy Wyndor Plunkett Ireland both lost their lives taking part in a trial involving an airplane and an airship.

Some preliminary testing had already taken place on the feasibility of suspending an airplane from an airship to take out on patrols. On spotting any zeppelin the plane could then be releasing midair to pursue the enemy. The two men set off in a B.E.2c No.989 suspended from airship A.P.1 from Kingsnorth but as the airship gained altitude a loss of pressure caused it to collapse onto the plane which overturned throwing out Commander Ireland who plummeted into the sea and drowned. The plane then crashed into a goods yard at Strood Railway Station, Medway, in Kent killing Wing Commander Usborne.


Shown left, an announcement in the Flight Magazine of the deaths of Wing Commander Usborne and Commander Ireland.
"Commander NEVILLE FLORIAN USBORNE, R.N. (Wing Commander, R.N.), who is officially reported to have been killed on February 21st, became a midshipman in September, 1898, and in qualifying for the rank of lieutenant won the Ryder Memorial Prize, which is awarded to the sub-lieutenant who passes the best examination in French at the Royal Naval College. He specialised as torpedo lieutenant, and in submarine duties, and in 1905 qualified as an interpreter in German. Commander Usborne was best known for his work in connection with airships. He was appointed to the "Hermione" for service with airships in September, 1910, where he remained until January, 1912. In April of that year he became squadron-commander, Naval Airship Section, Royal Flying Corps, and in October, 1913, was given the command of Naval Airship No. 3. He was promoted commander and wing-commander in June, 1914."
"Lieutenant Commander de COURCY WYNDOR PLUNKETT IRELAND, who is reported to have been killed on February 21st, entered the Navy as a cadet in September, 1901, and was promoted Sub Lieutenant in November, 1904, and Lieutenant in 1906. He became lieutenant-commander in February 1914, and squadron commander in May of last year."

Wing Cdr Usborne, Buried at Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery. Kent. Aged 32.
Sqn Cdr de Courcy Wyndor Plunkett Ireland. Buried at Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery. Kent. Aged 31.

09.06.1916 C8 airship lost at sea. Three fatalities.

C8 airship at Kingsnorth. Ref IWM Q 70103.

The C.8 (Coastal Class) airship was built at Kingsnorth and was trialled in May 1916. On the 9th June 1916 she crashed in the Channel around Plymouth en route to Mullion airship base. Cause unknown. Her captain Flight Lieutenant Cecil William Dickinson, Chief Petty Officer Mechanics Ernest Bernard Ames and George Palmer all drowned. They are all commemorated at the Chatham Naval Memorial. (Source - IWM and CWGC.)

C8 Captain Flt Lt Cecil William Dickinson. Commemrated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 24.
CPO Mech George Palmer. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 28.
CPO Mech Ernest Bernard Ames. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 23.

09.09.1916 R.N.A.S Kingsnorth. Handler hit by propeller.


LAC2 Charles Edward Goff was killed in an accident at Kingsnorth Airship Station on 9th September 1916. According to records he was struck on the head by an airship propeller. More details of his life can be found in the Merton Wartime Generation Archives webpages.

LAC2 Charles Edward Goff. Buried at Tilehurst (St Michaels) Church Cemetery. Berkshire. Aged 33.

23.10.1916 SS.18 R.N.A.S. Anglesey. Wrecked at sea. One fatality.

The S.S.18 (Submarine Scout) suffered severe damage when attempting to land at Anglesey airship station and drifted away coming down in the Irish Sea. Crew member Air Mechanic 1st Class James William Young was killed in the wreckage. (Source - R.A.F Museum Story Vault.)

Air Mechanic 1st Class James William Young. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 24.

31.01.1917 Coastal airship C22. Accident at Mullion R.N.A.S. One fatality.

Air Mechanic 1st Class W H Hart was killed in an accident at R.N.A.S. Mullion in Cornwall on 31st January 1917. A.M. Hart who served on the C22 airship was struck by a propeller and later died of his injuries. He is buried at Enfield (Lavender Hill) Cemetery. Middx.

(Ref CWGC and www. rcawsey.co.uk).

A Mech 1 William Harry Hart. Aged 23.
A Mech 1 William Harry Hart. Buried at Enfield (Lavender Hill) Cemetery. Middx. Photo courtesy Find A Grave.

19.04.1917 Gas explosion at R.N.A.S Pulham. Two fatalities.

Two casualties were reported after an explosion at the gas plant at Pulhan Airship Station. Lt George Walker Wildman was killed instantly and Air Mechanic George Woolnough three days later. There is more information about Lt Walker on the Board of Trade Memorial website which commemorates former employees killed in service.

A.M.2 George Richard Woolnough. Buried at Woolwich Cemetery. Aged 26. Information kindly provided by Jackie Coutts.
Lt George Walker Wildman. Buried at Pulham St Mary Church. Norfolk. Aged 38.
Headstone Lt George Walker Wildman. Buried at Pulham St Mary Church. Norfolk. Aged 38. Photo shown with kind permissionn Jackie Coutts.

21.04.1917. Costal airship C17 shot down at sea. Five fatalities.

The C17 (Coastal) was based at Pulham. On 21st April 1917 captained by Flt- Sub-Lt Edward Jackson she set off on a routine coastal patrol with five crew on board. Contact was soon lost and it was later confirmed that the ship had been shot down over the North Sea at North Foreland Kent. No bodies were recovered. Flt-Sub-Lt Jackson, CPO Mech 3 Arthur Chivers, Ldg Mech David Farquar, and Air Mechanic John Monroe are all listed on the Commonwealth War Graves however the inscription refers to Airship C7 in error. (Source IWM Lives of the First World War).

Flt Sub-Lt Edward George Oliphant Jackson. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 26.
CPO Mech 3 Arthur Chivers. Commemorated at Chathan Naval Memorial. Aged 25.
Ldg Mech David Farquhar. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 25.
A Mech 2 John Monro. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 19.
Asst Paymaster Raymond Alfred Price Warlters. Commemorated at Plymoth Naval Memorial. (Shown right) Aged 32.
Extract from Plymouth Naval Memorial listing Raymond Warlters. (Photo shown with kind permission of Cliff Barry from Find A Grave).

23.04.1917 Coastal airship C11. RNAS Howden. Accident in fog. One fatality.

Coastal Airship C11 was based at Howden. On 23rd April 1917 the ship was returning from a patrol in heavy fog and ran into a hill near Scarborough. The ship was severely damaged and all the crew sustained injuries. Air Mechanic Percy Dear was critically injured and died five days later on 28th April 1917.

The inscription on the base of Percy Dears headstone shown right reads as follows: "THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY HIS OFFICERS AND COMRADES OF THE ROYAL NAVAL AIR STATION AT HOWDEN. YORKSHIRE."

A Mech 1. Percy Dear. Buried at Cambridge (Histon Road) Cemetery. Aged 22.
Headstone of AM1 Percy Dear (shown with kind permission of Find A Grave).

26.05.1917 Kingsnorth Airship Station. Fire in gas plant. Two fatalities.

Inquest of the gas explosion at Kingsnorth as reported in The Flight magazine June 7th 1917. A verdict of "Accidental death" was recorded.
Lieutenant Percy Towns Armstrong. Commemorated at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (St Nicholas) Cemetery. Aged 31.
Leading Mechanic C W Harris. Commemorated at Gillingham (Woodlands Cemetery) Kent. Full name and age unknown.

20.07.1917 S.S.39 Cranwell. Three handlers fell to their deaths when the airship was swept upwards.

A terrible accident at R.N.A.S Training Establishment Cranwell on 20.07.1917 resulted in the deaths of three servicemen. Following a routine training flight the S.S.39 (Submarine Scout) was being led into a shed by a handling party when it began to rise up. Whilst the majority of the handling team let go of their ropes as they were trained to do sadly three handlers were swept up with the ship and tragically fell to their deaths. Lt Col Clive Maitland Waterlow who was overseeing procedure was one of the men killed.. His death was a particular blow as he had long been associated with the airship programme originally under the umbrella of the army. (Source - Great War Lives Lost and the British Jews in the First World War website.)

Lt -Col Clive Maitland Waterlow. Commemorated at Leasingham St Andrews Church, Sleaford. Age 33.
Grave of Lt -Col Clive Maitland Waterlow. Photo shown courtesy of Military Historian via Find A Grave.
PO Air Mech Maurice George Collins. Commemorated in Wandsworth (Earlesfield) Cemetery. Aged 22.
Grave of P.O Maurice Collins. Photo courtesy of Fulhamrocks via Find A Grave.
Air Mech 2. Simon Lightstone. Aged 19. Buried at Plashet Jewish Cemetery. East Ham, London. Headstone shown right.
Gravstone of A.M.2 Simon Lightstone. Photo courtesy of Boreenatra via Find A Grave.

21.07.1917 Coastal Airship C11a. R.N.A.S. Howden. Ship came down in River Humber. Four fatalities.

Verdict of "Accidental Deaths" reported in the press.

Shown left is a press report of the inquests of four men who lost their lives when airship C11a burst into flames and came down in the River Humber. East Yorks. Transcript below:

"VERDICT OF ACCIDENTAL DEATHS.

A verdict of accidental death was returned at inquests held on Tuesday on Louis Duncan Morrison (31), Flight- Commander R.N.A.S. William Baker Hervey, (33) Lieutenant R.N.A.S and Henry Richard Ward (19) Second Class Air Mechanic R.N.A.S who were drowned on the East Coast on Saturday. So far as a witness knew it was an accident.

“NAVAL HONOURS"

The remains of the late Flight-Commander Morrison were accorded full naval honours at the funeral on Tuesday. The remains were conveyed on a gun carriage and the Air Service and Navy paid their final tribute. Buglers sounded the last post and a firing party fired volleys over the grave.

HUMBERSIDE DISCOVERY -

An inquest was held at New Holland on the body recovered on the previous day. The remains were identified as those of Harold Frank Moore, an air mechanic. He was 19 years of age. Arthur Booth, a carpenter gave evidence of recovering the body. A verdict of accidental drowning was returned.”

*N.B. Ces Mowthorpe states that five men were killed in this accident in his book "Battlebags" but to date I can only find evidence of four so will continue researching. - Jane.

Flt Cmdr Louis Duncan Morrison. Buried at Western Cemetery, Hull. Aged 31.
Lt Willaim Baker Hervey. Buried at East Sheen Cemetery, Richmond. Aged 23. Photo courtesy of Laurin Espie via Find A Grave.
Air Mech 1. Harold Frank Moore. Buried at Dorchester Cemetery. Dorset. Aged 19. Photograph kindly sent in by Lisa Evans. Her grandmother Kathleen Appelbe was engaged to Frank.
Part headstone A.M.1 Frank Moore. Inscription reads: “Harold Frank Moore. Air Mechanic 1 Grade, who lost his life in an accident to an airship on July 21st 1917, aged 19. Grave inscription shown courtesy of Iain MacFarlaine via Find A Grave.
Air Mech 2. Harry Richard Ward, Buried at Rolvenden (St Mary) Churchyard, Kent. Aged 18. More details of this young man can be found in a publication of men listed on the Rolvenden War Memorial.
Grave of A.M.2 H.R.Ward. Photo courtesy of Peter Checksfield, via Find A Grave.

12.09.1917 S.S.42a. R.N.A.S. Pembroke. Airship wrecked at sea. Two fatalities.

The SS42a (Submarine Scout) airship based at Pembroke crashed into a farm building whilst landing in the dark. The damaged airship then drifted out to sea. The two crew members were reported missing presumed drowned.

Leading Mechanic Joseph Chorley Simpson. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 26.
Flt Sub-Lt John Walter Davies Cripps. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 21. (Source "Battlebags" Ces Mowthorpe.)

26.11.1917 S.S.P2 R.N.A.S Caldale. Airship lost at sea. Three fatalities.

The SSP2 (Sea Scout Pusher) operated from RNAS Caldale, Orkney. On a routine coastal patrol her pilot Ft Lt Edward Bourchier Devereux reported engine failure and requested assistance on returning to base. The ship was later spotted landing on the sea immediately followed by an explosion. All three of the crew on board were lost.

Ft Lt Edward Bourchier Devereux. Pilot. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 22. (Photo IWM Life Stories).
Air Mechanic 1 Albert Edwin Scott. Engineer. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Age unknown.
Leading Mechanic Edgar James Wilson. Wireless operator. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Age 22.

11.12.1917 Coastal airship C27 based at Pulham. Airship shot down at sea off the Norfolk Coast. Five fatalities.

Coastal airship C27 was based at Pulham, Norfolk. On the morning of Dec 11th 1917 the airship left Pulham to patrol the Norfolk coast. By mid-morning contact was lost. It was later confirmed that the ship had been shot down in flames and had crashed into the sea. All five crew on board were killed.

Flt-Lt John Francis Dixon D.S.C. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Age unknown.
Flt-Lt Herbert Hall. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 25.
AM2 Jack Collett. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 18.
AM1 James Ernest Martin. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Age unknown.
Australian AM1 Ernest Rogers Whyte. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Age 27. Photo from Bromley War Memorial webpage.
C27 airship. Ref IWM Q 27266

20.12.1917 S.S.Z7 based at R.N.A.S Polgate collided with S.S.Z10 in thick fog. One fatality.

On 20th December 1917 the S.S.Z.7 (Sea Scout Zero) with a three man crew set out from R.N.A.S Polgate on a routine patrol along the Sussex coast. Weather conditions soon deteriorated with a thick fog descending and the airship was ordered to return to base. The thickening fog made observations increasingly difficult and the airship moored down at Beachy Head along the coast. However, following fierce gales the ship was instructed to return to base, but the flight was further hampered by falling snow. Due to poor visibility the crew mistakenly believed the ship was approaching Polgate and collided with the moored S.S.Z10 at nearby Jevington. The collision caused both ships to catch fire. Two of the crew escaped but were badly injured, but the pilot Flt Sub-Lt. Richard Swallow was killed.

Flt Sub-Lt Richard Swallow. Buried at Ocklynge Cemetery, Eastbourne. Aged 26.
Headstone of Flt Sub-Lt Richard Swallow. Photo shown with kind permission of Danielle Wilson via Find A Grave.

21.12.1917 S.S.P4 based at R.N.A.S. Caldale. Orkney. Airship lost at sea during a heavy snowstorm. Three fatalities.

On 21st December 1917 SSP 4 (Sea Scout Pusher) was on submarine patrol to the north of the Orkney Isles. The airship ran into a severe snowstorm and despite earlier communications, all contact was lost. Wreckage of the ship was found the next day and returned to Caldale but none of the bodies of the three man crew were ever found. Source: Website of the Aviation Research Group Orkney & Shetland where a full report is recorded.

Flt Cdr William Frith Horner. Commemorated Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 22.
Leading Mechanic Ernest Frank Anthony. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memoral. Aged 21.
Air Mechanic 2 Rowland Charles Behn. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial. Aged 18.

13.04.1918 S.S.Z15 based at RAF Toller* in Dorset. Ship came down in sea. Three fatalities.

* Sometimes referred to as Bridport.

The S.S.Z 15 (Submarine Scout Zero Class) left Toller a sub-station of R.N.A.S Mullion in Cornwall on a routine channel patrol. It was spotted later that evening landing in the sea and boats were sent to assist. However none of the three man crew were on board and were missing presumed drowned.


The S.S.Z15
Lt George Robert John Parkinson. Aged 19.
Air Mechanic 2. Ernest Valentine Henry Hudson. Aged 18.
Air Mechanic 2. Roy Thornicroft James. Buried at St Marys Churchyard, Brixham. Aged 20.
Headstone A.M.2 Roy James. Photo courtesy Fulhamrocks. Find A Grave.

10.05.1918 C23a Mullion, Cornwall. Airship wrecked at sea. One fatality.

Airship 23a. Ref IWM Q28042

The C23a (Coastal Airship) was based at Mullion station in Cornwall. The ship came down at sea and whilst four of the crew were rescued Wireless Operator Albert William Robinson drowned.

AM2 Albert William Robinson. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial. Aged 19.

22.06.1918 N.S.3 based at RAF East Fortune. Ship came down in sea. Five fatalities.

The NS.3 was based at East Fortune, North Berwick, Scotland. On the evening of June 21st 1918 she set out on routine convoy duty only to run into very strong winds. The ship battled to return home to safety but eventually came down in the sea off Dunbar. Five crew were lost.

Chief Mech Charles William Printer. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 23.
Air Mech 2 Arthur Henry Page. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 20.
Air Mech 2. Stewart Sydney Bishop. Commemorated at Hollybrrok Memorial, Southampton. Aged 18.
Air Mech 2 John Mosscrop Cranmore. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 18.
Sgt Harry Hodgeson. Buried at Chingford Mount Cemetery, Waltham Forest. Aged 34. Grave shown right.
Headstone Sgt Harry Hodgeson buried at Chingford Mount Cemetery. Photo shown courtesy of Find A Grave.

25.07.1918 Kingsnorth. Rigger overcome with gas in airship shed.

Kingsnorth Airship Station.

On 26.07.1918 Rigger George Pendleton was overcome with gas in an airship shed at Kingsnorth.

(Ref CWGC and www. rcawsey.co.uk).


Air Mechanic 3. George Cecil Baden Pendleton. Buries at Liverpool (Everton) Cemetery. Aged 18.
Headstone George Pendleton shown with kind permission Mal H via Find a Grave.

31.07.1918 C25 based at East Fortune. Lost at sea believed shot down. Four fatalities.

The C25 (Coastal airship.)was based at East Fortune, Scotland. She disappeared on patrol on July 31st 1918 after leaving the base for Longside. It was presumed she had been shot down by a German U boat. Both ship and crew were never found. All crew are commemorated at the Hollybrook Memorial at Southampton.


Panel at Hollybrook Memorial listing the four crew of the C25. Photo shown with kind permssion of Susan Hyam via Find a Grave.
Capt Harry Robert Hopperton. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial., Southampton.
Cpl Louis Gray Faiers. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton.
A.M.1 Arthur Groves. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton.
A.M.2 Edward Kiddle Adkinson. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 25.

16.08.1918 R27. Howden. Ship caught fire in shed. One fatality.

The R27 was destroyed by fire whilst lodged in a shed at Howden. In a well meaning gesture a US crew began assembling an unauthorised airship in the shed. A spark ignited petrol resulting in a fire that rapidly spread though the shed. Private Austin Willaim Hicks was killed in the fire.

Shown left airship R27. (Image ref IWM Q 48019).

Pte 1 Austin William Hicks. Buried at Merthyr Tydfil (CEFN) Cemetery. Aged 20.

30.08.1918 S.S.T. 6 based at Kingsnorth. Ship caught fire on trial flight. Five fatalities.

The S.S.T. 6 (Sea Scout Twin) was delivered to Kingsnorth Airship Station on 29th of August 1918. Sadly the ship burst into flames on its first trial flight the following day resulting in the deaths of all five crew members on board.

Capt Charles King. Commemorated at Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery.
Capt Malcolm Bartlett. Buried at Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery. Aged 34.
Lt Wilfrid Righton. Buried at Cheriton (St Martin) Churchyard. Kent. Aged 29. Photo ref IWM.
Memorial stone for Wilfrid Righton. Photo shown with kind permission of Brad Evans via Find A Grave.
Sgt Donald Neil Cameron. Buried at Dores Parish Churchyard, Highlands.
A Mech 1 Reginald William Cowin. Buried at Douglas Cemetery, Isle of Man. Aged 21.

24.09.1918 Accident at Cranwell. Air Mechanic hit by propeller.

On September 24th 1918 Air Mechanic 3rd Class Frederick James Coombs was killed when hit by a rotating airship propeller at RAF Cranwell Airship Training centre.

(Ref CWGC and www. rcawsey.co.uk).

Air Mechanic 3 Frederick James Coombs. Buried at Croydon (Mitcham Rd) Cemetery, Greater London. Aged 18.
The gravestone of A.M.C.3 F. J. Coombs. Aged 18. (Photograph shown with kind permission from Bruce Fisher via Find A Grave.)

Post WW1 Fatalities.

15.07.1919 N.S. 11 based at Pulham Airship Station. Ship exploded over the sea. Nine fatalities.

The N.S. 11 (North Sea Scout) was one of a small group of airships retained after WW1 for mine sweeping duties. On July 15th 1919 the airship exploded over the sea north of Cromer, Norfolk, killing all 9 crew on board. The cause of the explosion was not established although there were suggestions that it was struck by lightning. Only one body of the crew was recovered – that of Sgt Charles Lewry. The remaining eight crew members are commemorated at the Hollybrook memorial at Southampton.

North Sea NS11 airship Photo ref Notts County Council Roll of Honour.
Panel extract from the Hollybrook Memorial listing the NS11 crew lost at sea.
Capt Walter Kemey Francis Goodall Warneford. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 24.
Capt Arthur Stanley Elliott DSC. Commemorated at Holybrook Memorial, Southampton.
Flt Sgt Charles O'Connor. Comemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 27.
Sgt Percy James Waghorn. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 26.
AC1 Frederick Cameron. Commemorated Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 20.
AC2 Thomas George Jarrett. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampto. Aged 22.
LAC Thomas Connelly. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton.
AC2 Alfred Thomas Jacques. Commemorated at Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. Aged 19.
Sgt Charles Henry Frederick Lewry. Buried at Ann's Hill Cemetery, Gosport, Hamps. Gravestone shown right.
Headstone Sgt Charles Henry Frederick Lewry. Shown with the kind permission of Carrie-Ann Salway via Find A Grave.

In depth information about this ship and crew can be found on www.ns11.org - a long standing website dedicated to the North Sea airships particularly the NS11.

24.08.1921 R38 crashed over the River Humber. 28 UK crew and officials killed along with 14 US crew and officers.


Memorial to the UK & US R38 crash victims at Hull.

Shown left is the memorial at Hull Cemetery for the 28 British crew and 14 US crew who were lost when the R38 airship crashed in the River Humber. More details of these men can be found in the R38 pages of this website.

Air Commodore Edward Maitland C M C, D S O. Aged 41.
C I R Campbell O.B.E. Supt Royal Airship Works.
Frank Warren Assistant Constructor RAW.
J R Pannell National Physics Laboratory,
C W Duffield National Physics Laboratory.
Flt Lt Ivor Cecil Little A F C Aged 25.
Flt Lt Rupert Samuel Montagu D. F. C. Aged 26.
Flight Lieutenant J E M Pritchard O B E, A F C.
Flight Lieutenant G M Thomas D F C.
Flying Officer Thomas Frederick Mathewson AFC. Aged 34.
Flying Officer Victor Houghton Wicks. Aged 29.
Flt Sgt William Hunter Greener. Aged 29.
Flight Sergeant S J Heath A F M.
Flt Sgt Alfred Thomas Martin. Aged 38.
Flight Sergeant John Rye. Aged 34.
Flight Sergeant Frank Smith. Aged 28. Photo shown with grateful thanks to David Glover.
Flight Sergeant Harold Thompson. Aged 25.
Sergeant Frederick Ernest Burton.
Sergeant J W Mason.
LAC G S Anger. Aged 31.
LAC William Oliver. Aged 29.
LAC John William Wilson. Aged 27.
ACI C W Donald. Aged 20.
ACI C John Cecil Drew.
ACI Charles William Penson. Aged 21. Photo courtesy Stephen Tapley. William Alvey School, Sleaford.
ACI Eric Edward Steere.
AC2 Roy Parker.
AC2 R Withington.

12.03.1927 LAC Ernest Dobbs lost his life in a Balloon Jumping accident.

LAC Ernest Arthur Dobbs "Brainy" Dobbs.

Below is an extract taken from a BBC News article by Bethan Bell published 31st Oct 2016.


"Aircraftman "Brainy" Dobbs was a fan of "balloon hopping" - a largely-forgotten sport of the 1920s which involved the participant being harnessed to a gas balloon before bouncing across the landscape. Dobbs, a parachutist in the RAF, was a trailblazer for the pastime. This came to an abrupt halt in 1927, when he was at Stag Lane aerodrome in Hendon, north London. Dobbs was making gigantic leaps across the field, rising to over 100 ft. and then settling back to earth before propelling himself once more into the air. Unfortunately he sailed into electric power cables and died.”

LAC Ernest Arthur Dobbs was known as “Brainy Dobbs” for his many scientific inventions. He had worked alongside Air Commodore Edward Maitland* and assisted in many of Maitland's experiments with parachutes and the development of rubber boats. Both men showed little fear when dropped from balloons testing their very experimental parachutes. LAC Dobbs served at Howden airship station and was responsible for the parachute training of the crews. This brave young man was only 26 years old when he was killed in the balloon hopping accident and certainly deserves his place on this Roll of Honour. He was born in Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, in London in 1900 and is buried at Chingford Mount Cemetery. His epitaph reads “In science he leaped to fame and in the cause he met his death.”


(*Air Commodore Maitland was killed in the R38 airship accident on Aug 24th 1921.)

04.10.1930 The R101 built at Cardington, Bedford, crashed in Beauvais, Francc. 48 fatalities.


R101 memorial to the 48 crash victims at Cardington, Bedford.

The much heralded R101 airship crashed in France on October 4th 1930 with the loss of 48 of the 54 men on board. The airship was to be the start of a worldwide commercial travel enterprise.


The crash caused the loss of some of the leading lights in airship innovation and sealed the end of British airship production.


More details of this ship and crew can be found in the R101 pages of this website.

The R101 crew.

W/T Operator George Kimberley Atkins. Aged 30.
Engineer Richard Blake. Aged 33.
Engineer Charles Arthur Burton. Aged 29.
Rigger Samuel Church. Aged 25.
Wireless Operator Frank Elliot. Aged 28.
Engineer Christopher Ferguson. Aged 36.
Rigger Henry Ford. Aged 27.
Rigger Percy Archdale Foster. Aged 28.
First Engineer William Rose Gent. Aged 53.
Cook Eric Anderson Graham. Aged 28.
Engineer Alfred C Hastings. Aged 30.
Ass Steward William Frank Hodnett. Aged 29.


Chief Cox George William Hunt. Aged 41.
Chief W/Op Spencer Thomas Keeley. Aged 35.
Chargehand Engineer Thomas Key. Aged 35.
Engineer William Henry King. Aged 32.
Engineer Maurice Frank Littlekit. Aged 29.
Ass Cox Christopher Hugh Mason. Aged 33.
Galley Boy. Thomas William Megginson. Aged 18.
Engineer Wilfred Moule. Aged 30.
Rigger Arthur Norcott. Aged 29.
Ass Cox Leonard Oughton. Aged 29.
Ass Cox Walter Potter. Aged 22.
Rigger Walter George Radcliffe. Aged 31.


Rigger Martin Rampton. Aged 31.
Rigger Arthur J Richardson. Aged 29.
Rigger Ernest George Rudd. Aged 29.
Chief Steward Albert Savidge. Aged 32.
Chargehand Engineer Sydney Ernest Scott. Aged 40.
Chargehand Engineer George William Short. Aged 34.


Rigger Cecil Taylor. Aged 33.
Engineer Albert Watkins. Aged 25.

Officials of the Royal Airship Works.

Alexander Bushfield
Wing Commander Reginald Colmore.
Lt Col Vincent Crane Richmond.
Sqdrn Leader Michael Rope
George Herbert Scott

Officicers of the R101.

Lt Commander Noel Atherstone.
Maurice Henry Steff
Flt Lt Herbert Carmichael Irwin
Ernest L Johnston

Passengers on board.

Brigadier General The Right Honourable Lord Thomson of Cardington
James Buck valet to Lord Thomson.
Major Percy Bishop O.B.E. - Chief Inspector of Aircraft
Vice Marshall Sir William Sefton Brancker
Sqdrn Leader W. H. L. O'Neill - Deputy Director of Civil Aviation
The R101 airship.
Initial press reports indicated a death toll of 46 men but the final count was confirmed to be 48 dead with 6 survivors.

Tracking down some of these individuals has been quite difficult, I have been unable to find photographs for the majority of those named. On the plus side as well as commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission some men are also listed on their local community War Memorials which sometimes yield further information. Other snippets have been gleaned from the Find A Grave database run by volunteers up and down the country and this has proved invaluable. Sources also include the Hollybrook Memorial at Southampton created to honour individuals whose bodies were never found during the war, and the Imperial War Museum. - Jane Harvey 2020.