January 11, 2009

The story of the NS11 , a record-breaking airship which met a disastrous end.

Struck by lightning, or the victim of a rash attempt to break another record? Whatever happened to NS11, by the end of 1919 the British airship fleet had been reduced from its wartime peak of 99 craft to just 2.

  • What a strange military weapon. Were there ever battles between airships? By the way, I love old newspapers, and the second and third links provide some pretty cool stuff. In fact, the third link shows exactly why the British were so successful back then. The first article talks about wireless communication, and the second article (both in the third link) has a giant headline that is talking about email. I never knew that the British had wireless and email capabilities back then. You'd think they would be much more advanced by now.
  • I think that this is really cool. What a well researched and beautifully designed site. This reminds me of a genre of book I read obsessively when I was a kid: collections of documents and images that had been put together, usually by some amateur historian or historical society, with just enough analysis to make me feel like I knew what was going on and just enough primary material to make me feel like I was really connecting with the history in a very visceral way. Incidentally, I've been writing a lot, recently, about the bureaucratic shockwaves which were sent out by the establishment of the US Air Force in 1947. It's really interesting to see, on this site, some of the same things appearing out of the establishment of the RAF.
  • Yo Bernockle, I've got several bound volumes of early 20th century New York Heralds under my bed. Amazing to read the October, 1929 issues, and compare them to coverage of recent financial distress. You get a totally different picture from an as-it-happened perspective. And wow, has the language--and literacy level--of newspapers changed. Sorry about the derail. Airships are intriguing, especially as they've been singled out as extremely energy-efficient from a cargo transport perspective. I've wondered why they never came back; Fritz Lang foresaw skies filled with airships prior to the bad press generated by the Hindenburg disaster (possibly lightning-related) cooling everyone's enthusiasm. The R-38 had a similar tragic end.
  • The crew must have been hungry as they risked coming low over a trawler and picked up fish in a canvas bag. These would have no doubt been cooked on the 'hob' mounted on one of the engine exhausts. Proper engineering, that is. And this view of London from an airship is beautiful. Another faskinating link, thanks Pleg!
  • Just stumbled across this board here. I'm the author of the NS11 site – nice to see people like it. It just shows what can start from a little curiosity about a great-uncle's grave can grow into something a little bit all-consuming. It's a fantastic detective story that will probably never end. Look out for news on the site for a potential memorial service in the summer – 90 years after the event. That's looking like it might grow somewhat too. Thanks for visiting. Peter 'Art' Lewry.
  • Thanks to you, Peter.