These three 1.5″ x 2.5″ photographs are of His Majesty’s Airship No. 9r, Britain’s very first rigid airship. If you click on the image above you can clearly see the number “9” on the nosecone.
HMA No. 9r was built by Vickers in a custom built hanger on Walney Island near Barrow-in-Furness to a design by H.B. Pratt and Barnes Wallace. Construction began before the war however its order was cancelled by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill in March 1915. Construction resumed in June when Churchill was replaced by Arthur Balfour however a number of delays resulted in the airship not being completed until June 28 1916.
HMA No. 9r had its first test flight on November 16, 1916. It resulted in several modifications including the replacement of both rear engines with a single engine salvaged from German Zeppelin L33, which had made a forced landing in Essex two months earlier. In the spring of 1917 HMA No. 9r was accepted by the Navy and based at RNAS Howden in the East Riding of Yorkshire. In October 1917 it moved to RNAS Pulham in Norfolk where it was stationed until June 1918 when it was dismantled to provide storage space for new airships. For a detailed look at the history of HMA No. 9r, and British Airships in general, you must check out the August 21, 1919 edition of Flight: The Aircraft Engineer & Airships.
Unfortunately these photographs are undated and give no indication of where they were taken. I presume the town pictured above was located somewhere on Britain’s east coast. If you recognize this street please leave a comment below.
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