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Airship Memorial

Hob Uid: 1512866
Location :
City Of Kingston Upon Hull
City Of Kingston Upon Hull
City Of Kingston Upon Hull
Grid Ref : TA0716229548
Summary : An airship memorial situated at the south-western side of Hull Western Cemetery. It was erected in 1924 and it was made of Portland stone with bronze plaques. The free-standing stone chest is topped with a stone cross. The chest has two projections on either side to the front on which two bronze plaques are fixed. These plaques list all the names of those men who had died in the disaster. The left lists the 28 British servicemen and the right one the 16 American servicemen who died on the 24th August 1921. The American military had ordered a R38 airship model, which apparently was the biggest one built with 14 gas cells and six Sunbeam engines. It was 700ft long and had a speed of 71mph. After the airship was completed at Cardington it was delivered to Howden in Yorkshire for test flights. On the final test flight at an altitude of 2,500ft and flying 60mph the airship suddenly broke apart and exploded killing 44 out of the 49 men on board. Some of the victims are buried underneath the memorial. The Plaque is now made of slate.
More information : An airship memorial situated at the south-western side of Hull Western Cemetery. It was erected in 1924 and it is made of Portland stone with bronze plaques. The free-standing stone chest is topped with a stone cross. The chest has two projections on either side to the front on which two bronze plaques are fixed. These plaques list all the names of those men who had died in the disaster. The left lists the 28 British servicemen and the right one the 16 American servicemen who died on the 24th August 1921. Grade II listed. (1)

The airship memorial is commemorating the victims of an airship disaster which happened on 23rd August 1921. The American military had ordered a R38 airship model, which apparently was the biggest one built with 14 gas cells and six Sunbeam engines. It was 700ft long and had a speed of 71mph. After the airship was completed at Cardington it was delivered to Howden in Yorkshire for test flights. On the final test flight at an altitude of 2,500ft and flying 60mph the airship suddenly broke apart and exploded killing 44 out of the 49 men on board. The names of the British and American servicemen who died in the disaster are listed on the two plaques. Those on the plaque marked ¿ are buried underneath the memorial. (2)

The U.S. Navy began a rigid airship program, ordering the construction of two dirigibles. One of the new rigids was built in England as the British R-38, using what was presumed to be a tested and reasonably mature technology. Upon delivery, she was to become the American ZR-2. Already wearing U.S. markings, R-38 made three more flights during the next two months, both for testing purposes and for the training of her American crew. The fourth flight began on 23 August 1921and after an overnight flight out to sea, the next day R-38 undertook full power and maneuvering trials. During this the airship broke up in the air and the wreckage fell into the Humber River near Hull. Of the forty-nine men on board, there were only five survivors, including one American. Sixteen U.S. Navy officers and men were killed, essentially wiping out the Service's small cadre of experienced rigid airship personnel. (3)

The plaque is now made of slate, due to numerous thefts of the bronze. (4)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : District of Listing: Kingston upon Hull, 28-NOV-2002
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Source Number : 2
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Julie C. Walton. 2003. HULL CEMETERY R38 DISASTER - Roll of Honour Page(s) :
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Source Number : 3
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Naval Historical Center. 2003. British Aircraft, Department of the Navy [Accessed 04-FEB-2010]
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Source Number : 4
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Email correspondence [13-JUN-2013]
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Erected 1924
Monument End Date : 1924
Monument Start Date : 1924
Monument Type : Commemorative Monument, Plaque, Tomb
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 489904
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TA 02 NE 99
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :