WW1 Airship Station.

Both the airships are thought to be moored at Slindon, period 1918, the Polegate station was not so heavily wooded.

181/197 : (41) SU 952104 : Sussex.
Airship moorings (sub-station to Polegate) RAF 1918 – 1919.

The airships were SS-type for ” submarine-scout”

The Airships were built at Wormwood Scrubs airship building works,London.

In 1910 Wormwood Scrubs became part of aviation history when a pioneer airship took flight from an improvised landing ground. In 1914 all air related activities on the Scrubs passed to the authority of the Admiralty, and there are records of a base here called ‘Wormwood Scrubs Naval Air Station’ in the National Archives at Kew. It remained as an emergency landing ground until the  1930s

About Wormwood Scrubs Common

By far the largest open space in Hammersmith & Fulham, Wormwood Scrubs Park is a favourite place for local birdwatchers.

Slindon airship station was an outlying station of polegate in East Sussex, under the control of the Portsmouth command , it really did not come into its own until late 1918, two airships were based there of the SS type, submarine hunters’ used on patrols in the English channel.

May, 1918 saw the zenith of Aerial Patrol in the command, over 10000 hours being spent in this one month alone.

Slindon station was in full swing, under the command of Captain E L.D. Batley,.The area of the station covered nearly 200 acres.

Submarine activity in the Channel had been acute up to this time, and every effort was being made to develop the policy of continuous patrols day and night.

Pilots and crew work very long hours, often sleeping only a few hours a day, offers and other ranks worked together, relying greatly on each other.

It has been recognised that it is a fact that as a result of the hard work of theses airships crews, the threat from submarines’ in the channel was greatly reduced, thus allowing safer passage of merchant ships.

All honour to them, to offers N.C.O, and other ranks who gave there best, because ther best could never have been better.

Lieutenant C.J.W. Hatcher, who subsequently relived Captain E.L.D.Batley in command at Slindon, was awarded the Air Force Cross, for his diligence to the war effort, and the respect he was awarded by those serving under him.

Lieutenant E.J.Protheroe, Air Mechanic J.R.Innell, and Wireless Mechcanic H.Bailey, contributed a record for aerial patrol by carrying out a continuous patrol from Slindon in SS.Z.28, of 26 hours and 30 minutes.

E.J.Protheroe was mentioned in dispatches.

November 11th, 1918 saw the signing of the Armistice, and the consequent cessation of the anti-submarine patrols.

The mooring station at Slindon was 315 ft in length, its width being 69 ft, height 50ft..

Gas was stored on site, Silicol Gas Plant (type B.”), capacity of 5.000 cubic feet per hour.

The complement of Officers and other ranks at Slindon was 14 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer, and 200 ratings.

Slindon Base airship Crew.

The Airship station first consisted of six bell tents and three marquees.

There were three air ships moored in L- shaped bays cut into the woods, this was off the main drive to Nore wood.

The “Folly” was used as an wireless station, all messages came through in Morse.

There was in addition to the men enlisted in the Royal Naval Air service, a camp carpenter, he assisted when needed in  the landing and launching of the airships, but most of his time was spent cutting down trees to build huts, theses were not altogether that good, being covered with old airship fabric as roofs.

Site as it is now, little has changed, still a open site. Double click photos to enlarge.


One response to “WW1 Airship Station.

  1. I’m not clear whether the photos immediately above are of Slindon or Wormwood Scrubs Park. Please can you advise. Do you have a precise location for RNAS Slindon?


    Ian Sutherland

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s