Monday, 4 May 2015

Airship Over Leighton Buzzard

Parseval PL18 Airship, built 1913 for the British Navy [Wikimedia]

Tuesday 4th May 1915: At six-thirty this morning many people in Leighton Buzzard were alarmed to see a large airship travelling over the town heading north. Initially there were fears of an air raid, but the clear air allowed those watching the great vehicle to see that it was not a cylindrical Zeppelin but a cigar-shaped airship of the type used by the German and British Governments. Its height made it impossible to identify the flag fluttering from the car or to count the crew. By the time it reached Bletchley it had lost height and observers were able to see that it was flying the Union Jack. The airship hovered over Bletchley station for a few minutes, apparently deciding on its course, before again heading north. It appeared to be following the London and North West main land which is often used as a guide by airmen heading for northern England.

Our sources suggest that the airship was one of the British Army’s dirigible balloons. The army uses four types: the Astras Torres, the Beta, the Eta and the Parseval, all of which are the shape of a short, fat cigar with pointed ends.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Citizen, 11th May 1915

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