ship did return to East Fortune and spent 6 months being refitted.
In February 1920 the R 34 then made a seven and a half-hour flight
back to Pulham. The ship remained at Pulham for six weeks where
no flights were undertaken. It was later decided that the ship
be assigned to Howden Airship Station, and she was flown upto
Yorkshire at the end of March 1921.
At Howden the R34 was to undertake further changes, like her sister
ship the R33, to enable her to be moored at a mooring mast. Her
bows were to be altered to allow access to the ship and a mooring
cone was added. The new cone was ordered and placed on the R33
but the R34's mooring gear had not arrived to be fitted to the
ship. On 27th January 1921 the R34 left Howden on her first voyage
for several months. It was deemed that she was to carry out duties
as with the R32, as an instructional ship for American crew.
R34's final destruction
carried an instructional crew as part of a training flight but
also to check on the recent repairs to the ship had been successful.
The ship moved out over Spurn Head and during this time due to
confusion with radio messages, contact was lost with the ship.
Commander Maitland decided to recall the ship and the message
was ordered to be repeated until understood. The ship finally
heard the signal and began to return home. Confusion occurred
on the R34 as the navigating officer had lost his way, and thought
that the ship was safe to journey home, however during the voyage
the weather had deteriorated and a heavy fog enveloped the area.
The signals were confused as to the ships exact location, however
the crew continued in the direction of Howden.
By midnight, the crew was settling into their bunks and the watches
were changing when a loud grinding sound was heard and a shudder
went through the ship. The control gondola lights went out and
the crew was thrown to the floor. Upon recovery it was discovered
that at 12.10 am a sudden downdraft had pushed the ship into an
unseen slope of the moors. Luckily the ship "bounced" and lurched
upwards, and the captain rang for the engines to be stopped
The R34 was floating helplessly in the wind whilst the damage
could be assessed. It was discovered that clumps of heather were
stuck to the forward gondola, some of the windows were smashed
and the bumping bags had been carried away. One girder in the
keel had been twisted, tow engine car struts were damaged, the
wireless aerial shortened and the fore and aft propellers were
reduced to stubs. This last assessment of damage meant that the
ship was now deprived of 50% of her power. The remaining engines
were started and able to check the drift of the ship against the
wind. The R34 had floated out over the North Sea, and like her
sister ship, limped home against the wind, damaged and underpowered.
By midday the R34 neared Hull, which was only 20 miles from Howden,
it then took three hours the get the ship back to her home landing
field. At 3.00pm the sky had grown dark and the landing crew assembled
to haul the ship home.
The ship was almost to the doors of the hanger when a gust took
the ship back out on to the landing field. The wind was gusting
very strongly now, and the handling crew were at times being carried
aloft as the ship bucked in the gale. More damage was done to
the fore and after cars, the rudder had jammed and the controls
were therefore inoperable. Commander Maitland then had to give
the order to abandon ship, and the crew scrambled safely to the
ground. The R34 was then taken back to the mooring block with
the idea to have the ship ride out the storm on the tree wire
system which she had used at Mineola.
Further damage occurred in trying to get the ship moored, a girder
punctured some of the gasbags when it buckled. The ship was finally
moored and it was thought that the ship would be able to survive
the night, however the gales increased in strength and the ships
loss of gas caused her to settle to the ground. Her bows were
smashed and the hull of the ship damaged beyond repair by the
first light of the morning, it was obvious that R34 would never
Within 3 days of the accident, the R34 had been striped of her
equipment and outer cover, anything salvageable from the ship
had been reclaimed and the rest of the hull structure was destroyed.
The sad remains of the R34 were sold for scrap.