was the first flight of any aircraft between Italy and Britain
was not an easy flight, the crew were too busy to sleep
as they had to battle strong headwinds and rain for much
of the trip. The ship had mechanical failures, a fractured
oil line which spewed hot engine oil throughout the control
car. The crew worked frantically to repair this damage but
it turned the control car floor in to a slippery platform
resembling a skating rink. Comical though it may sound,
in an undulating control car in the air the crew had to
take great precautions to avoid anybody falling overboard.
To further the discomfort on the flight, at one point the
exhaust manifold fell off amidships engine above the control
car, burnt through on to the petrol tanks below. The red-hot
manifold lay in close proximity to hundreds of gallons of
high-octane aviation fuel and beneath almost half a million
cubic feet of equally inflammable hydrogen. Captain Williams
and Petty Officer Leach leapt up a ladder and pushed the
burning mass overboard, at the same time brushing out glowing
sparks with their hands.
Added to the fact that on two attempts to house the ship
in France, the arrangements had not been put in to place
as it was found at landing at the pre arranged stop-overed
that the ship was too large for the French hangers which
were provided. The ship had to be housed outside on both
occasions. However, the ship managed to cross the Channel
and landed at Kingsnorth Airship base in Kent, on 31st October
1918. It was the first time an aircraft had ever flown from
Italy to the United Kingdom.
6th November the was flown to Pulham Airship station where
the unreliable SPA engine was removed. The crew were very
aware of the shortcommings of the power units, and had difficulty
in keeping all three units operations on this filght. With
only 5 days left of the war the SR1 was never used operationally
with the exception of watching U Boats surrender at Harwich.
She flew over London on 2nd July 1919 as publicity for the
war loan and to take part in a peace procession with the
R33. Whilst over London, the SR1 suffered a malfunction
which deprived the ship of all power. The crew were well
versed in the erratic behavior of the ship, and carried
out urgent repairs whilst floating motionless above the
cheering crowds. Then suddenly the SR 1 was caught up in
turbulance and shot upwards in to the clouds and to where
the R33 flew. By good fortune control was suddenly restored
and an accident averted. Power was restored and the ship
returned to Pulham after the 10 hour flight.
A similar flight over South Wales followed on the 6th and
7th July. A final demonstration flight was given in August
for the benefit of visiting regiments from India.
was agreed by September 1919 that the SR1 was to be deleted
due to her being inferior to contemporary British airships.
The ship was housed and dismantled