construction at the Beardmore Works, Inchinnan, near Glasgow
The outer cover being
sewn in to place
The R34 at Inchinnan,
Glasgow, Scotland, March 1919
R34 with a trial flight
and crew, over Renfrew, Scotland
Car and front engine car
The transatlantic routemap
of the R34
R34 preparing for the journey at Inchinnan, Scotland
Coxwain, rating at elevators and WT Operator
from rear aft of the ship, half way across the North
This rare shot
taken on 5th July 1919 as the R 34 flew over Brookfield,
Nova Scotia, Canada. Possibly the first photo of a transatlantic
aerial arrival to the continental North America.(credit
AHT member Tom Raub)
Servicemen rush to catch hold of ship
Moored up on the three wired system
Officers holding and taking instructions from the forward
Maitland at the window of the Command Gondola
power car being hauled down
take over the mooring.
US Army Air Service, Unknown and Sq Lrd G.H. Scott
of the New York Times
Some of the
crew with a gramaphone presented to them by Eddison.
Whoopsie, the first transatlantic cat, can be
seen seated in the lap of a crew member
the hydrogen was undertaken by gas cylinders.
of hydrogen cylinders
R 34 in the
spotlight, lit up at night - photo credit Tom
The R34 over
Pulham airfield with the ground crew saluting
the incoming ship on the tank used for towing
in the ships.
Captain Scott on the successful return
Scott reads a telegram congratulations to the
officers and the crew, on the record breaking
voyage, from the King on return to Pulham
R34 Crew - notice the crew pets - two dogs, and
a cat called Whoopsie. Whoopsie accompanied the
stowaway William Ballantyne to America.
The R34 comes
to ground, 28th January 1921, whilst emergency
moored at Howden, the ship breaks up during a
the members of her crew, His Majesty's Airship R34 was known as
'Tiny' - inevitably. The ship was enormous: as big as a contemporary
'Dreadnought' battleship. Her overall length from bow to stern
was 643 feet, twice as long as a football field; her maximum diameter
was 79 feet and her overall height just short of 92 feet. Her
cost was around £350,000 and her total gas capacity was
1,950,000 cubic ft, giving a gross lift of about 59 tons and a
disposable lift, when the weight of the structure and permanent
fittings was discounted, of 26 tons. Like her sister ship, five
engines were fitted, each of 250h.p
At the time, German technical development had been kept under
close observation and R34, in particular, had departed from the
engine plan of L.33 to follow instead that of the later and more
advanced L.49, which had been forced to land in France in October
1917. The former ship had boasted six engines: one to each of
the three forward propellers, one to the rear propeller and two
driving small 'wing' propellers by shaft. On the latter vessel,
the designers had done away with this cumbersome arrangement,
eliminating one engine and the two wing propellers entirely, harnessing
the power of two rear engines to a single enlarged propeller.
comparison of the R 34
contract for the construction of the R34 had been signed out to
William Beardmore and Company. The Beardmore Company was one of
the most diverse and enterprising heavy engineering companies
on Cyldeside. By 1916, the company was employing some 15,000 workers,
who were producing a range of vehicles, ships and items specifically
for the Government in the war effort. The company had already
proven itself in airship production with being awarded contracts
and completing the R24 and R27. To build these airships, the company
had acquired a peice of land, some 600 acres at Inchinnan on the
south side of the river Clyde. The contructional site location
today is located just over a mile fom the current Glasgow Airport
location. The shed was created for the consturction of the R24,
and simliarly to the construcional facility at Cardington, the
Beardmore company also provided houses for the airship workers.
Some of the housing, known and Beardmore Cottages, is still present
in the village of Inchinnan.
R34's construction details have been frustraitingly sparse as
the Beardmore Factory and records office suffered from the German
bombardment during WWII and was destroyed during a heavy night
of bombing in 1941. However there are some constructional details
which are availalbe. As with airships consturcted at the same
time, the basis of construction was the same.
whole framework was varnished to prevent atmospheric corrosion
and heavily braced by wiring. Lengths of linen fabric were stretched
between each pair of frames, where they were attached by laces.
Narrow strips were then glued over the lacing and the covering
of the hull was painted with dope containing aluminium powder,
to reflect sunlight and so reduce superheating. In the chambers
formed by the main circumferential frames and the longitudinal
girders were the gasbags, nineteen in all and made of one thickness
of rubber-proofed cotton cloth, varnished and lined with goldbeaters'
skins. Each gasbag was contoured to fill all the available space
and was surrounded by cord mesh to prevent chafing against the
girders. Following the same design as the R33, beneath the main
body of the airship, suspended by long, wooden struts and braced
rigging wires, were four small gondolas.
further details on the R34 can be read on the life of the Chief
Inspector of the wiring team at the Inchinnan works,John S Richardson,
can be found with a link to his son's blog
in the R33, the forward gondola, appeared to be a single unit
some fifty feet long, but was actually made up of two parts separated
by a narrow gap, intended to prevent vibration from the engine
affecting the W .T. equipment. Incorporated in the forward section
were a control room and a small wireless cabin, below which, during
flight, trailed a long aerial.
cabin was fronted with 'Triplex' safety glass and had handling
rails mounted on each side. Here were the steering and elevator
wheels, the gas-valve controls, the engine telegraph, the various
navigational and WT instruments and the toggles controlling the
emergency forward water ballast. Connecting the control-cabin
with the keel was a ladder, protected from the elements by a streamlined
canvas cover. Another cover similarly enclosed the numerous control-wire
connections that led up into the hull.
In the rear
section of the forward gondola was the first of the engines, driving
a single pusher propeller 17 feet in diameter. In the middle of
the lower hull amidships were the two smaller 'wing' gondolas
housing an engine together with reversing gear -a refinement that
enabled the airship to be operated if those in the main control-cabin
failed. The rear car was ringed with a rail to assist handlers
and, as with the forward gondola, two 'bumping bags' of compressed
air were positioned underneath to help cushion landing shocks.
Each of the five engines was a Sunbeam 'Maori': a new type designed
for the Wolverhampton firm by a Frenchman, Louis Coatalen, and
intended specifically for airship use but clearly inferior to
the Rolls Royce engines used by earlier British rigids. Unfortunately,
no Rolls Royce engines could be made available as all those produced
were now reserved for aeroplane use.
had been accepted reluctantly. Each engine had twelve water- cooled
cylinders, which were intended to produce full power at a theoretical
2,100 rpm, although in practice it was rare for 1,600 r pm to
be exceeded. In the forward and wing cars, the radiators were
mounted externally and controlled by folding shutters. The after
gondola of R34 contained two engines geared to one propeller.
The engines were each fitted with a hand starter, while the drive
to the propellers was through a sliding Hele Shaw dog-clutch and
a reduction gearbox with a ratio of 1:3.86.
enabled the engine to be started and warmed up before flight without
endangering the handling-party and made it easier to carry out
repairs in the air. If the engine should be stopped during flight,
the disconnected propeller could rotate freely in the airstream
to reduce head resistance, although if it was required to remain
stationary for landing or any other reason, a special brake was
provided for this purpose. Assuming that the airship was still
moving forwards, the engine might then be started by releasing
the brake, engaging the clutch again, and allowing the airstream
to turn the engine.
In addition to the gondolas, a considerable amount of space was
available also inside the hull and invisible to the outside observer.
Running almost the entire length of the ship was a long keel corridor,
consisting of a succession of A-shaped frames standing on the
two lowest girders, and with three auxiliary longitudinal girders
of their own to fence off the surrounding gasbags.
At its widest
part, this corridor was about 10 ft across, narrowing somewhat
towards the extremities. Leading to the wing and after cars were
narrow ladders, fully exposed to the force of the elements. It
had been discovered following tests on R33 that the turning co-efficient
of the two airships was 6.4, giving a minimum turning circle some
4,100 feet in diameter. However, so strong was the effect of the
slipstream of the after propeller acting on the rudder, that with
the forward engine still and the wing propellers both running
in reverse, it was possible for R33 and R34 to pivot virtually
on the spot.
Designed slimmer than the theoretical ideal, the aerodynamic shape
of R34 was a distinct improvement on most earlier designs - her
total air resistance being only seven per cent of a hypothetical
flat disc of the same diameter. In later airships, this was reduced
even further, but in her own day the streamlining of R34 was excellent
and twice as effective as that of her British predecessors.
the R34 was designed during a time of war, the R34 was never fitted
with a full armament. In addition to bomb racks, the original
plan had been to include a ventral 'gun house' behind the rear
car, which would carry a one-pounder Pom-Pom and two Lewis machine
guns. Another Lewis gun was to be mounted on the rear platform
behind the tail, while six more were to be shared equally among
the two wing-cars, the forward gondola and the top gun platform.
arsenal of weapons was tp include two-pounder quick-firing guns
which were to be placed on each side of the hull and two more
were to join the Lewis guns on top. This heavy armament was presumably
intended for defence against German Zeppelins, but in the event
the gun house was never fitted and the number of guns was considerably
reduced. The original specification showed that her bomb-load
was quite considerable: twenty at 100 lb and four at 550 lb.
The firm of William Beardmore and Company Ltd. of Inchinnan near
Glasgow began work on R34 on 9 December 1917 and she was completed
just over a year later. Preparations to H.M.A.R34 were completed
in December 1918 and her lift and trim trials were carried out
successfully on the 20th of that month. By the time R34 was ready
for her test flights, the war was over and she was too late to
see active service.
On 30th December
1918, while bad weather delayed the trial flight, the Admiralty
agreed to lend their airships to the Air Ministry for long-distance
trials. R34 was specifically mentioned but because of the persistently
bad weather it was not until the following March that she left
her hangar at lnchinnan, near Glasgow, where the Beardmore Company
had their works.
On 14 March,1919
R.34 was brought out from her hangar and her crew began the task
of accustoming themselves on the ship. The maiden flight lasting
nearly five hours, was uneventful and the ship was returned safely
to her shed. On 24th March, despite cold, windy conditions with
intermittent fog, snow and hail, R.34 left lnchinnan in the late
afternoon for a more extended trial.
down the Clyde, and then turned to fly over the North of England,
towards Newcastle, then turned and returned via Liverpool, over
the Irish Sea to Dublin, and returned via the Isle of Man. During
this trial it was discovered that her elevator had jammed down,
lifting the nose up, after bringing the ship to an even keel,
the ship was nursed home to Scotland.
No real damage
had been done, but on return on the base, the ship was badly handled
by the ground crew, which caused damage to her propellers and
some of the main girders. The damage caused the ship to be laid
up to be repaired, it was this incident which caused the delay
in the trip to the USA, and hence loosing the title of the "first
to cross the Atlantic" to Alcock and Brown. The
R34 was ready for service again at 6.00pm on 28th May and the
ship left Inchinnan for her new home of East Fortune, the main
airship base on the Firth of Forth. The R34 was enveloped in fog
and so headed out to sea to wait an improvement in the landing
conditions . The ship had to wait longer than expected and finally
landed at 3.30pm the next afternoon, the crew hungry after 21
hours as no food had been carried on board this flight.
for the transatlantic voyage were hurried forward . Two weeks
after arriving at East Fortune, the R34 flew with the R29 over
Edinburgh and Berwick. This short 6-hour flight was to confirm
the stability of the ship. On the evening of the 17th June 1919
the R34 was sent on an endurance voyage to give her a proper test
before her major flight. The idea was that the ship would be scouting
the German Baltic Shores.
The ship carried
out its duties and also flew up to Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
The ship landed after this endurance trial on the morning of the
20th June after a trip of 54 hours.
The Air Ministry had now finally decided to take the R34 to the
USA, and a northerly coastal route was decided in case the ship
ran out of fuel, then she would never be too far from landfall.
Two warships, the Renown and Tiger were offered as supply vessels
in case the ship would come in to difficulty and also to offer
meteorological reports. It was agreed that if the ship did get
in to difficulty, then the R34 would be taken in tow.
which were being arranged in New York were the supply of hydrogen
for the ship, and a party of 8 experienced airmen were dispatched
to America to arrange and train the main part of the American
ground crew. The Americans had at that time, no experience of
a rigid airship.
At the Admiralty,
a room was set a side for wireless messages. A map was also provided
for the ship's progress. At East Fortune, further alterations
were being made to the ship itself for the voyage. Food lockers
replaced bomb racks, which had been installed at her construction,
and a compass was placed on the upper gun platform in order that
the magnetic field would not be interfered with by any of the
tables and new wash basins were added in the crew space, and furnished
with lightweight curtains to stop the drafts from the interior
of the hull. Along the keel an additional 24 petrol tanks were
fitted bringing the total fuel capacity to some 6,000 gallons.
The crew were divided in to two watches for the trip. In addition
to the RNAS uniforms, the crew was issued with heavy duty flying
suits, which were redesigned to include parachute harnesses and
integral life saving collars. Some 112lb of mail and parcels were
loaded aboard the ship for delivery to the United States, including
letters from the King and Prime Minister, to the President of
the United States.
On 1st July 1919 the ship was gassed
to its limit and loaded to its full capacity, and by the end of
the evening the ship was ready to go. The ships official departure
time was set at 2.00am (GMT) on 2nd July in order to obtain the
maximum lift from her gasbags. The ship was eased out of her shed
slowly by 700 members of the handling party. The weather forecast
was favourable and Major Scott decided not to wait any longer,
and at 1.42 am (GMT) the signal to release was given and the R34
lifted slowly in to the misty night sky.
The engines were signalled to commence and the propellers roared
into life. The ship was on the way to America, but was so loaded
for the journey, that even with the forward momentum of the engines,
she very slowly gained height. The R34 travelled along the Firth
of Forth, then at a height of 1,300ft she cleared Rosyth, Glasgow,
and down the Clyde by daybreak.
Life on board
began to settle in to routine of the agreed scheduled watches,
meals and rest times. Strains of jazz could be heard through the
ship from the gramophone , which was carried on board for the
entertainment of the crew. Crossing the ocean, the morning fog
lifted and the crew saw that they were stuck between two cloud
layers, the upper obscuring the sun.
operators were finding that these weather conditions were causing
electrostatic shocks from the equipment. The clouds soon parted
and the sun broke through. Major Scott was wary of the effect
of superheating on the gasbags, and wanted to avoid at all costs
the valving of hydrogen at this early stage of the flight, and
so he bought the ship down low into the layer of fog, which protected
the ship from the sunshine and soon cooled the gas. The ship carried
on with her voyage at a steady pace, and standard routines.
The main upset occurred at 2.00pm on the first day. It was discovered
that a stowaway had managed to creep on board the ship, and hide
up in-between the girders and the gasbags inside the hull of the
ship. Before starting on the voyage, it was decided that some
of the members of the crew, including W.W. Ballantyne , must be
left behind, the numbers being limited of necessity to thirty
on the voyage.
before the flight, William Ballantyne managed to climb back on
board the ship, and hid himself in the darkness of the ship. He
had also carried with him, the crews' mascot, a small tabby kitten
called "Whoopsie". Both of these stowaways had hidden themselves.
But the cramped conditions and the fact that the smell of the
gas had made Ballantyne nauseous, made him give up and come out
The dishevelled stowaway was brought in front of Major Scott and
Maitland, and it was decided that there was actually nothing they
could do about it. It was agreed that had they been over land
then Ballantyne would have been put overboard by parachute, but
as the next landfall was in fact America, he was to stay on board.
The only problem that could occur was the strain on the very limited
and controlled resources.
quite ill for some time, he was rested on one of the hammocks,
and attended to by Lieutenant Luck. When he recovered, Ballantyne
was, as with traditional stowaways, made to work his passage as
cook and often having to hand pump the petrol into the tanks.
As to the second stowaway, Whoopsie, it was deemed that the oldest
airman on board, 42 year old George Graham accepted responsibility
for the cat, and Whoopsie worked her passage throughout the rest
of the voyage, providing entertainment and comfort to the other
The weather slowly worsened, and all the ships engines were engaged
to full power as the wind speed increased and a storm began to
approach. The next morning the R34 was halfway across the Atlantic
but the weather was continuing to deteriorate. However throughout
the day there were some breaks in the weather causing the ship
to be able to view the transatlantic shipping traffic below, for
some 50 miles in each direction.
By the evening
the weather became increasing stormy and the wind turned head
on to the ship. Coming up from the southeast, the winds were blowing
at about 50mph causing the ship to fight her way forwards and
Throughout the night, Major Scott tried to move the ship up higher
to avoid the wind, but if was found to be the same at each level.
By morning the cloudbank had moved away and clear skies brought
a sight of a 150ft iceberg below the ship, further behind it smaller
bergs and pack ice was visible. The clouds soon returned as Newfoundland
was not far off the ship, and fog enveloped the ship once more.
beginning to show by Major Scott as there were no gauges on the
petrol tanks and use of the dipstick showed that there were only
some 2,200 gallons of petrol left. With further strong headwinds
expected down the coast, the thought of getting to New York without
stopping was looking more unlikely every hour that drew on.
The ship flew over Labrador and at 12.50 the land was sighted
for the first time. Now the ship had to follow the coast down
and head for it's landing place at New York. With only 500 gallons
of fuel left, the ship was bought down to 800ft to try and escape
the worst of the headwinds. From this height, the crew had superb
views of the North American forests and could see, smell and hear
The ship had
been in the air for 4 days and the crew was beginning to tire.
Emergency preparations were tentatively being made in Boston for
emergency landing there, but the ship continued on her voyage.
Each fuel tank was inspected and whatever was left in the bottom
of the tanks was collected and poured in to the main tanks to
keep the engines running. The 12 British ground crew which had
been sent on ahead by ship, to make arrangements for the landing,
had heard from Scott about the critical fuel situation, and started
up for Boston, and had already made preparations for a landing
was decided that ther was enough fuel left in the tanks, as John
Shotter worked with many of the crew members to use jam jars or
whatever they could find to carry any of the dregs of fuel from
the tanks, to the engines. Major Scott made the decision that
they did have enough fuel to continue onto the agreed landing
area at Roosevelt Field, Mineola, Long Island, New York. In the
last hour of the flight, the crew busied themselves in making
By 9.00am Mineola came in to view. The landing field had been
prepared with 20 tonne concrete mooring blocks. All the carparks
were full and a huge grandstand had been erected for local and
national dignitaries. Major Jack Pritchard donned a parachute
and whilst the ship circled overhead, dropped to the ground and
became the first man to arrive in America by air.
arranged the ground crews, and helped ease the ship to the ground.
The R34 landed at 9.54am after 108 hours 12 minutes flying time.
This became the world endurance record breaking that set previously
by the British NS 11. There were 140 gallons of fuel left on board,
which was sufficient only for another 2 hours flying at reduced
Landfall in America
The ship was
only in America for 3 days. During this time the crew were allowed
to rest and have hot showers, they attended a constant series
of events where they were saluted for their historic crossing.
The people of New York lavished their generosity on the crew and
they were bombarded with offers of invitations to formal functions
during their stay. Many dinners and parties were provided for
the crew member, many had never been entertained at this level
crew stayed with the ship ready to give the engines a long-awaited
overhaul and a full check over in preparation for their return
voyage home. It was found that that no repairs were necessary
and the engines had performed well. The propellers had accumulated
a thick coating of engine oil and this was proudly removed by
a local firm, free of charge and just happy to offer assistance
to the crew and to the ship.
The R34 was in very good shape, and moored to a three-wire system
at the bows, whose own lift kept the wires taut. However some
of the guide wires caught and tore one of the pannels in the nose.
This was hastily repaied with spare canvas covering. The crew
returned to the ship and provisions were loaded back onto the
ship for her return voyage. Some 25lb of mail was delivered to
the ship, for it's return journey to England. The final preparation
was to gas the ship, and this was carried out using thousands
of cylinders of hydrogen gas.
As with the
flight to America, the R34 would be gassed to capacity again,
and await the coolest part of the day to depart, and so the ship
was finally launched at 6 minutes to midnight on Wednesday July
10th. The great crowd which had always been around the R34 her
entire time in America gave a huge cheer, and the ship was launched.
The wind had picked up before the launch and was gusting at 30mph,
which caused concern, but the ship cleared the landing field,
and made her way eastwards. As a gesture of gratitude to the city,
which had generously hosted her crews, the R34 flew towards the
illuminated metropolis. The ship made her way up to a height of
2,000ft as Major Scott was unsure of the height of the skyscrapers.
Searchlights illuminated the ship as she flew over the city and,
despite it being 1.00am in the morning; thousands of well wishers
took to the city streets and rooftops to wave. The ship then turned
out to the sea and headed on towards home.
Very good progress was made during the night as the ship had the
advantage of a strong tail wind, and her speed increased to 90mph
as she flew in the prevailing air current. The forward engine
was rested and still the ship was managing to race along at 90
mph. The crew was unprepared for the swiftness of their eastward
crossing of the Atlantic.
It was considered
that, as the R 34 was gaining time on her voyage and not expending
much of her fuel compared to her outward journey, the ship change
her flight route and fly over London before returning to East
Fortune. The return home was uneventful, and the standard ship
routine continued. The only problem occurred when an engineer
fell against the clutch of an engine causing the engine to be
freed and race until destruction because the connecting rods fractured.
The repairs could not be made in flight and so the engine was
stopped, but this in no way impeded the speed of the ship. Due
to this event and not having any spare power in case of emergencies,
it was decided to cancel the voyage over London and head straight
It was not
until the final evening at midnight when a message was received
from the Air Ministry to divert the ship from landing at East
Fortune, but go directly to Pulham. It was initially due to bad
weather at East Fortune, but a few hours later a message from
East Fortune confirmed the weather conditions had improved. A
request was put in to the Air Ministry to have the ship return
to East Fortune but this was turned down and the ship was ordered
was ever given for this change in plan and no explanation can
be found for it. The ship carried across the English countryside
and came, rather quietly to Pulham Air Station at 6.57 GMT to
be welcomed by the RAF personnel, which was rather quieter than
that which greeted the ship at New York, and than expected at
The return journey had taken three days three hours and three
minutes. The ship had travelled some 7,420 miles on this voyage
at an average speed of 43 mph.
to Scotland and a Refit.
The R34 was
laid up at Pulham, however as this was one of the bussiest bases,
and a centre for experiments, it was decided that due to space,
that the R34 return to East Fortune and spent 6 months being refitted.
R 34 Moves
Again and bow hatch fitting - Howden
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- Training Role, and Accidental Destruction
The R34 was to talk on the role of a
instructional ship, to train American crews who had come over
and were based at Howden in Yorkshire. The British team were to
train the US crews who were to be taking on the R38 later to be
designated the ZR2, which had been sold to the Americans.
The R34 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.
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.
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
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.
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 later sold for scrap.