with the Admiralty's over ambitious attempt to introduce a
large rigid airship into service in 1911, the four volumes
tell in detail the story of the wartime rigid airships and
the less ambitious but more successful non rigid airships,
of which over 200 were eventually built. Deployed against
the German submarine fleet, they formed part of what eventually
became a massive anti-submarine force of aircraft and warships
which eventually defeated the U-boat menace.
Despite their success, after the war airships were neglected
by both the Admiralty and the Royal Air Force, and the magnificent
achievement of the R 34 in crossing the Atlantic to New York
in July, 1919, was forgotten in the aftermanth of the R38
Each airship type is described in full techincal detail, followed
by their individual service histories, when operating from
the numerous naval airship stations established around the
British Isles and in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The rigid airship story is followed into the post war period
and ends with the attempt to establish a civil airship programme
using the R 33 and R 36, which eventually led to the ill-fated
Imperial Airship Scheme.
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TURPIN began his long career in aviation as an engineer,
studying at the College of Aeronautical Engineering in London
before joining the Royal Air Force in 1955. On leaving the
RAF in 1960, he obtained his Commercial Pilots Licence and
after working as a flying instructor for a few years joined
his first airline operating a car ferry service across the
After forty years of airline and executive flying, he retired
from commercial aviaition in 2000. Still keen to contiue
flying, he then joined a local flying club and worked as
an instructor for the next sixteen years, finally retiring
with over 23,000 flying hours.
His interest in balloons and airships began when he was
a child, but it was not until 1972 that he was able to make
his first balloon flight when he joined a local group of
balloon enthusiasts in Essex. He subsequently gain his balloon
pilots licence and has also flown in the Goodyear airship
and later in the new Zeppelin NT.
Research in to the history of British naval airships began
in the late 1960's and has continued ever since, resulting
in numerous articles in aviation magazines, a previous book
to the subject and the present four volumes.
A member of Air-Britain for many years, he recived the Air
Writer of the Year Award in 1969 and again 2019, on both
occassions for articles on British airship history.
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