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Airship Sheds
United Kingdom - Anglesey

Country : United Kingdom Location: RNAS Anglesey Airship Station, Wales

1 Single Submarine Scout Class Shed
(302ft long 70ft wide and 50ft high)
1 Silcol plant
1 Gasholder.


RNAS To safeguard the shipping lanes in the Irish Sea and the links to one of Britain's major port hub, Liverpool, it was decided that two RNAS airship stations based in Wales.

The first base was situated on the Isle of Anglesey, some 12 miles south east of Holyhead, and 8 miles north west of Cananavron.

The site chosen RNAS Angelsey was built on some low lying ground, surrounded by undulating hills. On 26th September 1915 saw the base commissioned. Sited close to the branch line to Amlwch, which itself was linked to the mainline to Holyhead. The first commander of the base, was Major George Herbert Scott, the later Commander of the R34, and Deputy Director of Airship Development for the Imperial Airship Scheme.

The key role of the RNAS airships to patrol the central Irish Sea shipping. The mail and passenger ships from Holyhead to Dublin, the services to the Isle of Man, and of course the large number of freight shipping which rounded the Anglesey Island headland, in to the river Mersey, and Liverpool docks.

September 1915 saws the arrival of the first airship, the Submarine Scout S.S.18. The ship arrived by train, and assembled and inflate in the new shed. The first flight of the ship was on 26th September 1915. Three more ships arrived over the next few months, with the arrival of S.S.22, S.S.24 and S.S.25.



The rest of the base was still under construction in the later months of 1915, and early 1916. As the silcol plant had not been completed, the ships based there had to be topped up, and inflated using hydrogen gas cylinders. The shed was finally completed in February 1916, and protected by four windbreaks, one at each corner of the two sets of shed doors.

As part of the training for the crews, they practiced bombing from the ships by dropping unarmed bombs on a dummy target, arranged as the same size and shape of an enemy submarine, was set up on the landing ground. The bombs used were 16lb bombs, which would make a sound, but not cause any damage to the ground.

The convoys leaving Liverpool were protected down from leaving the mouth of the River Mersey, then half way down the Irish Sea. Responsibility of the convoy would then be passed on to the SS ships operating from the South Wales RNAS base at Pembroke.

Enemy activity in the form of submarines were often spotted by the SS ships during the war, and provided valuable service in informing the convoy and Royal Navy ships, and often engaging the submarines by attempting to bomb them.

RNAS Angelsey remained on duty and operational even after the Armistice in November 1918. The reason was to act as minesweepers and mine spotters for an enemy mines which may have still be laid in the Irish Sea shipping lanes.

As with many of the RNAS airship stations which were set up just prior to the First World War, it was decided that the threat of submarines had passed, and therefore the Anglesey base and airships were no longer needed. The ships based at the stations were deflated. The station was finally closed in October 1919. The Government Disposal Board was handed the responsibility of disposing of the buildings and shed.

Anglesey County Council agreed to purchase some of the buildings which had been built on the site, and was converted in to a small local hospital. The Submarine Scout shed was demolished. The land where the station was sited, was used in World War Two as the site for RAF Mona airfield, and remains as sited there today

Anglesey Airship shed showing windbreaks extending both ends of the shed
Angelsey airships station with two submarine scout airships on the airfield





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