Jigsaw Puzzle of Wreck of HMA1, the Royal Navy's first airship
The wreck of HMA1, The Mayfly. Built by Vickers, this was the first naval airship built in the UK; work began on it in 1909 at Cavendish Dock. On 13 February 1911 the Mayfly made her static trials in the shed. The motors were run and controls operated but outdoor trials could not be completed until the weather moderated. It was not until March that the crew were reported ready for launching the ship. By 24 September 1911 the decision was made to move her out of her hangar for full testing. However, disaster struck in the form of a sudden forceful beamside gust causing the ship to lurch; she just cleared the shed, but was laid onto her beam ends. She righted and was then being pivoted so that her nose would point back out to the dock, but there were cracking sounds amidships and she broke in two. She started to rise in an inverted V formation but the crew in the after gondola dived overboard and the stern flew up into the air. The ship was later left to rot in her shed, while many discussions took place at the Admiralty regarding the future of naval airship operations.
© Mary Evans Picture Library/The Pete Frost Collection
Media ID 7244275
hma, hma1, may fly
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