TERRIBLE AIR TRAGEDY
R101 CRASHES IN FLAMES ALL AIRSHIP LEADERS LOST
LORD THOMSON A VICTIM
SEVEN SAVED OUT OF 53
A few hours after she left Cardington, Bedfordshire, on a flight to India, the British airship R101 crashed into a hillside in France and fell
It is believed that 46 persons were either killed by the fall or burned to death. Seven members of the crew were saved.
Distinguished passengers, including tile Secretary of State for Air (Lord Thomson) and the Director of Civil Aviation (Sir Sefton Brancker), and all of the officers were killed.
Among those who perished was Squadron-Leader William Palstra, liaison officer between the Royal Australian Air Force and the Air Ministry.
LONDON, Oct. 5.
Striking a hillside in France and crashing in flames, the British airship R101, which had started for India only a few hours before, was totally destroyed early this morning. Of the 53 persons on board only seven were saved. The dead include:—
Lord Thomson, Secretary of State for Air.
Sir Sefton Branckcr, Director of Civil
Lieut.-Col. V. C. Richmond, designer of the
Wing-Commander R. B. Colmore, director
of airship development.
The Secretary of State for Air,
Major G. H. Scott, assistant director of
Fllght-Llcut. H. C Irwin, commander of
| the R101
Squadron-Leader E. L. Johnson, navigator
of the R101
Squadron-Leadcr W. Palstra, Rojal Aus
ti ililli An 7 01 ce, acting as lni«=on oilicei with the Biitisb Au Ministij.
Mr. M. A. Giblett, supeiinlcndent of the I ansliip nieteoiologicil olhcc
[ Squadron-Loader W. H. L. O'Neill, icpie
senting the Seeiet.uv of blute foi India. Flying-Officer M. H. Steff.
Lieut.-Commander N. G. Athcrstone, who
beived on auships dilling the war, retried in 1°_0, and went to live m Australia lie letumcd to Lngland in 1027, and wa» appointed to the unship works at -aldington.
Lieut-Commander H. W. Watt, com mandci of the Karachi aupoit.
The men saved aie -V. Saxon*, J. H. Binks, H. J Leech, AV. G. Radcliffe, A. J. Cook, A. Disley, and A. V. Bell Ihey aie said to bo all seiiously mjuied
Special Significance of Flight.
IvTo one had tho slightest thought of liagedy when the R101, m the gicv of dusk, with the biilliancc of n monster Hood lamp gleaming, like silver on bei massive hull, left -aldington The highest hopes weie enteitained of the ibgbt, wine h xvas lceog nised ns muiking a definite advance ni the lnstoiy of aviation, ond full of potentiah lies foi quickening lui pen til conimunica lions Kditonal comment in the iievvs pipeis pointed out that the flight had »peeial signibeance foi the Imperial Cou feience, as showing how m the futmo the time of delegates would be saved by tiivellmg by an ship Hie gcncial con- fidence in the vessel was f tu thei indicated bj tho picscncc among the pa«scngeis of the gieat aviation e\peits and administia tots, Loid Thomson and Sn ¡»cftou Biunc ker, whose dominating pulposo was to study the flight fiom the point of view of the establishment of îcgular unship sei viecs between Bntaiu and the Last, as a ptohuiinaiy to a seiviee between Britain
Although the flight fiom Pngland to India was not as s,pectaculu as the lian« Atlantic vovagc of tho R10Ü, the inteiest
The Director of Civil Aviation,
Sir SEFTON BRANCKER.
11 ikon in it av as grcatei th ni ni anj picv ions an-diip ventine Lxpcits said that the long lornnev to the I t»t would prove who was light the \ir 31uii«tt-v or the pin ate concern lCf-ponsiblc loi the dc«ign and ton btiiiLtion ni the KI00, foi although thej weie known is s-i-tet ship-, thej were t<it ill» dilleient in constiuction Hie R100 is liuile of durilumin stup» wound into tube», whoica» st mile»-, steel was used foi the mun giidcib ot the K101, with dm iliimiii el o««, tube» bnced bv t-t(cl winn- Hie speed nt Die R101 was in lletioi to tint ot the R100 which attuned SO null» in horn, wheteis the highest »peed ot the KI01 avis "ivm .rhciillv is ne nlv Ti mile» nihoui with the hvi i ii^ine» in epoi ituii 1 lie nude oil Incl n»cd on
the 1.101 windi ,-ivc "nita cconom) j
than petrol, was al»o legarded ns an ad vantage from the point of Mew of safety
The stait of tho flight was dclaved a quaiter ot a hour owing to the fniluie of the starting tnechiinsni of the starboard forvvaid motor, which, being a heavj oil engine, icfused to lire Tile other foul engine»., equipped with pctiol starters, opeiatcd peilectl) Seveial thousands of people lined the load», which were ablaze with the headlamps of motoi cars Ihej ehccied the crew, who icphed by flashing lamps
The airship left its mooring mast at Cardington at halt past 7 o'clock on Satur dav night The weather was thieatening, ami the airship was almost obhtentcd bj low flying clouds when she passed over Lou Ion shoi th aftei 9 o'clock Thousands* of people waited for horns in the bticcts
to obtain ,i glimpse of her, but owing to the oveicoit sky only a few of them saw the lights on the vessel. The I" 101 left the Lnghsh coast near Hastings at a quarter to 10 o'clock, and ciossed iuto Fiance near St. Quentin.
At ten minutes to i o'clock in the morn- ing a startling mess-go was received from Pan's, receiv ed at 3.52 a.m. It read :
"RIOI reported exploded near Beauvais
The next message said that alarm had been caused in Pani bj' an unconfirmed io
The RIOI secured to tho huge mooring mast at Cardington, Bedfordshire, 200 feet
above the ground.
poit that the anship had blown up Au mxiou«! horn then passed, and it avas J o clock beloic the temblé tragedy was con lu meei in a me»-.age winch lead --
RIOI crashed flames, only seven saved " Stoims Cause Change m Course.
J ho R101 sent out witeless messages at fi i épient intervals The last, sent at 10 minute» to 2 o'clock lepoited its position to be two kilometies noith of Beauvais lioin these it was learned that aftei leav
ing the Lnglibh coas' the 1Î101 made ,i vve»teilj course tow aids Bl est, hut, meet ing with storms, it turned and made foi the Pans route It passed over Beauvais in the daikness at an altitude of less than 100ft Within five minutes, at the v ill ige i f Vllonnc, it hit a hill less than 100ft Iinji ,
borne peasauts sa" that the 11101 nose dived, then its hack bloke, and it ex ploded before crashing into the lull Hie »even suivivois weie ni the back cabin md wete saved, eithei bj being thrown deal or bj lumping 'Hie wieckage bin lit fierce!), and could not be appioached until mai daylight
Hie 1 lench authouties rushed tioops doctois, nuises, and ambulances to the scene A\ hen they managed to appioach the wreckage, which was btill hot, 12 bodic» weie jeeoveied All the leniams weie so badlj chaued that the) weie uniecotius
Pans officials »tate th it as the Buti»h Government oiil) nifoinicd the licnch authouties of the thiee piovisional louto» and nothing definite about them, onlv ti e usual lights on the ie0ular London Pan» air line had been lit Aeioplaucs lett Le
Bourgct iciodtonie at diwn earning re- lief woikii« The lienib Munster fot \n (Al I.micnt I y nae) Ins left for the «ccuc ul the di«i»tci
Course to India.
Banquet at Ismailia Proposed.
(I<rtl«li Oflinal Wire les»)
It ni» th intention c1 the ollie r«
the BIO] to tullun a eoui»i between 11 >ue n nul l'an« th n steer «oiithvio«t to Bor eleaiiN, md i! the xvcithir xi"» imalleie ! to «ct i e,iiii«o 1er Al ill i th, nee exist to I«miiln l.vpt, while it was liopexl to inive«j_t 4 nil« ck in Al ndjy attcrii«ion \t I«ni ubi tbcie i» an an ship ba»c, f«lull P°d with J moiling tower »mular in ill io»|nct» t> tint it Ciidingt m, md
lix di og, n pi mt ciy ililc i l Living JU output ul üllf'Ou i iblc le»t in bulli
A vt ite biiirjucl xv i-, t J luxe been given on tie in «lup while »he »wung at her nn«t llOtt ibove the giound Aftei
»tiv of i few boni!, it w i» intended to ic»iimc the vovuge via Aleppo, Biedad, and Ba»n to Kataclu, xx heit*, in addition to i mooting tovvci mel hxdiogcn plant, there is al»o tbe lirgc»t housing »bed m the Bnti»h Kinpirc, being sbghtlj larger than either of the sheds at Caidiugton.
SIR SEFTOX BRAXCKER.
Mining Student at Bendigo.
With his brother Grafton, Sir Sefton Bt alicker .»pent a year avhcnii young man as a mining strident at Bendigo. They came to Bendigo in ISO!) from England to obtain cxpciiencc on the goldfields, which were then notable gold producers. Sefton was aged 21 years at that time, and his brother was two years his junior. Pull of enthusiasm for their new venture, the brothers obtained employment as ordinary miners at the Red, White, and Blue mine. Tiley were regarded with suspicion at first by the other miners, who came later to value them as comrades. Sefton had been working for about three months when he broke his leg, and he was unable to work for nine months. The brothers attended the Bendigo School of klines for technical
On the outbreak of the South African war thej" returned to England immediately to join their regiment. Grafton was re- ported missing after the engagement at the Alodder River, and was never found, but Sefton returned to England at the end of tho campaign with distinguished -service
to lils credit.
Later, Sir Sefton Brancher saw service in India in the artillery and in various staff appointment--. It was there, in tile winter of 1010, that lie had, as a militar)' observer;
his first experience of flying. Ile was ap- pointed to tho A\"ar Office in 1913, and in the following j-ear became director of mili- tar}* aeronautics. In 1010 be was selected for the post of director of air organisation, aud in the following year was given com- mand of the Royal Air I'orce in the Middle East. Ho xvas knighted in 1919, tho year in which ho retired so that ho might be able lo give attention to the developmcut of commercial aviation. Ile became a mem- ber of the Air Ministry in 1922. A genuine enthusiast, ho performed splendid work for
civil iviation being a leader in alino«t eveiy , ictivitj foi the development of flying He
was ehaiiman of the lacing committee of the Rojal Aeio Club
Loid Thomson, Secretaiy" of State for Au, wis a «on of Alajor Geneial David Thomson He was aged 05 jeais During the Alashoiiuland and South African cam pugi)-, he lendeied conspicuous service Lailv in 1014 he went to Innee on the still of the Tirst Armj Corps undei Sit Douglas Haig' In the following jear he became militai j attache to Rouinaiua, and liter w is head of the Alihtary Commission there He xvis at Aretsailles as British milt tiny repiesentative on the Supremo War Council He letired, xvith the bononrj i ink of bngadiei general, lu 1919 It was m 1024, the jen of hi» appointment as .»ecietan ot State foi Air, that he was msec! to tho peel age
Asked beloie «.oing on bond whethei he thought tint the tup would bo the foie i unnci of icgiilai tups to lud ii, Lord Thom son IiUj.lnnt.lj lepbed that he would make no piophecj He li id ¡.icat confidence, IU the tup beiut, successful
Biilhant Aviation Student
Scpi uhon Leadct AA'ilIiaiii Pdlstia served with the Austi linn Ujmg Corps m trance ni INO J Squadron, and won the Ylihtarj Cioss A\ ben be letmued to Austtaba he vv i» einplov ed in the Registrai's oilice at the Alclbouine Univeisitj and while there he completed his course for the Bachelot of lits degiee In the following j eat, 1925, he joined the Roval Austialnn Air Force, and was dnoetoi of manning at head «imitéis until 1928 when he was nominated loi a coin se it the Rojal An Toice Col
lefee Ile com ileted this coutte brilliantly list jeal md was ict mied in London a« lui on ofbeet of the Roul Australian An loue it Au«tiahi House Hie Chief oi tin \i\ St id ( \n Commodore R A\ ii linn ) eon«idcieil bun the most suitiblc ollicci to bo mi hided ainoii_ the pa»scngei»
cn the llifclit if the Rlul on pottton ot the pnji tel an »hip n tite li m 1 Hilan 1 to \u»tr.iln lb w i« ta have i (»ported to the loden! <.oaetu m nt (*i the flicht to lulu Vj i,ilion Ludir PiKtra a» i» agel
7 »i ii« He »l tilt lu«, larlv childbool m "» nth A nea and unie to vu«tiaba athen he a» i- "p 1 »ix vm« aa ith hi» 1 it her, who v» i» m othc^r ni the ¡»ilaatnn Arm» Ile Icm» ivvi'uvv aid tliue dill lit li avnonic m Li nilen
Lieut -Commandei Atherstone
lie it Caniniaiielci \thei»toiie i» an air »hip nth. i with the li»v 1 \ iv ii Vu ¡»-el aic-c in t! i Gi cat "A u ha 1 t he» i ne di» tuieti u et having m h»l util la «unk a
Major G. H. SCOTT.
Gemían submarine unaided fiom a "Blimp
a small, noniigid au hip used foi coastal patiol lor this he w is awarded the Dis tinguishcd Sei vice Order He retired from the service in 1020 and came to Australia but went back to Lngland with Gioup Captain fellowes, who was inquiring into the plans foi an an ship louto between Britain and Australia It had been arianged that he should be second in command to Major Scott the captain of the R100, who was also killed with the R101 Lieut Com
Flight-Lloutenant IRWIN, Commander of the RIO!.
mander Atlierstone leaves n widow and a daughter
"TEERIBLE TO CONTEMPLATE"
Setback foi Airship Development
Alembets ot the Australian vu Board weio dismajed la t night when m foimed of the tragcdj to the R101
Great Bntain lias for a second time lost ill bei men avho weie mott c\
penciled! in aviation with hghtei than air machines " said the Chief of the An Staff (An Commodoie Jt 1 AVilhanisJ Even apait from that tact, the ti aged) is ap palling It is extraordinarj tint Britain should hive such teinblo misfortunes in the airship section of aviation Hie disaster to th., R38 ni 1021 was appalling, this has eclipsed it m loss of life and m piobable consequences to Bntish an ship develop ment It will be a temblé bctback foi the hghtei than au machine Until Lord Thom son was JMnustei in the labt Labour Jlimstrj pnctically nothing had been dono in this branch of aviation he was lesponsiblc foi the lenval of auship build ing, and gavo orders for two large ships, the R100 to be built bv Arickcis Ltd and the 11101 at the Rojal Airship Woiks, Cardington "Ihe 11101 was recently en larged bj adding a new section amidships nftci cutting the ship m two Loid Ihom son, Sa Sefton Bianckei, Alajor Scott and Commander Cohnoro were all men to whom Bntain looked foi fin thor develop ment m hghtei than au aviation 1 hen loss is a cnppbiig blow
Ihe Contiollei of Civil Vvnilton (Colonel II C Bnnsmctd) saul that the tiagedy was too temblé to contemplai. Among the killed were nianj who had become his intimate friends, either bj frequent per bonni discussions, oi bj long continued cor respondence He had been deeply shal en
Message From Victoria
His 1 xcellencj the Lieutenant Governor (Su AAilham Irvine) jesterdaj sent the lojlowing cable lnesacre to the feccrctaiy of Stite for the Dominions -
On behalf of the Government and the people of the Stnte of Arictona 1 deslio to expiess the piofotnidcst i egret at the sudden and tiagical disustci that his be fallen the an ship 11101 and the »enous loss
Squadron-Leader E. L. JOHNSTON,
ot life dceoinpanjmg it, ind also to convej a deep sen«e ot the loss His Alajestj's Go \eminent ind tho Lmpiic have sustained m the death of the An -ilinistei "
WOULD LIFT 172 TONS. Luxurious Appointments.
Cost Moie Than ¿£2,000,000.
Altei it» ni nilen flight on Octobei 14, 1929, the RICH bicime known as But un s vvondei in «hi])" It wi- lound howey«,
that the vc«se! could be ínipioved in many WHS, and a nunibci of alterations were mide following experiments Originally the length of the airship w as 7"50ft, but i few weeks ago, at the Rojal Aircraft Works at Cirdmgton, it was cut in halves and a new section inserted, making it OSft longer, md increasing its gross lift from ITC to 172 tons, and its capacitj from 5 000,000 to 5,500,000 cubic feet The execu- tion of this work wis logiided as an engineering marvel After the airship had been severed in the middle, each bait was inflated and drawn npait ni the huge hangir New* gudei« were then built in, and finally the fabnc wis drawn together The total cost of the ship exceeded £2 000,000
Hie urslnp cn lied five independent power unils, each containing t Beardmore Diesel lomado engine of 585horse power, duving an airscrew There was also
small luxibaij engine bj which the main engine was started Originally the 1.101 took the mr with four engines to drive bei forward and one to go astern It was found piacticablc, however, to reverse the engines, and although onlj two reveisible engines weie available for tins flight it w as intended that the otheis should be modified later With only foul engines to go ahead the airship attained a speeel of about 70 miles an bout, and had a ciuising speed of about 63 miles an bom The fuel used was oil of which the fla»h point" is considci
ablj higliet even than the oil used as fuel m ships' boilers This oil was expected to mciease the flvmg range about 30 pet cent, weight for weight The cost wa» also icckoned to be con»idcrablj lc»s-£5 a ton, as against £25 a ton foi petiol
This was to hav e been the first flight of any airship to either Lgvpt oi India It wis undertaken on an expcumental bisis to test the behavioui of the airship on a longdistance flight, especially under seveic tropical conditions
The an ship had accommodation for ap pioximately 100 passengers Appointments weie luxurious, and included a large lounge mil observation bilcome» The kitchen with electucil appliances, was like that of a modem hotel and the dining room was capable of accommodating 50 poison«, at