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May 27, 2021

An Appeal Has Been Launched for Stories and Memorabilia Ahead of the 100th Anniversary of an Airship Disaster Which Killed 44 People

The R.38/ZR-2 exploded mid-flight in front of onlookers in Hull, Yorkshire, England on 24 August 1921, before crashing into the River Humber, killing most of the crew.

The airship, called the “Titanic of the skies”, was on a test flight before being handed over to the US Navy.

Historic England wants to create an online archive about the disaster.

The 695ft long (212m) airship was built at Cardington, Bedfordshire, but was based at Howden, East Yorkshire, to complete its test flights. It was due to fly to Pulham in Norfolk ahead of a final handover to the US, but it had to return due to bad weather. Last checks on its steering caused the light structure of the airship to break apart.

In total, 44 of the 49 British-American crew died in the resulting catastrophe.

It was designed to be the first of four ships that could patrol far out to sea for up to a week at a time, to combat the German U-boat threat.

44 of the men pictured above died in the crash

Ahead of the anniversary, Historic England has commissioned a crowdsourcing project to create an online archive of materials relating to the disaster.

Keith Emerick, from Historic England, said: “Like the Titanic, the R.38/ZR-2 was the most advanced of its kind at the time. It was larger, faster and could fly higher than any of its predecessors.”

You can read more in an article in the BBC News web site at: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-humber-57260147.

May 27, 2021

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