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Airship and Ground Crew, RNAS Mullion, about 1917

NumberHESFM:1996.6737
PlaceRNAS Mullion Cornwall United Kingdom
Date1917. about
KeywordsWar and Conflict World War One RNAS Mullion Bonython Armed Forces Royal Navy
PhotographerUnknown
Copyright© Helston Museum

The World War One Coastal Class airship, C2, being handled by a large number of ground crew at RNAS Mullion, about 1917. The role of Coastal Class and the modified Coastal Star Class airships was patrol. Airship patrols were an effective deterrent to submarine activities and to combat the U-boat threat to merchant shipping and fishing fleets. Five crew were armed with four machine guns and a small number of bombs or depth charges. The open, unheated cockpits were cramped and uncomfortable. In winter crews risked frostbite and hypothermia. The airships could not be taxied and required teams of ground handling crew to walk them around using rods connecting the airship with the ground. RNAS Mullion was one of the Royal Navy's principal airship stations in the southwest. The foundations for two large hangars and the bases for wind-breaks can still be seen today.