Historical places, airship, Bedfordshire local history, airships, national heritage sites, historic preservation, attractions in the UK, heritage sites in the UK, historical monuments, historical landmarks, tourist attractions in the UK, places in UK to visit, tourist in England, historical tourism, R101 and R100 airships.
The R33 Airship
The R33 airship - sister to the R34
This robust and enduring airship was built by Armstrong Whitworth and was completed after the end of WW1. Her first flight was in early 1919 and she was sent to Pulham airship station where she clocked up over 300 flying hours in tests and the training of crews. In 1921 she was used by the London Metropolitan Police for traffic control. Following the R38 crash later that same year this much loved ship was grounded at Cardington for the next four years. With the resurrection of airship construction in 1925 which saw the beginnings of the R100 and R101 airships the reconditioned R33 was brought out and sent back to Pulham for further tests and training. When one looks at the names of some of the men who were associated with her it is not surprising to read that she was a well-respected airship
On April 16 1925 she famously broke free from her moorings at Pulham carrying a skeleton crew across the North Sea. This adventure made national headlines at the time and the crew were hailed as heroes when the ship despite suffering damage was successfully steered back home.
After further tests and trials in the following years this admirable workhorse was scrapped at Pulham in 1928.
April 16 1925 - the R33 breaks away from it's mooring mast at Pulham
This article from The Flight Magazine in May 1925 lists the awards given to the crew members on board the Airship R33 when it broke free of the mast at Pulham. Eleven of the crew were or were to become residents of Shortstown including George Hunt and it is something our village should be proud of.
The R33 breakaway crew 1925
William Rose Gent. Senior Engineer. Like George Hunt a resident of Shortstown from 1925 -1930. Later to lose his life in the R101 crash.
Flight Sgt George William Hunt. Chief Cox and resident of Shortstown from 1925 -1930. Later to lose his life in the R101 crash.
Flight Lieut Ralph Sleigh Booth - later to become Captain of the R100.
Wireless Operator Spencer Thomas Keeley. Later to lose his life on the R101.
Sydney Ernest Scott - resident of Shortstown 1925-1930. Later to lose his life in the R101 crash.
George Ernest Long - resident of Shortstown from 1930 - 1937. Part of the R100 crew on the flight to Canada in 1930. Went on to work at Cardington until the late 1950's.
William Henry King - another man later to lose his life in the R101 crash.
Arthur Bell - R101 survivor and long term resident of Shortstown.
Zimiri Little - resident in Shortstown in 1926. Does anyone know anything about this man? Please make contact if you can help.
Norman Gerald Mann. Also lived in Shortstown from 1931 to at least 1939.
Do you have any information about any of the crew of the R33? I have been unable to find photographs of the following men who were also on board the airship listed in the Flight magazine article.
Charles Bernard Oliver
R W Dick
D W Mayes
J N Potter - (believed to be the brother of Walter Potter who survived the R38 crash but was killed in the R101 accident.)
J G Rarp
H L Rowe
J E Scott
Leslie Anderson Moncrieff. Rigger Lived in Shortstown from 1931 to at least 1939.
Granville Watts - resident of Shortstown 1927-1929. Also on the successful R100 flight to Canada in 1930.
Other known R33 crew members not on the runaway flight
Tommy Greenstreet. Coxswain of the R33 and R100. Resident of Shortstown from 1925-1934
Tom Hobbs. Resident of Shortstown from 1925 to at least 1950
Edward James Stupple. Resident of Shortstown in 1930