Monday, 2 October 2017

Bill Williams early Airship Pilot.

As a pioneer in this field, he obtained the Airships pilot's licence No 28 which gives the title to his book 'Airship Pilot Number 28'. With the First World War at its height, he was posted to Anglesey to a unit flying non-rigid airships over the Irish Sea to guard convoys of ships heading for Liverpool against submarines.He received an Air Force Cross for his efforts.
In 1918 he was seconded to be the First Officer of the much-decorated crew who flew the Airship SR1 from Italy to England; the longest flight achieved for some years.
With the war's end, he was part of an ill-fated expedition to use Airships in the seal fisheries of Newfoundland. Returning to England he was heavily involved in the burgeoning Airship industry until its demise with the crash of the R101.
Many years later, with the development of the modern recreational Hot Air Balloon, he became involved again in his first love and was of considerable use to the pioneers with his experience of actually having flown these things before.

In 1972 he gave an interview that is preserved in the collections of the Imperial War Museum, a truly remarkable testimony from one so closely involved in the airship war and flying the Zeros.

We are releasing Bill Williams recordings that relate to the Zero and his time spent based on the Anglesey airship station. We have added images to accompany his own words, some of which have never previously been published.

We have also managed to identify Captain Williams in a number of the group photos we have recently received.

Airships Over Anglesey Part One

Airships Over Anglesey Part Two

A written account can be found in:

Airship Pilot No 28, Williams.T.B, William Kimber and Co. Ltd, London 1974

Autumn 17

The project has given display , talks and exhibitions over the summer and is planning the final 12 months delivery stage. This will include our new web site,digital reconstructions, field work and tour of the pop up museum with the publication of our book.

Project display at "Wings over Carew" August 2017 on the centenary of the deployment of SSz16 to RNAS airship station Pembroke .
There will be a review of progress in the November newsletter highlighting some of the research and the new information we have discovered.

 We hope to release the details of the reconstruction next month and are progressing with preparing the build space and coordinating various partners to assist in this phase. If you are keen to volunteer as part of this unique reconstruction get in touch, spaces are limited but we will share the progress online as we go.

What has been most peoples reaction to the project : " I never knew anything about airships and Wales - but I do now!"

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Next Event

Following up from our day at the Holyhead Maritime Museum last month, our display returns to Anglesey and the town of Llangefni with the Anglesey Treasures pop-up museum, courtesy of  Menter Mon. 

International support.

Volunteer support has already been received from Mike Jenkins in New Zealand who has supplied drawings, suggestions and advice as to how we can progress with the reconstruction.

Mike has a number of drawings that he wants to digitise and plans printing to scale and has solicited the help of his local print shop, who has offered to support our 'exciting and historical project', THANK YOU to Island Print for doing so. 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Unexpected details

The recent receipt of a scan of the handbook of the SS Zero airship has added some surprising details, as the copy appears to have a number of handwritten notes, underlinings and exclamation marks against various 'important' or memorable sections of the text and some of the photos.They appear to be relevant for someone making notes in preparation and training!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The mystery of the missing control car

Part of the project is to record any associated memorials or commemorative features associated with the two Royal Naval airship station in Wales.

The Llangefni airship station is detailed in T.B.Williams excellent resource, his personal recollections of British airships and his posting to Anglesey in 'Airship Pilot No28' during and after the Great War.

In the Postscript, page 197 - 198, Williams described the formation of the RNAS Anglesey Old Boy's Association, which met annually from 1920 until 17th April 1970.

He also recalls the meeting at Llangefni on December 6th, 1969 to unveil a plaque that had been installed in the entrance to Shire hall in the town.

Having contacted Anglesey County Council to inquire of the whereabouts of the plaque we were pleased to receive a few photos of it, still in-situ, from Gethin Jones, who manages the Anglesey County Council Facebook page.

(Image credit: Gethin Jones Ynys Mon C.C.2017)

Gethin kindly snapped the plaque with his camera phone to ensure we were discussing the correct plaque and show its condition.(above)

It was only a few days later after we had been sent a number of high definition images that we could see that the relief of SSZ34 was far from complete.

(Image credit: Gethin Jones Ynys Mon C.C.2017)

The control car is missing, however, you can still see the points where it had been fixed to the envelope and there is a faint ghost image on the board behind in a lighter shade!

In an attempt to solve the mystery we can ask:
  • Any chance it has been saved and put away elsewhere?
  • Has it been removed previously as a souvenir?
  • Was its loss ever noted and reported in the local press?
  • Would it be good to replace/restore the missing part for the centenary?

Friday, 3 March 2017

Welcome to the project

Project Zero was devised and developed by History Matters as the leading partner in this centenary project for 2017 to commemorate the First World War in Wales. To undertake this project we have become a centenary partner with the Imperial War Museum.

The project will involve communities across North Wales, South Wales and beyond and will create a dedicated website, a digital archive of research and images, educational outreach, community archaeology and the creation of a unique archaeological reconstruction as a centrepiece for a touring 'pop-up' museum.

Welcome to the project.