Incident Naval Airship No.1 Mayfly HMA. 1,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 34378
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Date:Sunday 24 September 1911
Type:Naval Airship No.1 Mayfly
Owner/operator:HMS Hermione, Admiralty (Royal Navy)
Registration: HMA. 1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Cavendish Dock, Barrow-in-furness, Cumberland -   United Kingdom
Phase: Taxi
Departure airport:Cavendish Dock, Barrow-in-furness
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
His Majesty's Airship No. 1 was designed and built by Vickers, Sons and Maxim at their works in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, as an aerial scout airship for the Royal Navy. She was the first British rigid airship to be built, and was constructed in a direct attempt to compete with the German airship programme. Nicknamed “Mayfly” by the lower deck (i.e. the non-commissioned component of a naval ship’s crew), she is often referred to by this name, but in public records is designated ‘HMA Hermione’, because the naval contingent at Barrow were attached to HMS Hermione, a cruiser moored locally preparing to act as her tender.

When she was moved from her shed in Cavendish Dock to conduct full trials on 24 September 1911, she broke in two as a result of being subject to strong winds before she could attempt her first flight

According to contemporary reports: "By 24th September 1911, the decision was made to move her out of her hanger for full testing. However, disaster struck in the form of a sudden forceful beam-side gust causing the ship to lurch, just clearing the shed but laid her on to her beam ends. She righted and was them being pivoted so that her nose would point back out to the dock when there were cracking sounds amidships and she broke in two. She started to rise in an inverted "V" formation but t he crew in the after gondola dived overboard and the stern flew up in to the air.

The wreck was returned to the shed the same day. The Court of Inquiry decided that there was no one to blame of this incident and it would be reasonable to support the story that the squall was to blame. It was of such a force that later ships would have also been severely damaged if they had encountered it under the same tethered circumstances.

The ship was left to rot in her shed, when many decisions and arguments were made in the Admiralty regarding the future of Naval Airship operations. However her brief career had supplied an immense amount of valuable information for British Scientists. She may not have flown but she was not a dead loss."


1. Air Enthusiast 56


HMA 1 "Mayfly" wreck 1 The Naval Rigid Airship HMA No 1 "Mayfly" with her back broken after being caught by a gust of wind on being taken out of her floating shed at Cavendish Dock, Barrow. Date 24 September 1911

Revision history:

10-Dec-2013 21:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
16-Nov-2018 03:09 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code]

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