Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Fairlop's Zeppelin Threat

Back on Friday 11 May in good sunshine, a group of interested folk walked the length of Zeppelin L33 within Fairlop Waters Country Park in the company of David Martin. Today we had David Martin at our coffee morning explaining that the length of that Zeppelin would stretch from the traffic lights outside the library all the way down the High Street to Costa Coffee.

We heard about Alfred de-Bathe Brandon from New Zealand who in the night of 24 September 1916 fired at Zeppelin L33 which later crashed virtually intact near to Little Wigborough, Essex.

His aircraft, a BE2 biplane was made of wood and the aerodynamics achieved by coating canvas with dope which made it rigid. The propeller, also made of wood, and we were delighted to see an actual balde from 1916 made from layered teak.

The size of a BE2 compared to L33 is shown above. The L33 was 198m (650 Feet) long by 22.5m (75 feet) diameter, max speed 62 mph and incredibly difficult to fly, especially in bad weather, with a crew of 21, plus captain and flew at 13,000 feet. Based at Nordholz near Hambourg approx 450 miles from London.

It was held aloft by 19 gas cells made from cows intestines, which is why 250,000 cows were slaughtered to make cells for each Zeppelin! Sausages were banned in Germany and those countries

Streatham, Brixton, Bow and Leyton were bombed, killing 36 and injuring 113.

If you're interested to hear more, another walk is planned in September on a Saturday - date to be announced. Check back for notice.

Thanks to John Barfoot for loan of the propeller.


  1. Being bombed by an oversize gasbag filled with sausage skins is beyond Monty Python!

  2. A stupid comment made by an idiot. Airship raids claimed the lives of 557 souls and wounded 1,358 British men women AND children. Material damage was almost £1 million inflicted London. How can that funny?

  3. I know David Martin is NOT an idiot - and indeed neither am I - but I never realised that he is completely devoid of a sense of humour. David, millions of people were killed and injured when France fell and was subsequently occupied by the Germans, thousands died at sea during the war. Do you therefore consider the writers of 'Ello Ello or, say, 'The Navy Lark' also to be idiots? Humour in adversity is what kept us going during the war and for some time after it - but of course Mr. Martin would not be aware of that. So, before you start chucking insults about, David, I suggest you get yourself a sense of humour checkout. (I've been away and this note has been posted so late I doubt anyone will get to read it - but it needed saying anyway.)

  4. Have just returned from Portugal and read the comment of Alfred Levy, who has mixed up humour and history.
    It is important to be able to tell the difference.
    Both start with the same letter ‘h’, one is six letters, the other seven letters, but this may be sufficient to confuse poor Alfred, as spelling is not one of his strong points.
    For instance, I have not heard of a programme called ‘Ello Ello’ but have heard of one called ‘Allo Allo’.

    Here is a test to help Alfred tell the difference
    To make it easier, the first letter is the same in both 1 & 2

    1 = humour programme 2 = history

    1. Army Game 2. Arnhem
    1. Allo Allo 2. Auschwitz
    1. Black Adder goes forth 2. Battle of El Alamein
    1. Dads Army 2. Dresden
    1. Navy Lark 2. Nagasaki

    I am unable to find humour in any item 2.

    Good Moaning Alfred