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?