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Author Topic: RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station  (Read 11766 times)

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Offline Trikeman

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Re: RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2017, 11:32:43 »
Here is a very interesting find online from the 'Britain from Above' collection: it shows No2 Hangar still extant after the war - all the others have been dismantled.
Digging around a bit I found that after closure of the Airship station the hangar was used by South Coast Motor Services in 1935. Coachbuilder Martin Walter Ltd. took over the old hanger and moved his factory there, making car bodies for Rolls Royce, Vauxhall and many others. They moved production to Cheriton road in 1936 where they later produced the Dormobile.
You can clearly see 'Silver Queen Garage' written on the top - a reference to the type of airships flown from here
Not sure when the Hangar was demolished.
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Offline Trikeman

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Re: RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2011, 23:20:28 »
Here's a couple more of Capel - I like the period WW1 shot of the immaculately ranked marching soldiers! Unusual view of hangar - gives some idea of scale.
The other pic shows an airship approaching from inland.
Trikeman



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Re: RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2010, 07:18:25 »
I read somewhere, many years ago, that the term 'blimp' for a non-rigid airship originated at Capel. When larger airships were introduced that would not fit into the original hangar, rather than enlarge or rebuild the hangar its floor was excavated. And then, as an airship was being taken out of the hangar, its pilot could reach the envelope and would flick it with a finger. If it was correctly inflated it would make the sound 'blimp'.

Whether or not this is true I wouldn't like to say, but it's a good story!

godzilla73

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Re: RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2010, 00:04:11 »
Thanks for all this marvellous material. I had absolutely no idea that this station was on this site. I will have a look around next time I am there and think about the airships!

Offline Riding With The Angels

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RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2009, 16:48:41 »
Type C23A airship at Capel 1917



S.S.Z.29 at Capel. Responsible for the spotting and witnessing the demise of UB31 on 2 May 1918.

Philio81

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RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2009, 15:23:39 »
Here a photo of an airship outside one of the hangers a Capel. Apparently the first airships to use Capel were ex-Army Airships, Beta, Delta and Gamma

neil clark

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RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 14:55:57 »
Geoff,

The whole station was much much larger than I first thought! Actually I think we were BOTH right.

That is some fine fine research... Well done and thanks. This former RNAS is a very neglected part of Kent aviation history alongside the likes of Throwley, Wye, Joyce Green and Bekesbourne etc. It's a great pity.

Offline Trikeman

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RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2009, 19:55:39 »
Exact position of hangars at Capel - I think!

OK - have spent some time studying Google Earth, old and new aerial photos and maps and this, I believe, is fairly accurate. I have overlaid the original main airfield roads in white - they match up perfectly with those of caravan site - except half the original airfield is now a large field. Look carefully on GE online and you will see parallel lines of dots in the field where hanger 3 was located. Quite a lot of the roads have disappeared if you look at the 1915 aerial photo, but it all matches up well. I don't know who drew up the plan, but I would like to add an anonymous acknowledgement.
The site was used as a wireless station in WW2  - I have annotated the area where I reckon the masts were.
The new road needs to be discounted - the original one is still there and I have marked it's track.
The overlay is not intended to be 100% architecturally or dimensionally accurate, but it should give you a good idea of the general layout then 7 now
Trikeman





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Offline Trikeman

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RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2009, 21:18:07 »
Hi Neil,
Thanks for your help -couldn't open multimap [shows Europe], but checked on Google Earth against a map of the site and I stand corrected. You can even still see a feint outline of hangar 3 and workshop. Some of the original roads around the perimeter of the Station still follow the same course around the caravan site.
Now I know the exact site, I'll have to take some more pictures!
Geoff
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Offline unfairytale

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RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2009, 16:19:20 »
After closure of the Airship station; coachbuilder Martin Walter took over the old hanger and moved his factory there: Making car bodies for Rolls Royce, Vauxhall and many others. They moved production to Cheriton road in 1936 where they later produced the Dormobile.
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neil clark

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RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2009, 12:49:23 »
Some superb photos but alas I feel you are slightly off target!

I have visited this site a few times. The old Air Ship Station was slightly over to the left on the provided photos. The field in the middle here is where it lay -

http://www.multimap.com/maps/#map=51.10368,1.23021|18|32&bd=useful_information&loc=GB:-0.1261:51.509:8||United%20Kingdom

The only part of it still standing is the road here - http://www.multimap.com/maps/#map=51.10473,1.22942|20|32&bd=useful_information&loc=GB:-0.1261:51.509:8||United%20Kingdom

Hope this helps.
Neil

Offline Trikeman

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RNAS Capel - WWI Airship Station
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2009, 01:11:01 »
Here is a recent aerial photo of the Capel site - now a caravan park. The road layout still matches up well with the original plans and until fairly recently the pits that the Airships docked in were still in-situ, but filled in now I believe. It's not hard to visualise the large machines floating over the cliffs to patrol the Channel.
I flew around the Palm Airship [amazing hotel in Dubai] as it was being photographed over Canterbury for publicity, on it's way to Dubai, a year or so ago, and I distinctly remember thinking that a burst of tracer would do the job nicely [if you saw Flyboys you'll know what I mean - about the best bit in a very mediocre film]. They really are big cumbersome things, but graceful just the same - imagine crossing the Atlantic in one!
Trikeman







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