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Summary: The operation of a Royal Navy airship base with its RAF airships, possibly Toller station near Bridport, or Polegate Station near Eastbourne 1918.
Description: (Reel 1) The crew of airship SSZ28 prepares for a flight. As they wait, seated in the open gondola, they are handed a basket of carrier pigeons, the pilot is given his charts and orders, and an armourer fits two 16-pound bombs, one on either side of the gondola. The wireless operator performs a final test of his equipment, and a reconnaissance camera is taken on board. The machine is checked for buoyancy, the engine is started, and the airship takes off. The camera shows the view down from the gondola (with a lot of camera shake) over the countryside and base. Meanwhile back at the base itself the cookhouse call is sounded. The RAF men, including the sergeant-major, run to the cookhouse. Women of the WRNS drill on the parade ground. Men practise PT on the same parade ground. A detailed view of the carrier pigeons in their loft. They are released each day for exercise and return later. The petty officer "P.O. Pigeons" feeds the pigeons, which are finger-tame. The airship returns from patrol, drops a line and is hauled in, being taken to a camouflaged shed. The ceremony of lowering the flag is performed at dusk. (Reel 2) At the base workshop men strip down an airship's engine, and women work doping fabric. Outdoors, armourers check over the bombs. Cylinders of hydrogen gas are taken from a lorry and stacked. A lorry-load of the cylinders is taken over to a hydrogen storage tank which they are used to fill. The gas is compressed by a generator and the sludge pumped out and carted off. A sentry demonstrates the result of signalling a fire at the gas store - everyone, regardless of rank, runs to help. The same event viewed from the air. Inside the sick-bay a man is given first-aid. A lorry takes the deflated envelope of an SS type airship to a hangar, where the groundcrew unload it. The partially-inflated envelope is protected by a rigging net. Finally the fully-inflated airship is led out of its shed.
Production Details: Royal Air Force (Production sponsor)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: Royal Navy (regiment/service)
Royal Air Force (regiment/service)
Royal Navy, Women's Royal Naval Service (regiment/service)
Keywords: aircraft, British naval - airship: SSZ28 (object name)
aircraft, British naval - airship: SS Type (object name)
operations, British naval air - preparation (object name)
operations, British naval air - sortie (object name)
operations, British naval air - return (object name)
communications, British naval - message: carrier pigeon (object name)
animals, birds (object name)
weapons, British air - bomb: 16-pound (object name)
communications, British naval air - electronic (object name)
equipment, British naval air - camera (object name)
operations, British naval air - routine (object name)
ceremonies, British - customary: flag lowering (at dusk) (object name)
operations, British naval air - maintenance (object name)
medical, British naval air - emergency (object name)
GB, England & Bridport, Dorset <Toller naval airship station (?)> (geography)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W
Sound format: Silent
Soundtrack language: None
Title language: None
Subtitle language: English
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 2
Footage: 1417 ft; Running time: 24 mins
Notes: Title: this is taken from the shotsheet
Mr S Angell has suggested that the Station could in fact be Polegate Airship Station, after comparing known photographs and site plans.