Diss Museum Recent press coverage of the forthcoming educational airship project sparked quite a response from the public as well as schools. One woman sent her grandmother’s death certificate showing that she ran into a Brixton street during the last Zeppelin raid and was decapitated. People sent rare photographs, including some showing the career of Harold Lee. He began as a rigger on Pulham airships, particularly the early Coastal Class dirigibles, and went on to become a Squadron Leader. Another correspondent told us about the Wrens at Pulham, a little known aspect of the airship station. Service records showed attitudes of the time. One young woman was said to be “common” but still rose from the ranks to be an Officer.
He also alerted us to more items at an auction in Perth, Scotland.
with the owner and we had a great conversation with 84 year old George Douglas about his great uncle.
These had belonged to the greatnephew of another crew member, George Graham. He was the owner of Wopsie the cat, the first feline to fly across the ocean, making her a celebrity in New York in 1919.
At 42, he was the oldest crew member. He had served in the Boer War and the First World War as an Officer, hence the swagger stick, and only ever flew, as an Engineer, on the R34.
We made an email bid and were successful in getting pictures, a route map, a cutting and a swagger stick. The auctioneers then put us in touch
There are still several theories about why the R34 was sent to Pulham, on its return from Long Island, rather that East Fortune in Scotland.
George Douglas said it was purely because of the weather. Running repairs with chewing gum might not have withstood the stormy conditions over East Lothian. There is a joint airship weekend on 10-11 May by Diss and Pulham. S ee the Diss Community Partnership website for the Diss events, or phone (01379) 650618. Basil Abbott, Museum Manager
Former Riddlesworth Hall headmistress Mrs.Pat Wood told us that her family had had the nose cone from an airship and used it as a tent (Where is it now?). The grandson of an R34 crew member had previously sent pictures of items connected with the airship’s double Atlantic crossing in 1919.
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