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Maritime media volunteer Alison researched our collections to write this blog marking 100 years since the loss of Airship R38.

On a warm summers evening in August 1921 thousands of people in Hull watched in horror as a huge airship began to buckle and became engulfed by flames and smoke, followed by a terrific explosion. The wreckage fell into the Humber Estuary.

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Souvenir Postcard of the R38 Tragedy

This postcard from the Museum collection shows images of the airship above the Dock Offices, over the streets of Hull, the burning airship above the jetty, then hitting the River Humber.

The airship known as the R38 was commissioned during WW1, but was not built until the war was over. The most advanced of its kind at the time it was 695ft in length and could reach speeds of over 70mph. Britain’s Treasury had to re-evaluate its spending after the war, and the airship was about to be sold to America when on the 24th August 1921 during a test flight disaster struck. The airship exploded mid flight and went down in flames over the River Humber. Of the 49 British and American personnel aboard 44 were killed.

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Memorial in Western Cemetery

A memorial in Hull’s Western cemetery remembers those who perished.

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Artists impression of the explosion

Incredibly 5 personnel survived, some jumping out with parachutes, as seen in this postcard from the Museum collection.

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Candle stick in the collections of Hull Museums

A range of objects were made from the wreckage including candlesticks and ashtrays.

More about the disaster can be found on the Museum Collection Website http://museumcollections.hullc...