Polegate Airship Station Magazine - The Ripping Panel
Royal Naval Airship Station Polegate was the birthplace and home of airships in the Portsmouth Command during WW1. Polegate’s site was selected in 1914 and work commenced early in 1915, with its first airship commissioned by July 1915. The work for Polegate’s airships was defensive, protecting merchant shipping in the English Channel from Dungeness to Portland Bill. This stretch of water saw shipping to and from the Port of London and the ports along the east coast as well as the docks at Portsmouth and Southampton.
The flying activity increased as the war progressed, patrolling 1500 square miles in 1916, 2000 in 1917 and 4500 in 1918. Airships from Polegate flew more hours during the last two years of the war than those from any other allied airship station – 3000 hours in 1917 and a massive 8140 hours in 1918. A letter of appreciation from Admiral Colville following the Armistice thanks the men for their splendid work done in convoying and safeguarding innumerable Troops, Hospital Supply Ships and Convoys, and continually patrolling the routes, harassing and also destroying enemy submarines.
We have digitised copys of the Polegate Air Station magazine from 1918. These can be downloaded individually here by clicking on the issue date.
January 1918 - The first issue of the Magazine sets the tone with articles, poetry and cartoons with a sense of humour