British fan of German Zeppelins set to sell his 15 ton collection of airship memorabilia worth Б1m
The world's biggest collection of airship memorabilia amassed by a British businessman over 40 years is being tipped to sell for more than Б1 million. David Kirch's hoard - including hundreds of photographs of huge German Zeppelins - is so vast he planned to open a museum in an old aircraft hangar he bought especially. But the 75-year-old, who hoped to offer the public rides on airships at the attraction, never got around to finishing the project and is now selling it all at auction.
British pilots downed German Zeppelins using foot-long exploding darts
When British pilots took on German Zeppelins in the First World War, they used a giant exploding dart. British biplane pilots would fly above the giant airships - filled with extremely flammable hydrogen - and simply drop the darts on top of them.
"The Aerial Anti Zeppelin Ranken Exploding Dart" was invented by Commander Francis Ranken of the Royal Navy in 1915. Now one of the foot-long steel-tipped darts will be auctioned off in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, on March 2, with an estimated price of Б1,200.
March 14, 1899: Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin gets patent
1899: Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin gets a U.S. patent for his rigid airship design (a German patent 4 years earlier). He perfected the cylindrical-shaped craft, originally idea of David Schwartz, a Croatian aviation pioneer in the German army. Upon Schwartz's death, Zeppelin, whose interest in balloons went back to his days as a German military observer during the American Civil War, purchased the rights to Schwartz's designs from his widow. After several false starts, and a couple of near-fatal demonstrations, Zeppelin's rigid airship was reliable enough to get interest from the army.
Night Zeppelins brought first dose of air raid death
More than 1260 civilians died, and more than 3000 were injured, in aerial attacks on Britain during World War 1. As a BBC documentary reveals England had been badly hit during 1915 and 1916. But until 1917, these attacks were not launched by fighter planes - airborne technology was still too primitive. Instead, the sight that loomed over Britain's cities and coasts was that of an airship. While some attempts had been put in place to protect the public in England, in Edinburgh there wasn't even a blackout, and the city was unprepared for what was about to be unleashed.
A story of heroism during a Zeppelin raid on Sudbury in 1916
A story of heroism during a Zeppelin raid on Sudbury in 1916 has linked the town with a family in the US. Sgt Charlie May carried an unconscious man from a blazing house during the raid ... and then ran back inside to carry an unexploded bomb out. He was granted the Military Medal for his bravery. Sgt May's grandson has contacted Sudbury Museum Trust. Val Herbert, press officer for the museum trust, said Sgt John Charles "Charlie" May was stationed in Sudbury with a battalion of the City of London Rifles. A German airship dropped incendiary bombs across the town during a night-time raid.
Von Zeppelin's idea of an airship was born in America
Count Graf Ferdinand von Zeppelin was a 25-year-old Prussian cavalry officer when he visited St. Paul in 1863. He was in the US to observe Union forces in the Civil War. He took note of observation balloons, and wrote later that the St. Paul experience gave him a larger idea: an airship. He retired from the army as a brigadier general in 1891. At the turn of the century he built the first motorized dirigible, and by 1909 Zeppelins were flying military training missions. After the outbreak of World War I, they were dropping bombs on Belgium and England. Von Zeppelin died in 1917, so he didn't live to see the war's end.
German Airships in World War I - Early strategic bombers
The outbreak of the WWI in the summer of 1914 found Germany in possession of a weapon that none of her allies or enemies possessed: the rigid airship. At a time when automobiles were in their infancy, airplanes were little more than a novelty, and many ships still relied on sails for propulsion, these early strategic bombers were a marvel of German ingenuity. At the height of their power in 1915, German Zeppelins cruised at will over England, terrorizing a British populace that had no effective means of stopping them, and erasing time-honored wartime distinctions between combatants and civilians.