Memories of years when wartime airships brought terror from sky

An exhibition charting the history of lighter-than-air aviation, from 18th century air balloons to 1930s airships, has opened in Yorkshire with the help of lottery funding.

Prize exhibit: Brian Watmough next to an Eastchurch Kitten First World War bi-plane, designed as a Zeppelin killer. Picture: James hardisty

The Gas Bags to Super Zeppelins exhibition at the Yorkshire Air Museum, at the former RAF Elvington site near York, was launched yesterday with the help of an Eastchurch Kitten First World War bi-plane.

The museum has received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its First World War: Then and Now programme, in support of the exhibition, which focuses on the development of the first airships and their use during the First World War.

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During the First World War, Schütte-Lanz and Zeppelin airships, taking the name from Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the pioneer of German airships, were used to bomb the civilian population of Britain from the air for the first time in history, bringing terror from the sky.

Prize exhibit: Brian Watmough next to an Eastchurch Kitten First World War bi-plane, designed as a Zeppelin killer. Picture: James hardisty

The exhibition shows the shock effects of this new type of warfare had on the people at that time, through diary entries, audio recordings, video footage, photographs and original artefacts.

Prize exhibit: Brian Watmough next to an Eastchurch Kitten First World War bi-plane, designed as a Zeppelin killer. Picture: James hardisty