A black and white photograph depicting the gondola interior of the German zeppelin 49, that was brought down over Bourbonne-les-Bains, France in 1917. At the center of the image is the pilot's wheel and off to the right sits the zeppelin's bombsite.
A 1921 article from THE INDEPENDENT reported on the accident that doomed the dirigible Z-R2 in the skies over the British town of Hull. This British-built R-38 class airship was to be handed-over to the U.S. Navy and had a mixed crew composed of both Yanks and Brits; five of whom survived. Among the dead was Air-Commodore E.M. Maitland (b. 1880):
"The ill-fated dirigible was the mightiest airship ever built, larger than the British R-34, which flew across the Atlantic in 1919... [The Z-R2 measured] 700 feet, just 150 feet longer than the height of the Washington Monument. As fully equipped almost as an ocean liner, she was the TITANIC of the air, and met a TITANIC's fate..."
The the fatality figures of this primary source article contrast greatly with those listed on Wikipedia, however the article lists in some detail additional airship accidents that took place during that same period.
Pictured herein is the French dirigible ADJUDANT REAU as it appeared during the first months of the First World War.
Also depicted are two early tri-planes which were used to help elevate the craft.
A NEW YORK TIMES photograph and report on the military dirigible designed by Italian Senator Enrico Forlanini (1848 - 1930). A concise account of the differences between Forlanini's dirigible and the German Zeppelin are listed as well as the speed, altitude and various offensive capabilities. Enrico Forlanini is is best remembered today for his ground breaking work on steam-powered helicopters, hydrofoils and various other aircrafts, such as his 1909 dirigible, LEONARDO DA VINCI.
Two LITERARY DIGEST articles, printed seven days a part, addressing the topic of the destruction of the U.S. military's semi-rigid airship, ROMA; much attention is paid as to where the blame for the disaster must be placed. The journalists concur that the U.S. Congress was answerable for the loss due to that body's unwillingness to pay for the necessary helium, rather than the less expensive, and highly flamable, hydrogen gas. Thirty-four lives were lost.
*Watch a Documentary About the History of Baloons and the Great Airships in America*
A short notice reporting on the 1917 death of Count Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Von Zeppelin (b. 1838). The count is reported to have died a sad and broken man over the failure of his airships to hasten a decisive ending to the First World War and remorseful that his name would forever be associated with the first air raids on civilian targets.
*Watch a 1930s Newsreel About the Atlantic Crossing Between Hamburg to Rio*