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taylov

Location of the SL 11 airship crash at Cuffley

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taylov

Forgive me please if this has been dealt with before - I searched but couldn't find an answer.

I am trying to locate exactly where the "Cuffley Zepp", actually a Schutte Lanz, the SL 11, crashed near Cuffley. The descriptions of the day give the crash site as a meadow defined by a triangle with the Plough Inn, St Andrew's Church and Castle Farm at the corners.

The Plough is still there, but the old tin mission church of St Andrew's has long gone and the modern church of the same name may not be on the same site. As for "Castle Farm", I can find no trace of it on modern maps. My best guess is the crash site in the meadow is now covered by housing - possibly under Cranfield Cres. and Bacons Drive.

Can anyone confirm this?

Tony

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NigelS

Tony

Go to http://www.old-maps.co.uk/indexmappage2.aspx select maps and enter co-ordinates 530000 202900

select the 1916 map and you should see the original location of St Andrew's Church (NB only the 1:10,560 maps can be magnified); unfortunately there is no trace of a Castle Farm on the earlier or later maps; the 1935 & 38 maps show an obelisk half way along the E. Ridgeway which doesn't appear on the modern O/S maps (or aerial/satellite views) I'm wondering whether it might have been a memorial to the crash ( if nothing else, there are certainly some mighty impressive properties in the area now)

NigelS

Edit: according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leefe_Robinson & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuffley the obelisk does still exist and it is connected.

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taylov

... the 1935 & 38 maps show an obelisk half way along the E. Ridgeway which doesn't appear on the modern O/S maps (or aerial/satellite views) I'm wondering whether it might have been a memorial to the crash

NigelS

Many thanks. The obelisk is certainly linked to the SL 11. It was erected in June 1921 as a result of an appeal by the "Daily Express" to its readers. For many years it carried an erroneous reference to the airship being the L 21 and was not corrected until the 1960's. It was restored and re-dedicated in September 1986 after a restoration by the local council. Air Vice Marshal MJD Stear CBE unveiling the restored memorial.

However, the memorial is not at the site of the crash. Contemporary reports from 1921 state that it was placed at a roadside location "close to the place where the airship fell". I assume that East Ridgeway was the closest road in 1921.

Tony

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RobL

Although Cuffley is in modern day Hertfordshire, I seem to remember seeing somewhere that in 1916, the place where SL11 came down was, then, in Essex - can anyone confirm?

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taylov
Although Cuffley is in modern day Hertfordshire, I seem to remember seeing somewhere that in 1916, the place where SL11 came down was, then, in Essex - can anyone confirm?

In Raymond Rimell's book "Airship VC". Cuffley is always given as Cuffley, Hertfordshire.

I think that the confusion you refer to has its origins in a series of postcards issued by the Rotary Photo Company of London EC which mixes the events over Cuffley with that of Zeppelin L32 being shot down on 24th September 1916, "Somewhere over Essex" in a single series of postcards. In fact, L32 fell at Snail's Hall Farm. South Green near Billericay in Essex.

The two events were only 3 weeks apart, in the same part of Engalnd, and became confused in later reports.

Tony

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RobL

Thanks - i've got the Rimmell book and it's superb - from what I remember, the initial confusion over Essex/Herts came from the small pieces of card issued by the Red Cross with a piece of SL11 wire on and sold to raise money - does anyone have one, or an image of one, and can confirm if it says Herts or Essex?

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ZeppRaider
Thanks - i've got the Rimmell book and it's superb - from what I remember, the initial confusion over Essex/Herts came from the small pieces of card issued by the Red Cross with a piece of SL11 wire on and sold to raise money - does anyone have one, or an image of one, and can confirm if it says Herts or Essex?

Hi

I have one of the Red Cross Zeppelin Wire Cards in my collection. I have attached a scan and, yes, it does say Essex (sorry for the rotten scan). The error was repeated on postcards issued at the time as mentioned in earlier posts.

Also, I agree that the Rimmell book is the best source of reference for the Cuffley crash site.

Best wishes

David

post-21245-1256158092.jpg

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NigelS

looking at the IWM collection http://tinyurl.com/yj7k5oc which shows another example of David's card mounted wire there is also an envelope printed in red which correctly says 'Herts'; looking at some of the other items the IWM description also includes a reference to the confusion between L21 & SL11 being perpetuated by these souvenirs because of the speed at which the were produced.

These snippets from The Times about these souvenirs, which gives some indication of the speed at which they were produced, might be of interest

Saturday, Sep 30, 1916

post-5512-1256161764.jpg

Tuesday, Oct 03, 1916

post-5512-1256161776.jpg

Tuesday, Oct 10, 1916

post-5512-1256161805.jpg

Monday, Oct 16, 1916

post-5512-1256161816.jpg

NigelS

Edit: Here's a photo of the wire 'as received' by the Red Cross:

http://www.walthamabbeyarchive.com/showpho...amp;photoid=350

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Smithmaps

The confusion is compounded by the fact that due to the enormous quantities of visitors to Cuffley, they quickly ran out of 'Souvenirs'. They therefore shipped in pieces of the L31 Zeppelin to sell at Cuffley. All for a good cause.

I was given a few fragments many years ago by Mr Wesley, who was about 90 years old at the time and ran Wesleys Gun Shop in East Molesey, Surrey. As a child he had been bought the framents at Cuffley by his parents, as he lived very nearby at the time. He said they came with a Red Cross Card, but sadly he had lost it. The pieces he gave me are clearly NOT from SL11, as the SL11 construction was wood and wire and not the familiar Extruded alloy. I have chershed these small items for many years.

I believe them to be fragments of L31, and clear proof that this was happening.

Guy

post-12226-1256207044.jpg

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taylov

I have found that Douglas Robinson's definitive book of 1994, "The Zeppelin in Combat", helps us more than Rimell as to the actual location at Cuffley.

On page 199 he states "...What they (the crowds) saw in the hilltop beet field behind the Plough Inn was at the time both impressive and unique."

This helps confirm that the site of the SL 11 is indeed under the later houses of Bacons Drive and Cranfield Crescent.

Tony

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RobL

Guy, could your metal parts not have come from a gondola car off SL11 or similar? A friend of mine has a decent sized metal chunk of the gondola car, given to him by a WW1 veteran who guarded the crash site and was able to 'acquire' a nice souvenir!

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Smithmaps
Guy, could your metal parts not have come from a gondola car off SL11 or similar? A friend of mine has a decent sized metal chunk of the gondola car, given to him by a WW1 veteran who guarded the crash site and was able to 'acquire' a nice souvenir!

Rob,

SL11 was a Schutz Lanz Plywood ship, and was of totally different construction. None of the pictures I have ever seen of the crash site show any remains of 'Gondolas' or geodetic girders in the classic sense. They were plywood, and burnt like the rest of the ship.

It has always been my belief that parts from the other ships were sent down to sell for charity, as other than miles of wire and some very broken engines, there was precious little left of SL11.

Conversley at L48 in Theberton, people were actually arrested for making off with pieces.

Guy

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per ardua per mare per terram
unfortunately there is no trace of a Castle Farm

On page 63, Rimell mentions that 'Castle Farm' was a cottage. Even though there was little wreckage what there was, and the bodies, were not all in one location. For example the photos in his book show one engine straddling a hedgerow and another within a field.

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per ardua per mare per terram

Have you tried tracing the Holloway family on the 1911 census? Rimell refers to 7 year old Kathleen from 'Castle Farm' quoting from The Daily Sketch of 4 September 1916. If the family had also been there in 1901, it might be possible to discover the location from the other households enumerated.

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NigelS

There is no sign of a Holloway family in the immediate vicinity of Cuffley in the 1901 census (unfortunately I haven't got access to the 1911 census.) Castle Farm is present with Isaac Hunt a farmer (76) and his wife in residence in the 1901, but, from the return, it's not possible to determine the location. The only farm like property in the Cuffley area not identified by name on the Old Map's site maps is one slightly to the SW of the Plough. This would tie up with the 'behind the Plough' (assuming it hasn't been rebuilt in the intervening years, its front can be be seen facing East on an aerial view which can be found by using http://uk2.multimap.com/ ) and Church references, and, as Tony said previously, make the crash site under 'the later houses of Bacons Drive and Cranfield Crescent' possibly making the section of the Ridgeway containing the memorial the northern boundary of the site(?); Had the SL11 come down to the East of the plough (the front of the pub today) it would have been close to the railway, but, as none of the reports I've seen make any mention of the railway (a good reference point) running nearby, this would seem less likely.

A stereoview labelled as 'Observation car from Zeppelin brought down by our airmen at Cuffley.' can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/yk52l6y As previously discussed a comment is made in the accompanying note about wreckage from other airships having also been displayed at Cuffley, so the one shown (which appears to be made of aluminium) may well have been from L32; but, as a matter of interest would SL11 have been equipped with an observation car of some type?

NigelS

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taylov
A stereoview labelled as 'Observation car from Zeppelin brought down by our airmen at Cuffley.' can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/yk52l6y As previously discussed a comment is made in the accompanying note about wreckage from other airships having also been displayed at Cuffley, so the one shown (which appears to be made of aluminium) may well have been from L32; but, as a matter of interest would SL11 have been equipped with an observation car of some type? NigelS

There is a picture of the Sub-cloud car which was jettisoned by LZ 90 during the East Anglia raid on the night of September 2/3 1916 in "The Zeppelin in Combat" (page 190). The car fell to earth near Manningtree.

This looks very much like the one that was on display in Cuffley shown in the stereocard. It seems more likely that this is the explanation rather than the Schutte-Lanz airship carrying a Zeppelin car.

Tony

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per ardua per mare per terram
Castle Farm is present with Isaac Hunt a farmer (76) and his wife in residence in the 1901

I realise that it was a common name, but was he any relation of Basil Holdsworth Hunt?

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Aspern
There is a picture of the Sub-cloud car which was jettisoned by LZ 90 during the East Anglia raid on the night of September 2/3 1916 in "The Zeppelin in Combat" (page 190). The car fell to earth near Manningtree.

This looks very much like the one that was on display in Cuffley shown in the stereocard. It seems more likely that this is the explanation rather than the Schutte-Lanz airship carrying a Zeppelin car.

Tony

This is also the one on display, hanging from the ceiling, in the Imperial War Museum, London.

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RobL
Hi

I have one of the Red Cross Zeppelin Wire Cards in my collection. I have attached a scan and, yes, it does say Essex (sorry for the rotten scan). The error was repeated on postcards issued at the time as mentioned in earlier posts.

Also, I agree that the Rimmell book is the best source of reference for the Cuffley crash site.

Best wishes

David

post-21245-1256158092.jpg

Hi David, thanks for that - i've been trying to find out the gauge of wire from the SL11 for a project of mine comparing the Schutte Lanz to the Zeppelins, are you able to measure the gauge of the wire? Also, do you have a close up of what the wire on the card actually looks like, ie is it a single strand, or two strands connected which it looks like on the scan?

Many thanks, Rob

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CGM

Today I asked a relative if they knew where the Zeppelin crashed at Cuffley. The answer was "No-o, but your Grandma went to see it"

:o

"Yes! She'd never heard of Cuffley before then, but whenever it was mentioned afterwards she always said - that's where I went to see the Zeppelin."

Of course I asked if she'd managed to get a piece to bring home, but was told "I'm sure that's not the sort of thing Grandma would have done!"

There are so many things we should have asked about before it was too late, aren't there.....

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ZeppRaider

Rob

I have taken a couple of pictures of the wire on the card, which should be of assistance. It's a single strand of wire about 3.5 cm in length. The wire is 2mm thick - about the same thickness as a standard wire coat hanger (I'm not very technical!)

I hope that this is of assistance.

Regards

David

post-21245-1256596926.jpgpost-21245-1256596994.jpg

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ZeppRaider

Further to Tony's post the other day regarding the memorial obelisk and its erroneous reference to L 21.

Here is a picture, taken a few years ago now, showing a close up of the memorial, which clearly shows the alteration from L21 to SL11.

David

post-21245-1256597805.jpg

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NigelS

David (Zepp Raider), it looks as if by the time they got round to making your example the Red Cross was running out of wire, or maybe price varied according to length?

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/images/I059/10325636.aspx

http://www.johngair.com/Z160.htm

and this souvenir is completely different: it has no brooch pin and looks like stranded cable rather than wire (it's also labelled L21)

http://www.hgitner.com/img/zeppim/greatbritain_1916_3028.jpg

NigelS

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per ardua per mare per terram

Andrew Marr's The Making of Modern Britain this week had movie film purporting to be of the Cuffley crash. How much film of it is there?

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taylov
Andrew Marr's The Making of Modern Britain this week had movie film purporting to be of the Cuffley crash. How much film of it is there?

I saw this, too. Whilst one piece of film looked like the Cuffley wreck with a mass of wire visible, there was also a sequence showing typical Zeppelin framework.

Tony

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