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MILTON AIRSHIP STATION (WORLD WAR I), RNAS PEMBROKE DOCK, CAREW

Site Details


NPRN 407783

Map Reference SN00SE

Grid Reference SN05550275

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Carew

Type of Site AIRFIELD, AIRSHIP STATION

Broad Class DEFENCE

Period 20th Century, Modern

Site Description 1. The First World War airship base Milton began to be developed in February 1916 with the building of two 120ft x 318ft hangars of corrugated iron with large windshields. Two hydrogen storage facilities, wooden huts and canvas workshops and an area of tented accommodation for personnel were also constructed. To accommodate the new fixed winged aircraft deployed from 1917, a Bessonau hangar was built along with several additional wooden buildings. The corrugated iron hangars were dismantled in the late 1920s when the base was re-developed to form RAF Carew Cheriton (see NPRN 309962). The Bessonau hangar was demolished in 1940.

Event and Historical Information:
The development of RNAS Milton was part of an Admiralty initiative to provide a deterrent to enemy submarines operating in the Irish Sea through the deployment of airships adapted for sea patrol (a second station was established at Llangefni, Angelsey (see NPRN 407782). A satellite base was built at Killeaugh, Cork, to provide moorings and refuelling facilities. The patrol area for the Milton airships was St George¿s Channel, Cardigan Bay, as far as Dublin in the north and Lundy in the south. Early in 1916, the base was used as a stopping point for airships attached to warship patrolling the Irish Sea. In September of the same year, it became the base for the Submarine Scout BE airship armed with .303 Lewis machine gun and two 100lb bombs. Later modifications allowed them to carry two 250lb bombs or four 150ln delayed action bombs and an additional Lewis gun. The airships assigned to Milton were C13, C5A and C6, which were replaced by two flights of eight Zero type airships attached to 255 Squadron. From 1917, the airships were supplemented first with Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter aircraft and then with a flight of Airco DH 6s formed on 16 August 1918.

Sources :
Jones, Ivor , 2007 , Airfields and Landing Grounds of Wales: West
Pyper,A , 2012 , Twentieth century military sites: Airfields ( © DAT)
Brock,D , 1989 , Wings Over Carew ,
Evans,J , 1992 , Carew Cheriton Report
Phillips, Alan, 2006, Military Airfields Wales, pg 145-50
SPARC , 1996 , South of the Landsker - Milton
Smith, David J, 1982, Action Stations 3: Military Airfields of Wales and the North West, pg60
Thomas,R , 1993 ,
Thomas,R , 1994 , Disused Military Buildings Study ,
Thomas,R , 1994 , Survey of 19th and 20th Century Military Buildings of Pembrokeshire

RCAHMW, June 2008.

2. Royal Commission aerial reconnaissance on 29th July 2013 recorded parchmarks of concrete building foundations underlying the Second World War runways in the western half of the present airfield, thought to represent post-pads, access roads and foundations for the hangars and sheds which accomodated the original airships between 1915-1920. These parchmarks confirm that significant below-ground remains survive of this important First World War airship station beneath the redeveloped Second World War airfield, when previously it was thought that nothing intact survived. Image refs: AP_2013_5179 - 5188.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 2014.

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