Photographs, whatever their quality, can often shine a light on new aspects of a story. Some time ago we were contacted by Mark Potts who had heard a rumour that N.S.11 had once flown over Crewe – apparently to keep a promise made by its commander Walter Warneford to “show off” his airship to his old workmates at the Crewe Railway Works. Mark has now tracked down this photograph, taken from Broad Street by an amateur photographer and, through research of the Crewe Guardian newspaper, determined that the event took place at around 2.30pm on 27 May 1919. The distinctive chimneys on the houses in the photograph match exactly with those on Broad Street today. The photograph is grainy and indistinct, but it tells an amazing story – N.S.11 was, after all, a long way from the North Sea. According to the Crewe Guardian the airship made a circuit of the Works, flying fairly low, and continued on its journey, heading off in the direction of Coppenhall and Leighton. There is also mention that it was heading to Ireland. Without doubt, this event would have caused a stir, so we will be undertaking further research to see if we can build on this story.
This would not the the last time N.S.11 went for a cruise, far from the North Sea. The Gloucester Journal of 7 July 1919 reported that N.S.11 was seen as low altitude over Gloucester heading north from Bristol on the evening of 3 July 1919.