The reports in newspapers of the time clearly show what a shock the loss of N.S.11 was, coming so soon after the widely-publicised success of R.34 in its twin-crossing of the Atlantic.
The reports range from the Norfolk Chronicle’s with its strong local flavour and many eye-witness accounts, to the events being seen from the international context of US newspapers ranging from the Washington Post and New York Times through to the Lime Springs Sun-Herald and the Manitoba Free Press.
British airships flew some 21 million miles during the First World War with only one experimental type being lost to fire. As some of the reports point out, N.S.11 was the second British airship to be destroyed by fire with loss of life. It was also the first airship accident in the peacetime between the wars – the golden age of the airship – which came to an end with the loss of R.101 in 1930, USS Akron in 1933 and finally, most publicly of all, the Hindenburg in 1937.
MR. WARNEFORD’S LOSS SON COMMANDER OF UNFORTUNATE N.S. 11 It was not until some time after the disaster of the N.S. 11 airship off the Norfolk coast that the rumour began to spread that Earlestown was affected by it. It is now known that the Commander was the only son of Mr and Mrs Warneford, and the heartfelt sympathy of the township will be with the bereaved parents. Captain W K Warneford’s home was with his parents, at Lansdown House, Huyton. He was cousin of Lieut. Warneford V.C., the first airman to bring down a Zeppelin. Captain...read more
In what is probably one of the most-detailed newspaper reports into the loss of N.S.11, The Norfolk Chronicle paints a vivid picture of the accident and the events leading up to it, with many eye-witness accounts from people living along the north Norfolk Coast. Friday 18 July 1919 TERRIBLE DISASTER ON NORTH NORFOLK COAST BURNING AIRSHIP FALLS INTO SEA. EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNTS A terrible tragedy occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning a few miles from Cley-next-Sea, and in a few short minutes one of our airships was reduced to a mass of...read more
Wednesday 16 July 1919 AIRSHIP BURNT AT SEA LOSS OF 7 LIVES In the early hours of Tuesday morning an airship was seen to catch fire and fall into the sea off the Norfolk coast. The Sheringham lifeboat at once put out, and salved a small part of the aluminium wreckage. The crew were not found. The Air Ministry have, up to the time of going to press, issued no official statement. The Airship is the N.S.11, with a crew of two officers and five men, which left Pulham – the station where the R34 landed on her return from America – at about...read more
The loss of NS11 was extensively covered in the national and provincial newspapers of the United...read more