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Clément-Bayard No.2


Arriving at Farnborough 1910
Two large dirigibles were ordered from France. The purchase of the first of these, the Clement-Bayard, was the result of agitation by factions within Parliament who were concerned by the lack of positive action to provide for aerial defence of the nation and had persaded the War Office to purchase an existing military dirigible, which had already seen service with the French Army.
The Treasury put up the bulk of the £18,000 purchase price and several patriotic MPs supplied the remainder with the assistance of the Daily Mail, which paid for the construction of a 365 foot long by 75 foot wide shed to be erected at Wormwood Scrubs to house the craft.
The 310 foot long airship was flown from its base at Compiegne on 16 October 1911, making the first journey of its kind between France and Great Britain in 6 hours and 30 minutes, flying at an average speed of 38mph. The airship flew over central London landing safely at Wormwood Scrubs, to be housed in the new shed where it was the subject of much attention by the populace and a source of satisfaction to those who had put so much effort into acquiring it.
The wisdom of buying a second-hand airship that had already seen a year’s usage with the French army was questioned when subsequent inspectin showed the envelope to be in a much deteriorated condition. The leakage of gas was so severe as to require replacement of the entire envelope.
The airship was deflated and taken by road to Farnborough where it was stored in the old balloon shen. After further inspectins of the structure, the War Office decided not to attempt to recondition the airship on the grounds of expense, and the remains were subsequently scrapped.
Engines: 2 x Clément Bayard 120 cv
Length: 76.50 m / 310 ft
Width: 13.22 m / 40 ft
Height: 62 ft
Volume: 7,000 cu.m / 227,500 cu.ft
Gross lift: 6.7 ton
Useful lift: 1.3 ton
Top speed: 54 km/h
Range: 500 mi
Crew: 7





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