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H.M. Balloon Factory Crusader

 

It took George Grover some fifteen years of continual agitation before he finally persuaded the War Office to carry out trials with free and tethered observation balloons, but in 1878 such a series of tests was carried out at Woolwich Arsenal, introducing aeronautics for the first time to the British Army. These experiments resulted in the first-ever Air Estimate, when the War Office voted £150 to build a balloon designed by Captain J.L.B. Templer of the 2nd Middlesex Militia. In fact, the Pioneer, as this craft was titled, cost only £71, and made its first, successful, ascent on August 23rd, 1878. Templer was promptly, though unofficially, designated as instructor to the Corps of Royal Engineers in the art of ballooning, which duty he carried out with Pioneer and another balloon of his own, the Crusader.

 


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