Extraordinary images shows early airship in Daventry district

The Lancers
The Lancers

Here are two remarkable photos from more than 100 years ago.

The images of soldiers on horseback and an airship are not normally associated with the Daventry area, but both these were taken in the same week of September 1913, in and around the town.

The airship moored near Daventry

The airship moored near Daventry

They were in the area as part of the 1913 Army Manoeuvres, which were watched by King George V and Queen Mary along with Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty. From Daventry down to north Buckinghamshire some 50,000 men and 25,000 horses were stationed in training camps before being divided up into three forces who then took part in a mock battle across the region for five days.

The event saw increased use of spotting aircraft, and the Army Airship Beta II was brought into the area where experiments in aerial photography were carried out.

Pictured here are, a photo labelled as ‘The Lancers on the march for the Battle of Daventry’. The so-called Battle of Daventry took place at Sharman’s Hill, just off the A361 by the Fawsley turn.

The other image shows Beta II moored in a field ‘near Daventry’, possibly at the Fawsley estate.