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Countdown to centenary of airship's record-breaking flight

PUBLISHED: 10:43 22 December 2018

The R34 at Pulham in 1919. It's record breaking flight is being marked by centenary events in 2019. Photo: Archant Library

The R34 at Pulham in 1919. It's record breaking flight is being marked by centenary events in 2019. Photo: Archant Library

Archant

Norfolk is gearing up for centenary celebrations of one of the great feats of aviation, the first double airborne crossing of the Atlantic,

Diss Museum manager Basil Abbott is leading plans to mark the 100th anniversary of the R34 record-breaking flight and who wrote and starred in a drama that will be aired on Park Radio. Photo: Sonya DuncanDiss Museum manager Basil Abbott is leading plans to mark the 100th anniversary of the R34 record-breaking flight and who wrote and starred in a drama that will be aired on Park Radio. Photo: Sonya Duncan

2019 will mark 100 years since the historic two-way crossing of the Atlantic by the R34 airship and there have already been early touches of the planned celebrations to mark the event, which has strong links to Pulham St Mary.

The South Norfolk village achieved international fame when the massive 634ft aircraft landed at Pulham Air Station following its epic journey of some 3,130 miles from East Fortune in Scotland to Mineola, Long Island, before coming back to land at Pulham on July 13, 1919.

The R34 airship project, which is being overseen by Diss Museum manager Basil Abbott, includes a special drama about the airship that was recently premiered in Eye.

Radio plays recorded live for EyesWrite at The Bank Arts Centre included Airship Days by Mr Abbott, centred on dialogue between Winston Churchill and Rudyard Kipling on the merits of airships. Basil Abbott himself played Churchill, with Gary Stodel as Kipling. The play will be heard on Park Radio in January.

Centenary of airship’s record-breaking flight to be marked in Norfolk

Meanwhile a teaser performance of a new work called All Aboard the R34 by local composer Peter Creswell, who lives in Redgrave, near Diss, was recent staged at East Harling Church. The work includes songs that tell the intrepid story from the take-off from Scotland, the stowaway, Wopsie the cat, and the airship’s welcome in New York.

• For more information about the R34 centenary events in 2019 visit: airships.me.uk

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