Sunday, 5 August 2012

'The Airship Destroyer', 1909

From 1909, this film, entitled 'Airship Destroyer' (also known as 'Battle of The Clouds' or 'The Aerial Torpedo'), was directed by Walter R Booth, a British film pioneer from the early 20th Century. The film shows an Airship attack on England, and the attempts to destroy it by at first a fighter aircraft, and then an 'aerial torpedo', or unmanned aircraft. The film is no doubt inspired by HG Wells 'War in the Air' of 1907, and as well as forecasting the Zeppelin raids on the UK in the First World War, also shows unmanned aircraft, a development which wouldn't become widely used until nearly 100 years later. Interestingly, during the First World War, a British inventor named Archibald Low made a prototype aerial torpedo very similar to that used in 'The Airship Destroyer', which was also be guided by radio waves. Despite many experiments, and a lot of interest from the Royal Flying Corps, the Aerial Target was unsuccessful. A very interesting article regarding it appeared in the latest Cross and Cockade International journal - http://www.crossandcockade.com/index.asp

For more information on 'The Airship Destroyer', please visit this superb blog post on the Airminded blog -http://airminded.org/2007/03/22/the-airship-destroyer/

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