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RNAS Longside

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Memorial picture
Memorial picture

RNAS Longside, (Royal Naval Air Station) Longside, was a World War I airship station which was located approximately six miles (10 km) west of Peterhead at Longside in 1915. The station was also known as Lenabo.

Longside had three hangars, which would have been able to accommodate the largest airships being developed at the time, from the larger coastal or North Sea types of nonrigid craft, and those of the developing rigid fleet. From the memorial picture, it can be seen that airship accommodation at Longside followed the standard patter, with a large rigid airship shed flanked on each side by a smaller coastal shed, which were stepped forward forward to provide a sheltered area to the front of the rigid shed. The sheds were aligned with the direction of the prevailing wind. The rigid shed at Longside was 45.87 metres (150 ft 6 in) wide, and could therefore accommodate two of the earlier 23-class rigids. The largest shed was 150 metres long and 30 metres high.

Airships from the station would have patrolled areas across the north of Scotland and the North Sea.

RAF Longside

On April 1, 1918, the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) and the RNAS combined to become the Royal Air Force, and RNAS Longside become RAF Longside.

Station personnel had their own monthly journal, The Battlebag: The Longside Journal.

The station site is now heavily wooded, and very little remains to be seen of this significant historical site other than some ruins, concrete foundations and anchoring blocks.


In 2003, the local community council erected a memorial to mark the site.

The memorial plaque reads:


This memorial marks the site of RNAS Longside,
which was Britain's most northerly airship station.
Work started on the Lenabo site in 1915,
and by 1917 it was operational and well established,
with 1500 personnel on the base,
supported by an infrastructure of shops.
swimming pool, theatre, Church and its own gas works.

From Lenabo, three classes of ship,
with ranges from 200 to 1000 miles,
flew long sorties over the North Sea
acting as escorts to northern shipping convoys.

Visible for miles, the large buildings housing the
airships extended to 150 metres long by 30 metres high.

Concrete foundation, anchoring blocks and various ruins are still visible,
this building is thought to have been part of the officers' mess.


RNAS Longside Memorial, 2007
RNAS Longside Memorial
© Ken Fitlike
RNAS Lenabo Plaque, 2007
RNAS Longside Memorial
© Ken Fitlike

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