RNAS Howden
RNAS Howden was an airship
An airship or dirigible is a type of aerostat or "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms...

 station near the town of Howden
Howden is a small market town and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies north of the M62, on the A614 road about north of Goole and south-west of York. William the Conqueror gave the town to the Bishops of Durham in 1080...

 15 mi (24.1 km) south-west of York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

, UK. Opened on 26 June 1916 during the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, to cover the East Coast ports shipping from attacks by German U-boats. From 1916 to 1918 Howden was a Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Naval Air Service
The Royal Naval Air Service or RNAS was the air arm of the Royal Navy until near the end of the First World War, when it merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form a new service , the Royal Air Force...

 establishment. From 1918 to 1920, when the unit was temporarily closed, Howden was a Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...


By 1919 Howden had the largest airship shed in the world. The No.2 Double Rigid Shed measured 750 ft (228.6 m) in length and 130 ft (39.6 m) clearance height.

The station closed in 1920 as part of the post World War I military cutbacks.

The site reopened in 1924 by the Airship Guarantee Co, a subsidiary of Vickers
Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999.-Early history:Vickers was formed in Sheffield as a steel foundry by the miller Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor in 1828. Naylor was a partner in the foundry Naylor &...

 Ltd to build the R100
HM Airship R100 was a privately designed and built rigid airship made as part of a two-ship competition to develop new techniques for a projected larger commercial airship for use on British empire routes...

 airship. During this period the author Nevil Shute
Nevil Shute
Nevil Shute Norway was a popular British-Australian novelist and a successful aeronautical engineer. He used his full name in his engineering career, and 'Nevil Shute' as his pen name, in order to protect his engineering career from any potential negative publicity in connection with his novels.-...

 worked at Howden alongside Barnes Wallis
Barnes Wallis
Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, CBE FRS, RDI, FRAeS , was an English scientist, engineer and inventor. He is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the RAF in Operation Chastise to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II...


Howden was closed shortly after the demise of the R101
R101 was one of a pair of British rigid airship completed in 1929 as part of a British government programme to develop civil airships capable of service on long-distance routes within the British Empire. It was designed and built by an Air Ministry-appointed team and was effectively in competition...

in 1930.
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