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Centre hopes to recreate iconic photos to celebrate centenary of historic R34 flight




Female workers at the Royal Navy Air Service airship station. Pictures: The Pennoyer Centre
Female workers at the Royal Navy Air Service airship station. Pictures: The Pennoyer Centre

Hundreds of people are needed to help recreate two iconic photos from the Royal Navy Air Service airship station in Pulham

The Pennoyer Centre in Pulham St Mary is hoping to a recreate two photographs from the station as part of its R34 centenary weekend in July.

The first photo (above) is of female workers and, the second, will be of RNAS male personnel.

The R34 airship carved its name in history when it successfully made the first ever return flight across the Atlantic, from Edinburgh to New York and then back to Pulham, in 1919.

The photos date between late 1916 and 1919.

“We’d like to involve as many people with ancestors who were based at, or with connections to, RNAS Pulham, along with local faces,” said Sheila Moss-King, trustee of the centre.

“The women’s photograph has over 60 participants, while the male staff one has hundreds, so restaging them will be quite a challenge.

"We’ll take the photograph with women in costume as far as possible, replicating it as closely as we can. Detailed examination of the photograph shows the women with everything from giant spanners to bicycles and even huge cabbages, evidence that women were employed in a wide range of roles at the air station, including as mechanics and riggers.

"Then we’ll take a second photo of the participants with the tools of their trades, today, reflecting on how women’s roles have changed in a century. The photographs will be unveiled as part of our weekend-long celebrations in July. "

R34 going into her shed July 13 1919 at RNAS Pulham
R34 going into her shed July 13 1919 at RNAS Pulham

The centenary weekend will commemorate Pulham St Mary’s place in aviation history with a new exhibition, talks, a vintage fete and live music, both at the Pennoyer Centre and around the village sign, which is being refurbished by Pulham St Mary Parish Council in time for the anniversary.

Information about people who worked at the Air Station will be added to a new database, which visitors will be able to search in future. Anyone interested in participating, or with details of relatives, can contact the project by email pulhamairstation@gmail.com or by calling in at the Pennoyer Centre.



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