Kingnorth, a Class G Airship Station built for the development and construction of non-rigid airships 1914-1920. Decommissioned 1921. This information possibly comes from Ces Mowthorpe's book "Battlebags". (1)
The base was listed as being authorised for heavy anti aircraft armament of unspecified calibre in 1916, although this may not have been provided. (2)
The site of the First World War non-rigid airship base at Kingsnorth on the Isle of Grain. The base was built as an airship station in 1914 to carry out patrols and was further expanded into an airship developmental and construction site after airship construction ceased at the Farnborough works in 1915. The base closed in 1920 and decommissioned in 1921.
The base was comprised of a number of airship-sheds and other buildings associated with the construction of airships and their testing. At the beginning of the First World War two airships were based there; Astra Torres and Perseval, which carried out anti-submarine patrols along the river Thames and the English Channel. Various non-rigid airship types were developed at the base including the "SS" Submarine Scout and the "C" Coastal types. Airship development and testing continued throughout the war until the base was closed down after the war in 1920. (3)
Remains of the early 20th century Royal Navy Air Station (RNAS) Kingsnorth can be seen on aerial photographs taken in the 1940s and 1950s. Contrary to a previous authority this site is situated on the Hoo Peninsula not the Isle of Grain and was centred on TQ 8083 7288. The station consisted of the main airship hangars, smaller buildings including those for accommodation and a hydrogen production plant. Some parts of the site were connected by a light railway. The two large hangars had been demolished by 1942 (the date of the earliest aerial photographs) but their floors and other features were still visible on these and later photographs. RNAS Kingsnorth was built on farmland around Barton's Farm and a farm named Kingsnorth. The hangars were in a field to the south west of Kingsnorth. The northern hangar was centred on TQ 8081 7487 and measured approximately 178m by 64m. The southern hangar was at TQ 8090 7279 and measured approximately 216m by 55m. There is evidence of building up the ground surface to create a level area for the southern hangar. Cropmarks also indicate that the southern hangar had swing doors at either end. These marks are in the form of four pairs of concentric arcs (possibly of concrete) upon which, it is supposed, wheels on the bottom of these large doors could run upon. In addition to some individual buildings around the hangars there was a larger group to the north. Some of the buildings centred at TQ 8080 7317 may have been barrack buildings while a larger building to the south west was possibly the officers' mess. Other buildings mapped in this area may have been built for the RNAS station but others are post-First World War and built for the oil refinery that reused much of this site (see NMR 1537943). RNAS Kingsnorth was connected to the branch line and therefore to the depot at Lodge Hill by a light railway. The railway also led to a jetty thought to have been built by the Royal Navy. The aerial photographs also show a number of buildings, outlines of demolished buildings and the earthworks defining the site of gas storage tanks. These are situated on either side of the railway line near the jetty and are centred on TQ 8088 7189. These are the remains of the air station's hydrogen plant. The close proximity of the plant to the railway line and the jetty as opposed to the hangars may indicate that a proportion of the hydrogen produced was for use at other airship stations. Faint earthworks to the south of each hangar at TQ 8088 7285 and TQ 8102 7279 may be associated with the large screens that had to be erected close to the hangars to reduce the effect of crosswinds, though those at TQ 8093 7275 have the appearance of practice trenches. The earthworks at TQ 8088 7285 are aligned with a narrow strip of rough ground and fainter earthworks east of the northern hangar are also aligned with a similar feature both of which gently curve south eastwards and are connected by a north-west south-east line. These are reminiscent of the layout of a trackway and may be associated with the movement of airships. A large open area to the south centred on TQ 8104 7255 is likely to have been used as the airfield. After the RNAS station was closed the hangars were used as a wood pulping factory (see NMR 1537949) while the buildings to the north and the jetty became part of the Berry Wiggins oil refinery (as mentioned above). Camouflaging of the site seen in 1942 included painting camouflage pattern over the by then expose hangar floors. Almost the whole of this site has since been built over by the Kingsnorth power stations and nearby works. One RNAS building (possibly a barrack building) at TQ 8079 7310 may survive; it was still visible on an aerial photograph taken in 2007. This site was mapped from aerial photographs as part of the English Heritage: Hoo Peninsula Landscape Project. (4-10)