The naming of airships has been topic of interest over the last few years, with the British being the only country who did not name thier ships. The Germans named their commercial ships after great leaders, however following a comment made to an AHT member that the R101 was due to be named "King George V", interesting discussions continued on whether the British ships were to be named. Finally on a receny visit to the Public Records Office in Kew, I found a file which provided a facinating insite in to the future of British Commercial Airships. The correspondence is between A M S R and the Secretary of State. The following is a transcript of the contents of file AIR 2/399.
Record Office File : AIR 2 /399
Will you at your convenience let me know your views about the naming of the two ships. I strongly object to treating them like submarines and giving them only numbers. At the same time I see the risk of naming them prematurely before we know that they can successfully fly. Do you contemplate giving them names at any stage in their career, if so what stage?
Signed S. of S.
I do not think we should give names to these experimental ships until we have seen what they are capable of in the air. I should suggest therefore that they are formally names after their home trials are complete. I understand that a suggestion has been made that they should receive the names of heavenly bodies such as planets, constellations etc. If you agree, in general, I will submit some names, which do not trench on other interests.
Signed A. M. S. R.
Handwitten on the bottom of note
Which I will not now commit myself to any category of names I shall be glad if you will submit some suggestions in due course.
Signed S. of S.
I think that we ought to put off any launching ceremony 'til after home trails are complete and that it should take place from the mooring tower. In file 521994/25 attached enclosure 10A there is a list of names, which have been suggested by Cardington. We might also use the names of large rivers such as "Ganges" "Tigris" "Euphrates" etc. Of course the list of constellations, stars and please etc amongst which I think perhaps the names might be chosen, are not at all full, but enclosure 10a is an illustration of the sort of names we might choose. They would of course have to bear the number in addition in accordance with international regulation.
see the attached copy of a reply to S.Of S. received from Lord Stamfordham
intimating that the King is in favour of utilising astronomical nomenclature
for the new airships, and is inclined to favour the manes "CASTOR" and
"POLLUX" for the R100 and R101. Perhaps at this stage it would be advisable
for these minutes to be permanently inserted on the file. If you agree,
would you be good enough to give the necessary instructions.
from D.A.D that there is just a possibility that a suggestion may be
made when R100 is in Canada that she should be named "Canada" possibly
by the Prime Minister. D.A.D would of course have to refer any such
suggestion back to this country but you may like to consider it in advance,
particularly in view of your predecessors correspondence with Lord Stamfordham
in this file. Personally I should prefer both airships to go on as R100
and R101 and I believe that this is your view.
Appendix A - List of names suggested by general public from letters on file
Appendix 10a - Official List of names suggested by H M Government
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