R100 on the Montreal Mast
Location and plans showing shed location
site was chosen later than the original commission lead
by Gp Cpt Fellowes in 1926. The Canadian Government had
agreed to be part of the airship demonstration flights,
so Herbert Scott and A R Gibbs sailed to Canada on April
22nd 1927. Their task was to find a possible mast and landing
site in Canada.
landing at Montreal, the Air Ministry officials travelled
to Ottawa on 3rd May and met with J L Ralston, the Canadian
Minister of National Defence and other department officers.
The next day they visited two possible sites, one being
the Connaught Rifle Range, 10 miles west of Ottawa and Rockliffe,
3 miles east of the city.
the standard requirements of some 600 acres of level well
drained land was required, along with accommodation for
a mast, gas plant After some 5,800 miles travelled by rail
and 1,300 by road, the commission finally found a landing
site. Many other areas along the eastern side of Canada
were seen as options however they finally agreed on a flat
area, in the parish of St Hubert some 7 miles from Montreal.
Unlike the earlier Connaugh Riffle Rangers, it required
no special and expensive levelling or clearing. The site
was a triangular shaped property some 590 acres which was
privately owned, was acquired.
The Canadian Government then placed the order for the mooring
mast head, along with the South Africa in July 1927. Standardisation
of the telescopic arm and mooring coupling was seen as essential.
English manufacturers had only built similar structures
and so Canada and the other dominions would have to use
the same experience. The tower head equipment had been ordered
from Babcock and Wilcox of Lincoln and a 2% saving was made
on the order as the South African mast had been ordered
at the same time.
The mast foundations had begun and work continued in 1928
the mast was erected with the mooring mast head on delivery
from England leaving on 11th August awaiting arrival in
Canada by Vickers (Canada) Ltd. With the mast nearly complete
a problem had arisen as the Air Ministry had not sent drawings
of the airship traveller gangway or platform to the ship,
therefore handicapping the design of the remote control
winches. They decided to proceed without the plans as any
errors could be corrected at a later date. This did in fact
impede passenger embarkation to and from the ship on to
the mast, as the lip of the boarding ramp did not meet up
with the passenger embarkation ring on the Mast. There was
a 2 ft (60cm) gap, which does not seem much, however was
daunting as it was over 200ft in the air. When this error
was realised, and before the R100 departed England for the
flight to Montreal, a special set of wooden steps were constructed
to connect the boarding ramp and the embarkation ring. This
difference would have been corrected as planned in future
The Canadian mast was again different in structural design
than the Karachi and Cardington masts in that the base buildings
were of different but colonial design and the lift shaft
was enclosed as part of the structure, and not open as the
other masts. A proposal was made on the plans of the airship
station to have a airship shed which was to be constructed
following further advancement of the airship programme.
The R100 made a successful trip and local flight to Canada
and returned to England in 1930. It is not known the exact
date which the mast was demolished but it us suspected that
the mast was decommission prior to the second world war.