Polegate station was selected in early 1914, and 142 acres
of land was acquired next to the village of Polegate.
5 miles north west of Eastbourne, and 17 miles east of Brighton,
the area was chosen being close to the railway, and the
prevailing west wind was sheltered by the South Downs.
site did contain a logistical problem in that it was poorly
drained, and although construction work commenced at the
beginning of 1915, the speed in which airship sheds were
constructed, normally a matter of months, in this case for
Polegate, the structure was not erected until the end of
slow, the work commenced on the site, and enough work had
been completed to enable a Submarine Scout class ship to
be based there from July 1915.
barrack huts were completed in the latter part of 1916,
and work continued on the shed, the doors were altered to
enable the housing of the new Coastal Class ships. The shed
was not large enough and so the ground around the south
west doors was excavated, rather than increasing the height
of the structure.
of the more interesting ships to be based at Polegate was
the all black S.S.40 airship which had been
assembled under tight security and guard in the shed. The
ship was planned to transport agents over to the enemy territory
under the cover of darkness, although it was never able
to complete it secret role.
the expansion of the airship programme, a second shed was
erected in the summer of 1916, and could accommodate five
Submarine Scout airships and one of the new larger Coastal
assist with target practice, the outline of a submarine
was marked out on the landing area for bomb dropping practice.
In addition, a floating target was moored out at sea for
live bombing practice.
were added to the sheds to protect them from the wind, and
these were heightened in August 1917. By November 1918 Polegate
was responsible for eleven airships, including those at
mooring out stations nearby.