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Mullion Admiralty Airship Station – HMS Bonython

Sometimes referred to as the Lizard Airship Station and known locally as HMS Bonython, Mullion Admiralty Airship Station opened in June 1916 with the intention of it becoming a major airship base with a number of out-stations. The Admiralty acquired 320 acres of land from the Bonython Estate for the purpose of providing much-needed counter submarine patrols. Initially, one large airship shed measuring 300ft x 100ft x 70ft high was erected together with an extensive hutted camp. Further buildings were erected in early 1917 and by 1918 a second smaller airship shed had been constructed alongside Mullion’s main shed. In its short history Mullion had already provided a base for Sopwith Strutter land-planes and with the formation of the RAF in 1918 and the subsequent re-organization of units, fixed wing aircraft returned to Mullion in May 1918 with the establishment of Special Duty Flight, equipped with DH6 aircraft. A second Flight was formed the following month and became 515 and 526 Flights respectively, as part of 254 Squadron. In August 1918 these Flights were transferred to 236 Squadron. This organization survived until early 1919, with disbandment probably taking place in May of the same year. By this time the infrastructure at Mullion had expanded to include a number of additional aircraft sheds, including six Bessonneau hangars and attendant workshops. However, by the end of 1919, with the First World War having ended, the station was closed and most of the infrastructure and buildings removed, leaving only a few huts and the large mooring blocks used to tether the airships. Today, the land is once again part of the Bonython Estate, who have permitted a number of wind turbines to be erected on the site. To the casual observer there is little left to indicate the site of what was a busy airship station. It is worth pointing out, that contrary to what has been stated in a number of airfield related publications, Mullion Admiralty Airship Station is not situated in the same location as RAF Predannack.