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RNAS Longside

Located amongst a modern coniferous plantation forest at Lenabo, 3 miles (5 km) to the south of Longside in Buchan (Aberdeenshire), are the remarkably well-preserved remains of Britain's most northerly airship base. RNAS Longside was constructed in 1915 as a station for airships, with ranges of up to 1000 miles (1609 km), which patrolled the coastline, sought out German U-boats and escorted convoys in the North Sea. Facilities for the 1300 personnel included shops, a theatre, swimming pool, church and the base had its own gas works. The concrete foundations of the three airship hangars can still be seen, comprising one immense hangar for rigid airships - 150m (492 feet) long, 46m (150 feet) wide and 30m (98 feet) high - flanked by two smaller 'coastal' hangars which were stepped forward to create a sheltered area for airship manoeuvring in front of the larger structure. Also visible are airship anchoring blocks and the remains of support and domestic buildings. A subsidiary station was established in 1917 at Aldbar, 8½ miles (14 km) west of Montrose in Angus. RNAS Longside closed in 1918 and the property was sold by the government in the 1920s. In 2003, Longside Community Council have attached a memorial plaque to a gable wall of what is thought to have been the former officer's mess.

During the Second World War, RAF Peterhead (Longside Airfield) was constructed 4 miles (6.5 km) to the northeast at Thunderton and it is probably because the Lenabo site was not re-activated for use by aeroplanes that old the airship base ranks amongst the best-preserved of its type in Britain today.


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