The airship station site at Bentra was a small but important link in a chain of naval and aviation bases all around the coast of Ireland, which were instrumental in winning the First World War. The Royal Naval Air Service airships operating from here carried out their roles of surveillance and deterrence, that helped combat the deadly German U-Boat menace. To raise awareness and appreciation of this almost forgotten aspect of local heritage, a Heritage Lottery funded community engagement programme was delivered by Carrickfergus Museum in partnership with 'Living Legacies 1914-1918' (Queen's University Belfast), supported by History Hub Ulster. Project participants from the local community included members of Whitehead Community Association, History Hub Ulster and local Air Cadets. As part of the project, the field which contained the airship hangar was surveyed by project participants using laptops with maps and aerial imagery, metal detecting and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) kit. There were several public events associated with the project and an exhibition at Carrickfergus Museum, which included loaned objects from the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum, Ilchester. The project culminated in the erection of a granite memorial on the site of the airfield, provided by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust.
Carrickfergus Museum, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Focus and Research
Resources used for research
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); GIS/digital mapping; metal detecting; Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR); historical maps/imagery; primary research material sourced from a local historian; other published material.