London Gazette

 

Lady Lark Skyfried: Many Die In Conflagration

March 6, 1885 ·

Yesterday, at shortly after 9-o-clock in the morning, Her Majesty’s Skyship Lady Lark was the victim of that which all aeronauts dread – skyfire. The blaze is thought to have begun in the lower stern of the vessel, where the laundry closets are housed, quickly growing in size and overtaking the entire ship. Within moments, the gasbags had caught and the Ambinium storage canisters burned freely, leaving the HMS Lady Lark to plummet approximately 8000ft in to the Oxfordshire countryside.

Residents of the little village of Kidlington rushed to the stricken vessel’s aid, but of the HMS Lady Lark’s eighty-six- strong crew, only three miraculously survived – Lt Cdr’ James Weston, Mid Michael Ponting and Officer Cadet Louis Gradan.

All others, including Captain John Stephenson, are thought to have burned with the ship. All seven civilian passengers were evacuated safely, set loose in an escape balloon shortly after it became apparent the ship could not be saved. The London Gazette would like to send its condolences to the families of those lost in this great tragedy.

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