The Gas Plant

When the Shorts brothers planned the site back in 1915 a Gas Plant was part of the specification. Hydrogen Gas was required to inflate the airships and it made sense to produce the gas on site. This facility served the future RAF Cardington very well and actually ensured its survival way into the 1990's.

The production of Hydrogen Gas was not the only function within the plant - much testing was done in these years of other gasses and staff were trained in many aspects of gas handling and uses. In 1948 the plant was expanded and became known as No279 MU (Maintenance Unit) and began supplying compressed gasses for other RAF depots.

Below are a few extracts taken from an account by Mr Colin Crane in the BBC WW2 Peoples War archives recounting his childhood memories of RAF Cardington.
 
''RAF Cardington - My home (a fairly new council housing estate of 1937/8 on the Cardington Rd) was located en route and very near to RAF Cardington and it was usual and very common for us lads to stand in the street waiving to several very large canvas back lorries that were often full of military/RAF personnel being transported to and from RAF Cardington. This was the case well in to the early 1950’s.

Other grey/blue lorries transported extremely large ‘Gas Bottles’ that the local kids always believed were ‘bombs’. RAF Cardington was a local base where enormous barrage balloons were made and repaired/tested. The gas bottles were used to fill these barrage balloons."