Date = 17th July 2019
Run Number = 1863
Venue = The Admiral Byng
Location = Potter’s Bar
Hare/s = Wanktlers
Beer = Bob; Titanic Capt Smith; Ruddles, Greede King Abbot, IPA
Runners = 14
Virgins = 0
Visitors = 11 Enfield
Newies = 0
Après = 1
Hounds = 1
Total = 27
Membership = Enjoying a Joint Run with EH3
With it being a later than normal start for the Herts contingent, My Lil' & Mr X were joined by the Hare for a pre-Trail drinky-poohs! Irian Jaya & Mick Mac then arrived, they were soon followed by FWB. More began to roll up, then Mr X thought that he saw Kylie go by, so he went out to investigate. Sure enough it was Kylie, who had now parked up. Mr X peered through the passenger window to witness Kylie reading a newspaper, avoiding the rest of H4?
Stand-in Shit & Kevin arrived, then a mob of Enfield Hashers. Paxo wandered up & he said that he had room to stow away Hash Bags before the Pack Circled up outside of the Admiral Byng. The respective honours in introducing the Hash to the correct Run Nos. of 1863 for Herts, while clocked up Enfield's 249 took place before the Hare was called forward.
Just as Wanktlers was finishing off his 'Chalk-talk' the familiar faces of Psycho & then Skip came around from the nearby car park. The one that a few of Enfield had questioned the closing time they has spotted advertised upon an information board? My Lil' & Mr X both said that over the years Herts have run from here, they have never seen the gates closed. Would this be the first time it would be locked? You'll have to find out later!
The Hare finished off his spiel with mentions of a play-area where Enfield could have a jolly time on the equipment, also there was a Herts Sweetie stop & finally a History Stop, something this Hare enjoys putting into his Trails! Then everyone was shown the way down Darkes Lane to the southwest.
Sludge was soon away & trying to keep up with the FRBs in the guise of Irian Jaya, Shitehead, Mouthwash & She Who Mus Be Obeyed. The Keenies were mainly made up of Enfield H3, with FWB & Sludge contributing for H4. Only yards down Darkes Lane & the Keenies were crossing over at the Pedestrian lights, to follow arrows along the eastern parade if shops.
The Keenies would now take their eyes off of the Trail, for having passed beneath the bridge that has the main lines to Kings Cross running above, they failed to notice the Bar CHK on the southern side of the tracks! My Lil' & Mr X now took full advantage of 'Local knowledge' as they slipped away up the tarmac footpath which starts at the bottom by McDonald's & heads away south-eastward, rising along by the Railway to the right, before finally emerging out on to a CHK on the very short spur road if St Georges by Mutton Lane.
The Trail was found out & over to the south side off Mutton Lane, leading the Pack up to the wood wooden beamed & tiled roof Lichgate, passing through this the Trail would be led from the north-eastern corner of Mutton Lane Cemetery. Having weaved its way around a fair bit of the burial ground, the FRB would be taken around the back-streets of one housing estate south of Mutton Lane. Using cut-throughs & back-back-passages (Steady there Pebbledash! - Ed) the likes of FWB, Sludge, Irian Jaya, She Who Must Be Obeyed would make their way to cross over to the north side of Mutton Lane.
The SCBs stuck with the Hare’s marking the short Cut up Mutton Lane, both parts of the Pack meeting up to the local Tescos, where the Trail took to an alleyway heading due north. The sound of 'Leather on Willow' could be heard [No Pebbledash! – Ed] as the tarmac footpath passed along the edge of Potters Bar Cricket Club. There kids were out playing Cricket, no doubt inspired by the weekends' epic World Cup final?
Further northward to emerge to find a CHK on The Walk, an east to west road splitting the footpath in two. The Keenies of Irian Jaya, Shithouse, Damp Rick & She Who Must Be Obeyed down to The Walk, which brought Mr X & My Lil’ back from the continuation of the footpath into Parkfield Open Space, they would be turning again when the FRBs found that the Trail down The Walk was a Falsie!
In to Parkfield Open Space the Hash went, the Pack were being kept together pretty well as the FRBs now headed away through the open space toward Billy Lows Lane, then Wanktlers was spotted peeling off on the mown green path through the taller brown wispy tall grasses on the east. This was a Short Cut to head through the southern end of the small wooded area near to Potters Bar FC's ground.
FWB & Sludge joined the FRBs took the path through the northern end of the wood, making their way through the 'Japanese Garden' section, meeting up with the Kevin, Stand-in Shit, Paxo & Kylie before the elongated lake, where the Trail would lead up the wooden ramp area surrounding a large Oak, then ‘On!’ out by the colourful flower beds to the High Street.
Use of the nearby crossing safely got the Hash over to Oakmere Park, which sits to the east of the High Street. Here the Dust led around from the western end if the first lake, taking to the northern side & over through the grassy area of new Oaks before swing around behind the east end of the second lake, on a narrow path behind the back of the homes on Tempest Avenue.
Having almost circumnavigating both the lakes, the Keenies were brought to a halt at the Held CHK on the southern end of the Park. As Psycho, Skip, Kylie & Paxo made their was directly over from the High Street, on a path between the Oaks that give the small Park its name, Lofty had Henry off of the lead & he decided that he would round up the gaggle of Canadian Geese, the Geese had other ideas & decided to decamp from the lawn to the safety of the lake, making quite a splash in the process. Mr X called out "Fenton!" Which made those who have seen the internet video of an out of control dog chasing deer in Richmond Park, all laugh.
The Pack were handed out sweets, some of which looked very familiar from the last Herts Trail on Monday! With every one gathered by an information board, Wanktlers began to tell the tale of one of the World War I Zeppelin Raids. Having previously had a Herts Hash Trail way back in 2016 marking the anniversary of Capt William Leefe Robinson VC for shooting down the first Airship near Cuffley, which took place on 3 September, 1916, the squadron claimed its first kill.
The victorious pilot was 2nd Lieutenant Leefe Robinson, the victim wasn't strictly a Zeppelin, but a wooden framed predecessor known as the Schütte-Lanz dirigible. Wooden framed Airships were used by the German Army, whereas the German Navy preferred the Aluminium framed Zeppelin.
The Hash were now told of another Zeppelin raid over Herts Territory, this time the “Knight of the air" was 32 year-old Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Mathy of L31, who had taken part in more raids than any other member of the German Naval airship service - 14 combat flights in the course of which he had dropped about 34,000 kg of bombs.
A very skilled navigator, Mathy showed real audacity, coolness & daring, it was Mathy who had made the most successful single raid on Britain with Zeppelin L13, when he attacked London itself. He seemed invincible.
On the night of 1st October 1916, Mathy was heading for London again, this time in one of the new larger "super-Zeppelins," the three-month-old L31. Things had changed since Mathy's famous 1915 raid on London. Defensive aircraft no longer sat on their runways, they were flying in relays to avoid an almost hour-long climb to reach the Zeppelin's height.
Worst of all for the Airship Crews was the knowledge that, using incendiary bullets, British aircraft had now succeeded in shooting down airships. The "Knights of the Sky" were not finding it so easy as they used to, Viktor Woellert, the Chief Machinist Mate on L31, is often quoted as having written “I dream constantly of falling Zeppelins. There's something in me I can't describe. It's as if I saw a strange darkness before me, into which I must go."
L31 had crossed the North Sea without difficulty, passing over the English coast near Lowestoft, while others with their envelopes encrusted with ice were making very slow progress. Mathy seems to have taken the decision to abandon his raid on London, dropping most of his bombs over Cheshunt to lighten the load. Thirty high-explosive & twenty-six incendiary bombs, Mathy's bombs’ damaged more than three hundred houses as well shattering many of the panes in green-houses around this area. Amazingly the only casualty was a woman who was injured.
At about 13.45Hrs Second Lieutenant Wulstan J. Tempest, of the No.39 Home Defence Squadron, heard that airships were heading for London, legend says that he had ignored orders to patrol the Thames & instead had taken his tiny BE2c biplane to its patrolling height of about 14,500 feet (over 2.5 miles in altitude) in a hope to intercept the raiders. With an hour & a quarter flying time left, Wulstan saw several of the searchlights about fifteen miles away to the North of London, all of which converged upon one distant, silvery, cigar-shaped object.
L31 had been picked up by the Hertfordshire based Barnet Searchlight Detachment, who were manned a specially equipped dark green tram, fitted with a searchlight. Positioned outside Barnet Church, they were able to illuminate the raider during the course of the engagement, thereby greatly aiding the work of Tempest as he attacked the airship. The men of the Barnet Searchlight Detachment were roundly praised by locals for their contribution to this important Herts based wartime episode.
Tempest, of course, knew exactly what he was looking at, though forced to hand-operate a broken fuel-pump, he flew towards the Zeppelin at top speed of 72 MPH (63 Knots. 116 KPH) He was not the only part of London's air-defence to have been jolted into action that night - by the time he got closer to the Zeppelin he found himself flying though large amounts of anti-aircraft fire as more & more batteries began firing at the airship.
Firing a mixture of tracer, incendiary and ordinary ammunition, Tempest could see that he was hitting his target, but nothing happened. Tempest got into position under the tail of the ship, firing a long burst as he flew beneath its length. He later said ‘I dived straight at her, firing a burst straight into her as I came,’ Tempest wrote afterwards. ‘As I was firing, I noticed her begin to go red inside like an enormous Chinese lantern and then a flame shot out of the front part of her and I realised she was on fire.
‘She then shot up about 200 feet, paused, and then came roaring straight down on to me before I had time to get out of the way. I put my machine into a spin and just managed to corkscrew out of the way as she shot past me, roaring like a furnace.’
Mathy chose to jump, having wrapped a thick scarf (a present from his wife) around his head, falling to earth a little way from the ship, which crashed with a deafening roar onto the "Zeppelin Oak." The hissing of burning gas was combined with the wrenching of the aluminium framework, as well the splintering of branches. As the burning wreckage rested, the rattling pops of the Zeppelin's ammunition was soon followed by the booms of its fuel tanks exploding.
There were other dangers, too. A policeman hurrying across the fields was horrified to see one of the L31's huge propellers cartwheeling madly, in a direction straight towards him at a fair rate of knots. He dived to one side, watched the propeller demolish a hay-rick & sensibly decided to wait until things had quietened down just a before going any closer. When Mathy was eventually found, embedded some inches into the soft earth, some say he was alive for a few minutes after the impact but No-one survived the crash.
The fire-brigade arrived & moved the bodies of the crew into a barn. Next morning, huge numbers of sightseers descended on Potters Bar, but the Army had placed a cordon of soldiers around the whole area so that no-one could get too close.
The owner of the field in which the wreckage lay, had permission from the local army commander to charge a shilling a head to allow visitors to enter his land for the best view, the proceeds being promised to the Red Cross after deductions to put right the damage to his land. One of his customers that morning was Wulstan Tempest, who would certainly have been allowed in gratis if he had revealed his identity, but who quietly paid his shilling to see the results of his efforts of the previous night. Other parts of the airship frame were made in to souvenirs, which were sold off to raise money for the Red Cross.
Wulstan J. Tempest was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his Zeppelin-hunting exploit. He was soon promoted to Major & served with 100 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, operating night-bombers on the Western Front, eventually commanding the unit until June 1918. He left the RAF in 1921, dying in 1966. Tempest Avenue was named after him, as well as Wulstan Close.
The Airship Crew were all buried in St. Mary the Virgin & All Saints, at Potters Bar, there an altar-cross made from metal taken from the wreck can be seen in the All Souls Chapel, in the 1960’s the crew were all exhumed & now lie in the military cemetery at Cannock Chase. This is where nearly all the Germans who died on British soil in the Great War were eventually brought to rest. The airship crews, including those shot down by Leefe Robinson, are all together away from the main plot. They are in the right place, along a little aisle that leads off into the trees, in the direction of the setting sun.
One of the Enfield Hashers wondered why so many German Sailors, around 20, were needed on-board a Zeppelin? The answer is: it had machine gunners for defence against aircraft, engineers for the structure, gas & multiple engines, bombers, navigator, radio operator, two steers-men & of course Captain to name a few to operate & maintain a machine that was 200 by 24 Metres which needed constant maintenance & sometimes inflight repairs.
With the sad tale over, Enfield went to have a quick jaunt on the nearby playground equipment, meanwhile Herts searched over on the Grove, but failed to pick up Trail until an enquiring civilian, who was passing by, told Mr X that he had seen a 1 on Tempest Avenue, which was actually a Hash one-sided arrow.
Down Tempest Avenue, the Pack were heading away to the east, before the road turns northward. Some were hoping that the Trail would pass along the street behind Oakmere Park, but the Hare had other plans as the Trail would descend Chace Avenue to the east. The Hare's cunning would lead some astray on this route before finding the cut-through to the bottom of Penhurst Road.
The Trail began to climb as it ran through the commuter town's streets to Cotton Road, which leads north-westward up to the lights junction with the end of the High Street, the Causeway & the Hatfield Road (A1000).
Once over the busy junction, safely on the western side the Pack resumed the Trail to head down the gently dropping Hatfield Road in a Nor-nor-westerly direction, here Wanktlers marked a Short Cut pointing westward down Billy Lows Lane, for Sludge, My Lil' & Mr X this was the correct option in order not to use up too much valuable drinking time. Mick Mac was also going to take this option, shortly joined by Damp Rick & Tim. Kevin & Stand-in Shit weren’t too shy in taking what was now the H4 route Inn.
While most of Herts were going to take short cut option, Irina Jaya, Shithouse, Mouthwash, She Who Must be Obeyed, & FWB were going to go further, along with the Hare as he had put in the effort to set the Trail, continuing up the Hatfield road. missing out Quaker Lane to move up to the next option of turning at the T-junction where Church Lane leaves the old A1, here the FRBs turned to run a few degrees south off of due west, a long stretch before turning the corner where the south bound section of the road passes a local School & becomes Darkes Lane. Meanwhile, My Lil' pondered on the length of Billy Lows Lane, was it a Mile in length? Well, according to Google maps it is 1 kilometre, so it’s only 0.62 of a mile.
The early ones back to the On Inn got to sit outside the Pub for about 25 minutes before being ushered inside by a Barmaid, due to its proximity to a Maximum security Twilight Home, ‘spoons’ staff take away the tables & chairs at 21:00 when the retirees are given their night-time pills & packed off to bed! Luckily we managed to get Sludge, Skip & Paxo beyond the OAP complex & in the Admiral Byng.
The Byng family are still owners of a lot of land around Potters Bar, as Stand-in Shit was concerned about the tide not coming in in South Herts! Admiral John Byng was executed on the 14th March 1757 after Minorca was lost, though his action are now not considered to be a dereliction of duty, back in the 1750’s his decision to return to Gibraltar to repair the fleet was considered to have “Failed to do his utmost” a Court Marshall offence, he was the last officer of his rank to be executed after the Lords of the Admiralty had failed to get King George II to exercise his Royal prerogative of leniency. He was shot by a Royal Marine firing squad on the deck of HMS Monarque.
Of course not being allowed to drink outside after 21:00Hrs means that the Circle had to be held inside, once FWB, Sludge & Paxo had finished their pizza, however Psycho & Skip were left at their table, for they had a veritable feast still in front of them. Skip managed to make the last of the Down-Downs as they were being announced, perhaps it was that She Who Must Be Obeyed was one of the RA’s, for Skip has his own ‘SWAMBO’ in Psycho, except this one of his pet names for Psycho had an ‘Always’ in it, to read She Who Must Always Be Obeyed
Sludge did the honours in toasting the Hash, before the Mr X & She Who Must Be Obeyed (as respective RAs) got together to award the Down-Downs. The Hare was rewarded for another excellent run in a couple of days! Other Down-Downs included My Lil’ was called forward for not having the sacred Herts Book present for the last couple of R*ns!
Stand-In Shit was out for reaching his 99th Herts Run, R*n totals which was accumulating at a fair pace, until he married Fireball! Kevin on one of his first Herts Hash’s was going to get a Hash Handle, the story behind which was a little long winded but basically boiled down to Mr X adding Kevin to the Herts Farcebook Page, with an Irish connection & the first name of Kevin led to Mr X having an Earworm for the rest of the day - with the Undertones’ ‘My Perfect Cousin’ rattling around in his head! So Kevin is now known as ‘My Perfect Cousin’!