An OB and a Gamma Airship

Posted by Berkhamsted Admin on 03 Apr 2023

Modified by Berkhamsted Admin on 10 Nov 2023

John Norman Fletcher

J.N. Fletcher was a pupil at Berkhamsted for five years. Captain of both the Football and Cricket 1st XI teams, Senior Prefect and 2nd Lt. in the Corps. 


                                                                         The Gamma Airship in Berkhamsted Castle Grounds.

A memorable OB, known for landing a “Gamma” Airship in the Castle Grounds in 1913. An excerpt from the July Berkhamstedian tells the tale - “A unique honour was paid to us by an Old Boy some four weeks ago. Lieutenant Fletcher, of the Royal Flying Corps, flew here in the “Gamma” and landed in the Castle grounds. We were the first School to be honoured by a special visit of an airship, which arrived in the early morning on Thursday 29th May, after a short stay at Woodstock. It departed in the early hours on Friday and looked a fine sight as it circled over the Quad”.

Sports group

                                                                                    Fletcher - 3rd from right, back row.

A further search of the catalogue, revealed a selection of photographs and photo postcards, which show Fletcher taking part in Sports Day, running on the same turf that he landed the airship on a few years later.  The Masters ready for action in the 100yds and views of the Castle grounds, which was used as the venue for the School’s annual Sports Day.


                                                                 Athletics Sports programme – note the Masters’ 100 yards race.


                                                                Fletcher in running race – far left in the photo, he was placed 3rd.

Sports kit and venues may have changed and the Staff now run two legs of the 4x100 event but the tradition of Sports Day continues, with the Senior School Sports Day taking place at the end of the Lent term.

Masters race

                                                                 Masters lined up to race with the Castle Cottage in the background.


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