This image of the Airship Gamma II and a Bristol Boxkite over Stonehenge was popular with both visitors and Aviation enthusiasts alike. First sold as a real photo postcard by the local Amesbury photographer, L. Fuller, this image was reproduced again at the start of the war and was very popular with the troops.
These early Real Photo Postcards are identifiable by the unusual aberration in the sky between the people of the ground and the Bristol BoxKite above the stones. While some believe this to be the photographers thumbprint on the original plate, others speculate that it is of a more mystic or extraterrestrial in origin.
At the start of the war, a commercial offset printing was produced. this later printing utilized a back design that dates to a very narrow period of time between 1915 and 1917. This later printing not only has a slightly enhanced contrast, but the aberration has vanished, is this a case of cleanup, or cover up, one can only speculate.
The third example pictured here, was posted in 1918.
In 1914 at the outbreak of the war, Lark Hill Field was closed, and all military aviation assets were moved. Just as quickly as the aircraft could be moved, Camp Larkhill, a Calvary and Artillery training facility was built on the site. Aerial artillery observation training took place in the area, making the sight of airship activity over Stonehenge commonplace. By the time, this card was produced, the Bristol Boxkite had gone the way he of the Wright Flyer, and were replaced in the air by the modern warplanes of the era. This poor quality offset printed postcard has had the Boxkite image removed and the sky detail washed out, so it only showed the Airship Gamma II. I suspect this was done in hopes of improving sales by modernizing the image.
I would like to thank Rod Filan http://www.earlyaviator.com
for his assistance in identifying the airship as the Gamma II.
This image was believed to have been produced when the Gamma II was in the area for military trials in 1912.
A log book detailing the flight of the Gamma II during the 1912 trials at Larkhill was sold on eBay in early 2006. is my hope that the new owner is willing to share images or transcripts of the pages that directly apply to the trials over Stonehenge in 1912.
At first I thought what we may have here was a composite image. I would have expected it from Firth or Valentine & Son, but I did not think that Fuller would have the need to stooped to that level of commercialism. L. Fuller was a local Amesbury photographer who documented many if not most of the amazing feats of aeronautical daring, performed by the early aviators flying out of Larkhill Field between 1910 and 1914. There were a lot of first's of aviation taking place over Stonehenge between 1910 and 1914 for him to document.