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The Avro 504 began development in late 1912 (at A.V. Roe), first flew in July 1913, and was in service at the start of the First World War, serving with both the RFC and the RNAS. The RFC used the 504 for reconnaissance and gun spotting. In the summer of 1914, as Europe teetered on the brink of war, the spectre of immediate Zeppelin raids on London and other major British towns and cities loomed large. When Winston Churchill accepted responsibility for the defence of London, he realised that Zeppelins were most vulnerable when on the ground.
Avro 504 - Attack on Zeppelin L.7
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Despite limited resources, he believed that attack was the best form of defence. In the final four months of 1914, the RNAS launched four separate air attacks on Zeppelin bases in Germany. One of the raids was carried out by just 3 Avro 504 aircraft. The bombs were only 20 pounds in weight, but the Zeppelin L.7 just escaped damage and certain destruction by 60 feet. In addition a lucky strike on the gas plant caused most damage, but later raids accomplished very little. G-ABAA is currently on static display in the Manchester Air And Space Museum, Manchester, England. Built in 1930 from spare parts it was used for joy riding.