Son of Harriet Mathewson and the late Thomas Mathewson; husband of Violet Theresa Mathewson, of "Melrose," Alexandra Rd., South Farnborough, Hants. Born at Seaford, Sussex.
The R38 class (also known as the A class) of rigid airships was designed for Britain's Royal Navy during the final months of the First World War, intended for long-range patrol duties over the North Sea. Four similar airships were originally ordered by the Admiralty, but orders for three of these (R39, R40 and R41) were cancelled after the armistice with Germany and R.38, the lead ship of the class, was sold to the United States Navy in October 1919 before completion. On 23 August 1921, R-38 was destroyed by a structural failure while in flight over Hull. It crashed into the Humber estuary, killing 44 out of the 49 crew aboard. At the time of its first flight it was the world's largest airship. Its destruction was the first of the great airship disasters