View Full Version : Flying Boats and Anglesey

vintage ATCO
26th Nov 2004, 16:44
I have just spent a few days on Anglesey researching my family history - my grandfather lived in Beaumaris and met my grandmother there. She was in service at Fryars (or Friars) for the Burton family just outside Beaumaris. This was at the turn of the last century. Fryars is still there but I didn't realised it was requisitioned in 1939 and Saunders Roe moved there from the Isle of Wight.

Apparently they worked on Catalinas and other flying boats there. The derelict factory buildings are still there, next to Fryars, and you can see where the slipway was down into the water.

Can't find much about it on the Web. Anyone know any more? Or where to look.

26th Nov 2004, 17:58
A couple of excellent articles, with photos, titled 'Flying Boats on the Strait', appeared in issues No1 & 2 of 'Rapide' - ("The Magazine for the North-West Vintage Aviation Enthusiast").

I believe they are a non-profit making concern, so I hope the mods will permit me to post a link here (http://www.south-lancs-aviation.co.uk/Rapide/rapide.htm), which gives further details, and the possibility of back-copies, should you wish. Good Luck.

Edited to add a few selected lines from the first article:-

" ....... the Saunders-Roe Design Department at Cowes on the Isle of Wight was right in the forefront of the Battle of Britain and air raid warnings were causing major disruption to production. For this reason, it was decided to disperse the workforce to less vulnerable locations.

The ideal place was found at Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey. It offered a deep and sheltered strip of water, roughly in line with the prevailing wind and stretching four miles westwards to Menai Bridge. A fifty acre estate, north of the town, with a country house called 'Fryars' and sufficient land to build hangars and a slipway, was selected.

In the Summer of 1940, Saunders-Roe Ltd had been awarded a contract to manufacture modification sets for Catalinas, which were soon expected to arrive from the USA. (Because of non-standardisation between countries, a considerable number of changes in equipment were needed for the aircraft to be used operationally by the RAF)

Initially, all the Beaumaris Catalinas were ferried across the Atlantic to Largs near Prestwick on the Scottish coast, before transit to Beaumaris but from November 1942, they flew direct to Beaumaris, from Bermuda. Aircraft built by the Canadian Boeing Company flew in from Goose Bay in Canada. The first few crews managed to avoid customs inspection but officialdom soon noticed the loophole, and a sudden check produced an enormous haul of silk stockings, tobacco and spirits. At first, the delivery crews were civilians - adventurers who undertook the arduous and risky flight for the devilment of it. When America came into the war, military crews took over and as a Flying Officer with the RCAF, Hughie Green, the late television personality and game show host, was one of the Catalina ferry pilots. Later on, ATA delivery crews frequently carried out flights to and from Fryars."

vintage ATCO
27th Nov 2004, 08:00
Thanks ss, I've e-mailed them but it has bounced. Have to use the old jelly bone. :D

Thanks for the extract. Hughie Green had a Cessna 336 based at Leavesden, G-ASLL, and I use to work it on many occasion in transit. You could never mistake his laconic accent.