View Full Version : BOAC Handley Page Hermes to Lagos trip report 1951

20th Apr 2007, 20:29
Just to say I found this on the web :


interesting little read

21st Apr 2007, 20:37
Truly a bygone age. I think the lady's aeroplane was 'Horus', not 'Hours', but it must have seemed like that in a piston-engined airliner at medium level.

Wonderful. Thank you for finding this.

21st Apr 2007, 20:48
Humber Hawk, Morris 8, Ford Prefect and Hillman Minx.
Any improvement on that?

Edit - definitely unsure about the Hillman Minx - Peugeot maybe?

21st Apr 2007, 23:05
A very interesting article. The Hermes Horus was written off after a forced landing in Mauritania 10 months later. What a shame she didn't get a photo of it, they are very hard to come by.
Is that a Jowet Javalin turning in to the side steet?

India Four Two
22nd Apr 2007, 05:15
I thought the most interesting part was: 2:00 Boarded coach for Heath Row airport. Passed through customs and were on board B.O.A.C. Hermes “Hours” by 3:00 Try that today.

I see a "What Car is This Thread" coming ;)

I used to go to school in a bus like that, although in Berkshire, not Lagos.

An interesting BBC page with pictures about the desert crash here:


Brian Abraham
22nd Apr 2007, 06:08
Background to accident here. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19520526-0&lang=en

22nd Apr 2007, 07:13
Vauxhall Velox parked on the opposite side of the street - and an Austin Devon turning into a side street?

Possibly a Humber Super Snipe in the distance?

22nd Apr 2007, 08:56
Real blast from the past. Flew out to Lagos, on a regular basis, for school holidays on Argonauts, Stratocruisers and Britannia 102s. Had flown to/from Dar es Salaam previously on Hermes and Argonauts.

Would be nice to see some pics of Ikedja Airport in those days. Any out there?


22nd Apr 2007, 09:00
Having seen what happened on a recent Heathrow thread I just knew that photo of the cars in the street would invite the old car-spotting crowd !

BTW the bus looks like an Albion Venturer (built in Glasgow).

I thought another interesting aspect of the article was the description of the meals along the way, notably the meal at the terminal in London before departure. What plain food out grandparents "enjoyed" at that time, and for the time it probably cost a bomb.

Sultan Ismail
22nd Apr 2007, 16:23
I agree with "The SSK" identification of cars and would add that the car turning left into the side street (or a an open garage door) is a Standard Vanguard.
It is also possible that the car behind the Hillman Minx Mark 4 is a Humber Super Snipe.
Buses never did anything for me so I'll go with the flow.

My first car was a Ford Prefect for which I paid the princely sum of £7/10, (Seven pounds and Ten Shillings) I made a fortune out of it from company mileage allowance and sold it to my brother for £5. Then went big time with a VW Beetle LHD and a sunroof at £110.

Meanwhile back in Lagos.......

22nd Apr 2007, 20:05
OK - I'll concede the Standard Vanguard:

And I should have remembered the flutes along the side of a Vauxhall:


which distinguish it from the reasonably similar Minx:


All pretty horrible old cars, I have to say!

23rd Apr 2007, 03:13
Reading the trip report is interesting, as bonuses I can have glimpses to Humber Hawk, Hillman, Vauxhall Velox........

I hope I can read similar trip reports but in Asia settings. Kuala Lumpur ? Jakarta? Singapore? or Kota Kinabalu? with Douglas DC3, or Convair 440 Metropolitan or the famous Constellation...

Thanks for giving the link to the Nigeria 1951 trip.

23rd Apr 2007, 05:28
I think the Ford in the middle of the road might be an Anglia. I had an early fifties Prefect and the lamps were in the wing, not on top.

23rd Apr 2007, 06:37
The first Mrs SSK had a father who was an inveterate buyer of old cars. Anything that had a price-tag of less than £50 and at least 3 months' MoT was irresistible to him, so he always had seven or eight more-or-less runners in front of the house (on the embankment just by the Boat Race finish - the neighbours must have loved him). So I have had the opportunity to drive, amongst others, a Hawk, a Morris 8 and a Ford like that one, although not nevessarily that model. Unmemorable driving experiences all, although I recall struggling with the column change on the Humber.

John Eacott
23rd Apr 2007, 06:54
I thought another interesting aspect of the article was the description of the meals along the way, notably the meal at the terminal in London before departure. What plain food out grandparents "enjoyed" at that time, and for the time it probably cost a bomb.

Food in 1951 wasn't long out of rationing, and such fare was quite a treat! ISTR that chicken was seldom on the menu at home: we certainly looked forward to it as the main course for Christmas Dinner :ok:

23rd Apr 2007, 09:21
OK, dug out the timetable at last :

BA251 on Mon Wed Fri Sat
Handley Page Hermes
Times local

Heathrow 1445
Tripoli 2230/2345
Kano 0530/0645
Lagos 0925

4.5 hour turnround at Lagos

Lagos 1400
Kano 1645/1745
Tripoli 0130/0245
Heathrow 0900

The other three days of the week BA253 operated the same routing to Kano, giving a daily operation to that point, thence to Accra in Gold Coast (nowadays Ghana).

The writer's homeward trip routed from Tripoli via Malta and Rome. They appear to have overnighted and changed planes at Tripoli onto a BEA Vickers Viking which operated some regional routes based out of Malta to several places which seem decidedly un-BEA like nowadays.

BE805 on Mondays
Vickers Viking

Cairo 0730
Benghazi 1135/1215
Tripoli 1445/1530
Malta 1605/1635
Rome 1915

There was also a Savoia-Marchetti SM.95 still operating for the Egyptian independent carrier SAIDE on a similar routing through Tripoli. Now that would have been one for the enthusiasts to have a trip report about.

23rd Apr 2007, 16:24
Definitely not an Anglebox! Ford Anglias of that era had the well-known 'church door' grille:


Whereas the allegedly more luxurious Prefect had a rounded snout:


When the 100E Anglia came out, complete with all of 36 Bhp and 0-60 in 29.7 very noisy seconds of mechanical distress, the old-shape Anglia became the virtually identical Popular - which staggered on until 1959! Then the 105E Anglia came out - and the 100E became the Popular.

23rd Apr 2007, 17:06
Pre-'48 Prefects still had the headlights in pods - it must be one of them.

While growing up in Africa in the 60's there were still a number of them about - known colloquially as "Hopalong Fords". The reason for the nickname became apparent the first time you followed one along an unmade dirt road.......

Pom Pax
23rd Apr 2007, 19:28
When did Castel Benito Airport become Castel Idris?

Obviously it became Tripoli International Airport after September 1, 1969.
They should have stuck with tradition and called it "Castel Gaddafi" or "Castel Muammar"

Does the ident beacon still read CB apparently it wasn't chaned to CI.

Mac the Knife
23rd Apr 2007, 19:36
Great story.

Me mum flew out to Lagos in '48 - but as best I remember it was in an Avro York and less luxurious.

All I know is that dad picked her up in an old jeep that leaked in the rain and she though ooh er - what 'ave I let meself in for!

Captain Airclues
23rd Apr 2007, 20:37
Is it not a Morris Ten rather than a Morris Eight?


23rd Apr 2007, 22:18
You're right, Captain, a 1938/9 Morris 10, I think.
Also, the car turning into the side street aint a Vanguard but more than likely one of uncle Sam's. Compare the pic BEagle submitted of the Vanguard and it is not fitted with spats over the rear wheel, nor is there any sort of running board or decoration where a running board should be.
I would suggest that the car behind the Hillman is, however a Mk 1 Vanguard and the Ford prefect is post-war but pre the face lifted one that BEagle posted.

24th Apr 2007, 10:03
My Dad flew Stirlings into Castle Benito immediately after VE-Day. Didn't it become Wheelus AFB rather than Tripoli International? He has great stories of taking off in the summer with all the engine temps in the red and there being a vineyard full of aircraft that had failed to make it at the end of one of the runways.

25th Apr 2007, 16:31
I advised by e-mail the originator of this article about this thread here on PPRuNe and received this reply :
Thanks for your email. I was interested to read the comments.

Horus is right, it may have been a transcription error.

You may like this picture of "Flight Arrivals" at Kano


and there are some more cars in the adjacent "Nigeria" set.

It is very nice to have the flight timetable. I went on this route
on these and similar aircraft about 6 or 8 times in the 1950s. Later
on they were using Britannias ("the whispering giant")

It was very nice for me to see the desert crash landing write-up of the Horus and the accident report. I remember at the time my folks talking about a Hermes that had got lost over the Sahara "because of a failed compass", and air travel then for a timid 10 year-old involved a fair amount of anxiety. I remember on an Argonaut, approaching Kano from Lagos in a mighty thunderstorm, having my stomach really left behind in the up and down draughts. I also remember a lightening flash outside and hearing the bang over the engine noise, and then noticing that the outermost of the three wing-tip dischargers was completely missing.

Even to this day I am a bit anxious flying in cloud.

I recently came Qantas QF1 (747-400) and was impressed with the diversions around the storms, and the lightning flashes on the horizon more frequently than one a second...

You might like to post this email
The photo of Kano airport with the man with the long horn looks familiar. Did we discuss it here a while back ?

25th Apr 2007, 19:31
V8 Pilot, loads in Nigeria then