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Air Ferry DC-4 Crash 3 June 1967

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Air Ferry DC-4 Crash 3 June 1967

Old 30th Jul 2022, 14:34
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Originally Posted by ozsmac View Post
Just adding my personal connection to this thread, Annie and Henry Smith were my Mothers parents, and from the stories I've heard would have been wonderful grandparents to my brother and I. Poor Mum lost them to this tragedy when she was 18, and this incident still leaves a very noticeable daily impact upon our family, and no doubt many others.
hi & sorry to bother you, are you the son of Linda Smith?
her parents were sadly killed in 1967 in this plane crash in France - her cousin Ann Smith (now Rae) here in Sunderland UK is trying to find her - pls get in touch if so, many thanks roger
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Old 30th Jul 2022, 14:42
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Originally Posted by cruismad View Post
Hi Roger
Thanks again for trying to help me. You have given me a few ideas. Linda went to Australia after her mum and dad were killed. and I had gone to London to live but for a long time to time it would come back into my mind but I did not really try to find her. I asked my mum if she knew where Linda was but she did not know. The last time she saw her she had moved to Yorkshire, but she had heard that Linda had gone to Australia and she thought it was Melbourne that she went to but as it was so far away we just hoped she was happy as she deserved some happiness. But now we are getting older I would like to hear from her.
As I said thanks for the help and time.
Ann Rea cruismad
Ann -
from what I can gather now OZSMAC is likely to be Linda's son living in Melbourne - I think his name could be Sxxxx Mxxxxxxxx
he also posts on here as you know, and on twitter and tripadvisor there is also an ozsmac

There are a few names living in MELB on Facebook too - its worth sending some DM's... Best Rog.

Or as I said get in touch with ITV Long Lost Family
They could be very helpful and this crash has been forgotten for too long....
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Old 31st Jul 2022, 14:31
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Originally Posted by Mumofboys View Post
Hello, this is my first time on here and so glad I found it while doing some research on the crash and wanted to share my story or my mums really! My mum and dad got married October 1966, she was 20 and my dad 22 and all set to celebrate their 56th anniversary this year! Anyway she was 6months pregnant with my brother when she got the devastating news that her beloved dad and brother, her step mum and half sister all died in the crash! I've always known they died in a plane crash but never really asked to many questions as she still finds it hard to talk about, because of this she along with my dad have never flown in their lives and she absolutely hates it when me or my sister goes on holiday, first thing I do when I get off plane either going or coming home is to send a text to say I've landed im 50 and my sister's 52!! I don't know why but just this week I've wanted to find out more details about it and was surprised to find everything I needed within a couple of days hence how I found this group. Reading through these comments i !earned about the memorial in London? And the mass grave, you see I never knew about that as my mums family were all brought home to Devon and buried at a local church, David (mums brother) has his own grave and her dad, step mum and sister are all buried together next to David, I've always known they were there but haven't been up there since we buried my nan over 20 years ago, (mums mum and David's mum) so because I wanted more answers i dragged my sister with me to go see the graves to see if we could get more info from them and put some flowers on all the graves. And was really pleased to see they had the date of the crash and where it crashed written on their headstones so now I'm just looking up anything on it. Sorry if this goes on a bit but it was so nice reading about other people's experience of the crash, and would love to know if anyone knew them?
James Andrew Nicholas
Rita Nicholas
David Nicholas age 11
Sarah Jane Nicholas age 2
So pleased you found this thread and can give you some more info and a little comfort -

The Air Ferry Crash in 1967 is a bit of a forgotten air disaster as The Stockport Crash the very next morning has always unwittingly overshadowed the Perpignan crash.
Obviously no one's fault that occurred as Stockport was so vivid in our news on TV and in the papers for that weekend and for some time afterwards.
That crash gained a memorial in recent years (50th 2017 I recall) pushed though by the late aviation crash author Stephen Morrin who sadly died last year.
No such memorial afaik was done for Air Ferry (except the mass grave at Brookwood Cemetery near Woking)

I wrote in 2017 to the Marie of the French village of Py (near the crash site at Mt. Canigou) and she of course knew of the crash, but they had no plans for a 50th memorium unless any relatives wanted it and then she would gladly oblige and offer all assistance.

If you need anymore info then do post back here, or PM me is fine.

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Old 31st Jul 2022, 16:29
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Originally Posted by fortunateguy View Post
Yes, we were extremely lucky that peculiar circumstances prevented me from booking the holiday & paying the deposit - that would have sealed both the holiday and our certain deaths for sure! I also recall the Stockport crash that occurred just hours after the Perpignan one, and that one sort of overshadowed the Perpignan press reports because it happened here in the UK.

It's a shame I wasn't so lucky in my above long post about the two holidays, because as the volume of typing I had to do was so long I first completed it as an MS Word document which was grammatically perfect. I then just highlighted, copied & pasted it into the forum input field but I see that in the pasted copy a considerable number of words have become attached to each other. Thank God I've input direct within this post.

Does any member of this thread have a copy of one of the Lyons Tours 1966/67 brochures that they could scan the page that advertised Hotel Acapulco in Calella and email me a jpeg photo?
Found you an old postcard photo of the Hotel Acapulco in Calella de Mar
The hotel is long gone now - this Hotel was one of those the holidaymakers were due to stay at from the Air Ferry flight.
Also shown is the Hotel Guillem in Malgrat de Mar, also used by Lyons and Everyman's - I stayed there in 1964 - my first holiday abroad.

In the 1960's onwards the Costa Brava resorts and hotels of Calella, Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar, Pineda, Malgrat, Playa D'aro, San Felui and Blanes all were really popular with the new booming holiday market and the Costa Brava then was No.1 choice as it was the nearest and the cheapest.
Majorca was the next obvious choice for Brits, and then Benidorm.
(But you still then had to fly to Valencia as ALC airport was not yet open and so you had to suffer a 3-4 hour hot and slow coach ride along the old windy coast road from VLC to Benidorm)
Torremolinos was more expensive and hotels were of a higher quality (fly to Malaga)
Lido di Jesolo in Italy (you often though had to fly to Ljubljana until Venice was used) and the Adriatic resorts near Rimini were also extremely popular.


Package Holidays sold out to Brits, Germans and Scandinavians from around 30 Guineas upwards for 15 days Full Board. (no one really went only for a week back then and many flights were fortnightly)
It was slightly cheaper to go for 11 or 12 days if the Tour firm offered it.
Just after each Xmas or New Year, the companies new Brochures for the next summer would come out and so they opened on a Sunday and folk would queue around the block to be sure of getting their 2 weeks booking in the sun.

Lyons Tours of Colne (The Air Ferry crash charterer) were a low budget firm, they sold very cheap foreign holidays, and their hotels were usually 1 or 2 stars.
They did a lot from Southend with Channel Airways on their Viscounts to Ostend, Austria, (both for coach tours) and to Spain and Majorca.

Charter flights to the Costa Brava to begin with during the early years mainly flew into PGP Perpignan and so coaches then took the holidaymakers over the Border to the Costa Brava.
Why>? I cannot recall - maybe something to do with airport tax or even Franco pops in my mind.
Barcelona was also then used more so, and thus PGP was dropped.
BEA Vanguards and British Eagle Britannia's flew lots of passengers from London Airport on the BCN route, then Gerona was added once it had opened.
Gerona was not yet open until later in the 60's.
Britannia Airways with their Britannia's were one of the first to fly to Gerona from Luton.
Many of the very first Jet package holiday flights were in 1966 with Lunn Poly/Everyman on British Eagle BAC 1-11's
BUA also had used their new 1-11 200's on IT's from the start in summer 1965,
and in 1967 both Channel Airways and Laker Airways got their first BAC 1-11's
Autair a year later in 1968 would also get the BAC 1-11.
In 1968 saw Channel Airways acquire their first 2 Trident's of a 5 aircraft order, but would subsequently only take delivery of the first 2, and BKS would take 2 of these Tridents.
Britannia Airways was the first airline in Europe to order, and to take delivery in summer 1968 of the first Boeing 737-200.






Hotel Acapulco Calella de Mar





Hotel Guillem Malgrat de Mar - my first holiday abroad in 1964 with Lunn Poly Everyman




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Old 31st Jul 2022, 23:06
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Originally Posted by rog747 View Post
Charter flights to the Costa Brava to begin with during the early years mainly flew into PGP Perpignan and so coaches then took the holidaymakers over the Border to the Costa Brava.
Why>? I cannot recall - maybe something to do with airport tax or even Franco pops in my mind.
Barcelona was also then used more so, and thus PGP was dropped.
BEA Vanguards and British Eagle Britannia's flew lots of passengers from London Airport on the BCN route, then Gerona was added once it had opened.
Gerona was not yet open until later in the 60's
You pretty much have it. Gerona was only built once tourism started to get going there, at the Spanish beaches nearest to the border. Barcelona was a way beyond, the airport is the wrong side of the city, and there were no motorways. Also in Spain Iberia had the ground handling monopoly for a long time (applied to Gerona too), so was more expensive to use compared to Perpignan. Some even cheaper holidays flew from Southend to Ostend, thence coach down to Spain - there was a considerable coach supply business in Ostend.

I think the very first jet holiday charter was for Harry Chandler's Travel Club from Upminster, on a BUA One-Eleven from Gatwick to Corsica. April 1965 or thereabouts, on a brand-new aircraft. The One-Eleven deliveries had been delayed (inevitably), so likely the first departures of the jet season in the brochure had to be done on Viscounts.
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Old 1st Aug 2022, 07:22
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
You pretty much have it. Gerona was only built once tourism started to get going there, at the Spanish beaches nearest to the border. Barcelona was a way beyond, the airport is the wrong side of the city, and there were no motorways. Also in Spain Iberia had the ground handling monopoly for a long time (applied to Gerona too), so was more expensive to use compared to Perpignan. Some even cheaper holidays flew from Southend to Ostend, thence coach down to Spain - there was a considerable coach supply business in Ostend.
I think the very first jet holiday charter was for Harry Chandler's Travel Club from Upminster, on a BUA One-Eleven from Gatwick to Corsica. April 1965 or thereabouts, on a brand-new aircraft. The One-Eleven deliveries had been delayed (inevitably), so likely the first departures of the jet season in the brochure had to be done on Viscounts.
Hi there - Yes Harry Chandler's Travel Club Upminster that flew the FIRST jet charters for package holidays, but he used Air France Caravelles from London Airport to Corsica.
The aircraft had weekend downtime so he approached AF and he got the contract. 1962 rings a bell>?
I think he also used them for PGP (for Costa Brava, and for Nice for the French Riviera)
Peter Bath (Palmair) was the first to use BUA's new 1-11's in 1965 from Bournemouth to Palma.

Re - Air Ferry and Lyons Tours of Colne - sadly Lyons Tours suffered another air crash in 1963 - again in the Pyrenees on APP to PGP.
40 killed - the flight was from LGW on a Viking of Airnautic.
The Viking crashed into the north face of the Pic de la Roquette in the Pyrenees.
1963 crash

In 1961 G-AMSW DC-3 of Derby Airways (BMA) flying from LGW to PGP also crashed into Mont Canigou, 34 killed.
The aircraft was coming from Gatwick, and after reporting over Toulouse at about 0030 hours GMT it headed directly for Perpignan, France, at flight level 075. It was expected over the aerodrome at about 0112, and it was seen shortly before 0100 by various witnesses in the Prades area, during intermittent rain and winds of variable force. It struck the mountain side in level flight in the Canigou Massif at about 0100 hours. The wreckage, located at an elevation of 2200m at 1350 hours on the same day by a Search and Rescue Constellation, was destroyed by the impact and by fire. There were no survivors. Three crew and 31 passengers were aboard the flight.
Probable cause: The accident was attributed to a navigational error, the origin of which it was not possible to determine for lack of sufficient evidence.

It was no holiday - Lyons Tours obituary of the founder


An old advert - but Heathrow is mentioned.....




Last edited by rog747; 1st Aug 2022 at 07:43.
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Old 3rd Aug 2022, 09:55
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Great news - I found Ann's cousins in Melbourne and they will all be getting back in touch soon.(after 55 years since the crash)
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Old 3rd Aug 2022, 10:14
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Originally Posted by rog747 View Post
Great news - I found Ann's cousins in Melbourne and they will all be getting back in touch soon.(after 55 years since the crash)
Bless you rog747 I had lost this thread and never saw the various messages, really appreciate you going above and beyond to help connect some long separated souls.
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Old 3rd Aug 2022, 11:38
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Originally Posted by ozsmac View Post
Bless you rog747 I had lost this thread and never saw the various messages, really appreciate you going above and beyond to help connect some long separated souls.
So happy for you all, and wish your Mum Linda and Cousin Ann a very happy reunion one day....The power of the Internet Forums like this one, and Facebook - You don't have to be Agatha Christie's Poirot LOL

As mentioned do feel free to contact me if you want to know more about Air Ferry, and the crash site Etc.

No memorial AFAIK was ever done for Air Ferry crash (except the mass grave at Brookwood Cemetery near Woking)
There maybe a marker at the site.
I wrote in 2017 to the Marie (local Mayor) of the French village of Py (near the crash site at Mt. Canigou) and she of course knew of the crash, but they had no plans for a 50th memorial event unless any relatives wanted it and then she would gladly oblige and offer all assistance.

Best R.
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