Aviation History and Nostalgia Whether working in aviation, retired, wannabee or just plain fascinated this forum welcomes all with a love of flight.

Sunderland Flying Boat

Old 17th Jun 2008, 03:08
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 107
Sunderland Flying Boat

I'm looking for some interior photos of a Sunderland, to go with a little family history thing I'm writing (my mother flew from Lagos Nigeria, via the Belgian Congo, Uganda and the Sudan, to Cairo in one in 1941). Can anyone help? It would have been an RAF flying boat, but it would be nice to compare it with a civilian version (if there was any difference).

A colleague who was on the same trip wrote in her diary: "The seats were very comfortable, easily adjustable by hand levers at either side and cushioned with pneumatic pillows. Each seat had straps and rugs, and an adjustable table with a foot rest beneath it. The positions obtainable merely by pulling or pushing the hand levers ranged from upright, for reading and eating, to half-horizontal, which was ideal for sleeping. The aircraft was arranged on 3 levels. The tail section, where most of the luggage was stored, contained 2 rows of 3 seats, which were the only ones where smoking was allowed. 3 steps down was the main cabin, with the first exit door, and 8 more seats. down another step was a smaller cabin, with 2 bunks, wide enough for 2 people to lie on each, head to tail. then came a short passage, with the galley on 1 side and 2 lavatories on the other. Finally the forward cabin, and purser's office, which contained the second exit door, 3 or 4 more seats and an iron ladder, leading aloft to the flight deck. The ventilation throughout could be controlled by regulating small 'blowers' set at intervals along the cabin 'ceiling'. The general colour scheme was a pale green, and everything was beautifully clean and orderly"

Thanks, WW
whirlwind is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2008, 12:49
  #2 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 55
Posts: 6,025
Whirlwind that sounds a bit plush for a RAF Sunderland, sounds like it may have been an ex-Imperial/BOAC Short Empire or similar?
treadigraph is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2008, 14:13
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany
Age: 69
Posts: 879
Are you sure about it being a Short Sunderland? Imperial Airways and then (from 1939) BOAC operated a mail service from Poole to Lagos and Calcutta using Short C-Class “Empire” Flying Boats. These, according to my father who flew back to England from India in early 1939, were very luxurious.

In 1942 BOAC bought six Sunderland Mark III's which they modified as mail carriers. These were operated jointly with the RAF on the Poole - Lagos – Calcutta route. These aircraft had very primitive accommodation for seven passengers. I believe that there were no sleeping berths, only seats.

Later, I believe that it was in 1943, they BOAC operated a more sophisticated version of the Sunderland Mark II, the Short Hythe. This had better accommodation for up to 24 passengers, including 16 sleeping berths. BOAC operated 29 Short Hythe's.

For interior shots of the C-Class the following web pages are interesting:
http://www.seawings.co.uk/empwalkgal.htm
http://www.imperial-airways.com/Inte...de_saloon.html
http://www.imperial-airways.com/Inte...rd_saloon.html
http://www.seawings.co.uk/empiregal.htm General photographs of Empire boats

For Sunderland interior shots:
http://www.seawings.co.uk/SunderlandDUXFORD-WRgal.htm
http://www.seawings.co.uk/SunderlandHENDON-WRgal.htm

I do not know of any interior shots of the Sunderland Mark III conversions or of the Hythe's – but would be very interested to see some.
S'land is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2008, 21:48
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,528
Whilwind

For a bit of nostalgia about a trip in a Short C Class flying boat (the Caledonia) from Poole to Rangoon in 1940 see the thread here:

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthr...ht=flying+boat
Warmtoast is offline  
Old 17th Jun 2008, 23:32
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 152
Kermit Weeks has one at the 'Fantasy of Flight' between Orlando and Lakeland in Florida. It's a bit tatty but you can certainly get the idea of how it used to be, yes you are allowed inside. Take a holiday to Orlando and go visit, well worth the experience!

Bob.
On-MarkBob is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 00:37
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany
Age: 69
Posts: 879
If I remember correctly the model at Fantasy of Flight is a Short Sandringham. This was a conversion from a Sunderland to a civil flying boat. I do not think that the Sandringham was in service in 1941. I thought that they were all post-war conversions. There are also Sandringhams at the Solent Museum in Southampton and at Le Bourget.
S'land is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 00:48
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 1,833
Currently reading a superb book on the subject, 'Corsairville' a few pics in there, available through Amazon.
stilton is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 03:53
  #8 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 107
Astounding photos - thanks S'land.

I'm not sure that it was a Sunderland; I am going on what my Mum always said (she's no longer with us to ask) and I assumed it was an RAF boat, because she was a Flight Officer WAAF at the time.

There is no mention of the type in the 71-page account of the journey from Liverpool to Cairo (the first part was by ship to Lagos), but it's a fascinating story of how how some 28 WAAF pioneers joined Middle East Command. There is mention of the BOAC office in Lagos though, so I think PPRuNe has come up trumps again. The C Class photos look exactly right...

Cheers, WW
whirlwind is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 07:49
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Hobart, Australia
Age: 70
Posts: 4
I add my thanks for the great pics, for it is I (whirlwind's brother in Oz) who is beefing up the account of our mother's journey for family record purposes with a bit of historical bling! The aircraft looks to have been an Empire Short S23 Mk 1 and enthusiasts may be interested in the 1/10 scale flying model built in Queensland described at this site:

http://www.airwaveyachts.com.au/Aircraft/Index.html

The photo of the boat on Hinze dam looks disconcertingly real. And so do some of the antics that the builder has put the model thru.

Now, all I need to find out is the name of the actual flying boat my mother flew in...( dep Lagos 1/9/41 arr Cairo 5 days later, flown by a Capt Bellin)

andy
andycap is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 08:14
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: glasgow
Posts: 301
It's unfortunate that the scale of BOAC operations during the war is not appreciated and no really comprehensive history has been published.
renfrew is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 13:47
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Age: 65
Posts: 156
Here is a photo of the Upper deck of our Sandringham at Solentsky Museum in Southampton, UK. she was origninally built as a 1943 Sunderland III. I took it about 2 weeks ago, come along and you can explore her to imagine the era.



It sounds to me like the original post was describing a much more luxurious C-Class. They were in use throughout the war as passenger planes and were, of course kept as clear as possible from any hostilities.

Cheers
Trevor
Corsairoz is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 14:30
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: glasgow
Posts: 301
According to "Adventurous Empires" the luxury fittings were gradually partly replaced by austerity bench seats.
The main fleet was moved to S.Africa in 1940 and maintained the Horseshoe Route,Durban/Cairo/Singapore/Sydney,later terminating at Calcutta.
renfrew is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 17:41
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Southern Planes
Posts: 60
Short Sunderland (variant)

FYI, there is a Solent III living at Oakland Int'l Airport (KOAK/OAK), California in the care of the Oakland Aviation Museum. Has an interesting history including service with BOAC!

http://www.westernaerospacemuseum.or...nt/solent.html

Cheers,
thetexpat
thetexpat is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 19:54
  #14 (permalink)  
JetBlast member 2005.
JetBlast member 2006.
Banned 2007
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: The US of A - sort of
Posts: 323
Fabulous photos S'land. It's a bit like doing a jigsaw, you find a detailed bit and then have to look at the full picture to find where it fits.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! is offline  
Old 18th Jun 2008, 20:47
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany
Age: 69
Posts: 879
Thanks for the comment about the C-Class photographs Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!, but I cannot claim any credit for them as I only found them while searching for photographs of my favourite aircraft.

Whirlwind/Andycap: Is there any chance of us hearing any of your mother's story about her flight? I for one would be very interested.
S'land is offline  
Old 19th Jun 2008, 10:50
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Hobart, Australia
Age: 70
Posts: 4
S'land

Is there any chance of us hearing any of your mother's story about her flight?
Yes there is. Gimme a couple of weeks while I lick the account into shape. We would be happy to share the flight part (the "Horseshoe" route I think) with the PPRuNe provided it's OK with the author. This is actually not my mother but one of the WAAF girls she was posted with to the Middle East Command in Cairo; the story is an extract from her wartime diary. She would have to be close to 90 and I'm checking with her now...

andy
andycap is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 00:10
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,528
Although not strictly relevant. ISTR that in 1941 BOAC also operated a landplane service between Takoradi in West Africa and Cairo with Lockheed Lodestars. Reputedly they had 12 aircraft on strength based at Cairo.
Warmtoast is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 12:48
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: South Coast
Posts: 113
S'land,thank you for posting the link.Its my favourite aircraft of the 27 I flew,although I never saw one that pristine
I converted at Calshot,Nov. 1949 and spent 2500 hours on type. If anyone wants a few stories of what it was like to be a God!! I would be happy to oblige Its an era of experience sadly never to be repeated.
Old Hairy is offline  
Old 22nd Jun 2008, 13:05
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Germany
Age: 69
Posts: 879
OldHairy:

For me the C-Class Boats were special as I remember my father telling me about his one and only trip on one (From India to the UK) just before WWII. It has been a source of envy ever since that he flew on one and I never had the opportunity. I also find all of the variants of the these fine machines. Many years ago (about 25+) I had the opportunity to explore the Sunderland in the RAF museum at Hendon. The view from outside is incredible, but to be able to explore inside was fantastic.

I personally would love to hear what it was like flying them. The more information that I can gather on these superb aircraft the better.
S'land is offline  
Old 23rd Jun 2008, 08:20
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kent UK
Age: 66
Posts: 779
Old Hairy, count me in!
kevmusic is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.