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Handley Page Hermes IV

Old 1st Mar 2009, 20:53
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Airwork

Geoff, my father was Charles Stenner, he joined Airwork in 1947(or near)he was Chief Pilot and Training Captain for most of his time with Airwork.
Vic Clifford(an Aussie) and Gerry Wilkinson were Captains, also a man called Woolf.
There was a Captain Winslow who put a Hermes down somewhere. A few other names from his log book, Captain Lovelock, R/O Wright(a Maltese gent)Watty Tyler who was an engineer, Dutch Holland an F/O.
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Old 10th Apr 2009, 10:28
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Airwork Hermes

Hallo Mr Stenner. I happened on this forum while looking into Airwork Hermes. My father also flew for Airwork, as a first officer, from 1953 to 1956. He flew with your father at least couple of times that I can see from his log book - as a pilot from Blackbushe to Fayid via Malta and back June 24-June 26 1954 and as a passenger from Allahabad to Singapore Aug 31-Sep 1 1954.

Other captains who show up often are Muggeridge, Zeiher, Winsland, and even one called Hermes.

After Airwork my father flew for Kuwait Airways from 1956 to retirement in 1974, flying a Hermes at one point, and also DC-3s, Viscount, Comet, Trident (briefly) and finally Boeing 707 from 1968 on (see some of my pics in the Beirut 1960s photo gallery - we lived in Lebanon - on my site nawaller dot com). Prior to Airwork he had been in the RAF, mainly as a flying instructor in Canada and then in the last few months of the war as captain on Liberators for Coastal Command squadron 547.

He was born in Street in Somerset, lived in retirement in Cheddar and Wedmore, and he died not next to Weston in the hospice at Uphill in 2004.
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Old 17th Apr 2009, 19:28
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Airwork.

Thanks for your reply. When father left Airwork he flew Brits for Ghana, Caledonian and Donaldsons. He retired in 1972 to Keinton Mandeville, nr Somerton, Somerset.(He died in 2006). Roy Hermes went to Caledonian on the Brits and later 707's.
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Old 17th Apr 2009, 20:27
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Airwork + Hermes.

Thought this may be of interest, Scanned from a very good book, in my opinion, 'Britains Airlines' volume two : 1951 - 1964 by Guy Halford - Macleod.



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Old 18th Apr 2009, 12:07
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Trooping.

My father was the Captain on that flight. departed Blackbushe at 1950, arrived Hal Far 0215, departed Hal Far 0420, arrived Fayid 0925. The F/O was Wigley undergoiong a route check. On the flight back Norman Head was the F/O. On 02/07/52 he did the same trip Route Training for Captain Lovelock, the same pilot who put the Hermes down in France.

I am 99% certain that the lad standing between the two Air Hostesses is 11 year old me, with my Cub Scouts hat on. I remember having my photo taken with some soldiers, but I thought it was a different date, later than June 52.

Last edited by Stenner153; 19th Apr 2009 at 18:45.
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Old 19th Apr 2009, 13:13
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Airwork.

Hello Narmitaj. A few names you may recognize in your fathers log book, F/O Waller, Phillips, Bland, Riley, Knowles, Mitchell, McCash, Mussett, Goodman, Head, Clifford, Bunn, Winslow, Gerry Wilkinson. Do you recall Ted Shrimpton who used to drive the Crew Bus.
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Old 1st May 2009, 07:20
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Missing Hermes 1959

My Uncle told me of the time he was in the RAF here in Cyprus in the late 1950s. He was posted here as an armorer in 1958. In July(?) 1959 he flew in an Air sea rescue Hastings from Nicosia to Diyarbakir to join in the search for a missing Hermes operated by Airwork which went down in the region of Mt Ararat. The Turkish authorities had failed to locate the aeroplane so the Hastings was sent to look for it. After 3 days searching the aircraft was located. Food and supplies were dropped in case there were any survivours. Once the aircraft had been pinpointed my Uncle along with others proceeded on foot to the crash site. When they reached the site the bodies of the 3 crew were nowhere to be found. Also the cargo of the aircraft had disappeared! It was thought that the aircraft was enroute from the UK to Woomera in Oz with an A bomb on board! It is believed the Russians had created false DME signals to lure the aircraft into Soviet Armenia. The search team returned to Cyprus in a Lancaster which was based in Malta. My uncle also heard of a US B47 which also disappeared in this area. Does anyone know any more details?
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Old 1st May 2009, 07:59
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This surely refers to the Air Charter Tudor crash in April 1959.
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Old 1st May 2009, 09:46
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Thanks for that. My Uncle was a bit vague! Onto the Tudor site then! The mountain that the aircraft hit was Mt Suphandag north of Lake Van.
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Old 1st May 2009, 09:58
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There's a long and fascinating account of the mission to the crashed Tudor in Turkey, written by the RAF Mountain Resce team, here :

RAFMRS - RAFMRA Two Star Red Chapter 5

it may have had supplies for the atomic programme but I doubt it actually had a bomb on board.
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Old 1st May 2009, 15:03
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Final UK live airtest was Yellow Sun I H-device, Malden I, S.Pacific, 11/9/58. Oz then signed up to no atmospheric testing. Later UK tests were under the Nevada desert.
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Old 5th May 2009, 10:57
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Which Airwork Hermes?

I have recently joined this Forum and seeing some of the Handley Page Hermes postings reminded me of the time I flew in an Airwork Hermes but I am still trying to find out which one.
When I was stationed at RAF Nicosia over 50 years ago with the Suez crisis then building up many extra troops flew out to Cyprus in August 1956, but the aeroplanes returned empty to the UK. On 28 August 1956 I and another airman were due for some leave in the UK so we hitched a lift in an Airwork Hermes by smartly saluting the Captain and showing him our RAF Air Movement Authority forms. The overnight flight, which took 10 hours from RAF Nicosia (Cyprus) via RAF Luqa (Malta) to Blackbushe was one of the best I have ever had, the Handley Page Hermes being such a very comfortable aeroplane to fly in plus a full crew to look after just the two of us. Oh, happy days! Unfortunately with the comfort of the flight I forgot to note the aeroplaneís registration, but it would have been one of two Airwork Hermes IVís:
G-AKFP (XD632)
G-ALDC (WZ840)
After all these years I would like to know which Airwork Hermes I flew in departing from RAF Nicosia at 1800hrs on 28 August 1956 for the flight via RAF Luqa (Malta), where I think we changed crews, to Blackbushe. The Blackbushe Tower Logs have long since disappeared so does anyone have any Airwork crew log books which could identify which of these two Airwork Hermes I flew in and also the names of any of the crew I flew with.
Many thanks in advance for any information you can give me.
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Old 7th May 2009, 11:20
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Mr Stenner - " F/O Waller" -

Yes, Tom Waller was my father, so I remember him. I didn't meet anyone else from those days as I wasn't born until a couple of years after he left and joined Kuwait Airways in 1956.

My parents lived in Frimley in those days, not far from Blackbushe.
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Old 7th May 2009, 12:29
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Despite its shortcomings the Hermes was an interesting aircraft. It was the first truly modern post war British airliner and when introduced on BOACs monopoly West African routes in 1950 replacing the noisy, low flying, unpressurised, barely soundproofed York it brought standards of comfort better than the Constellation and certainly quieter than the much longer lived Argonaut.Initially fitted out as an all First Class 40 seater (there was no Tourist Class in 1950)and later also as an all tourist 56 seater its cabin capacity was identical to the Argonaut as were broadly its sector times and schedules. It's range was 3,080 miles against the Argonauts 3,340 but that made made little practical difference on the African routes due to the stage lengths involved. The reliability of the Hercules was worse than the Merlin, but thanks to the wartime experience , mainly with the RAF , of BOACs ground engineers both were kept going as well s any piston engines on demanding long haul routes. The money saving use of the Halifax bomber wing gave problems with wing spar life as Handley Page had not envisaged this as usually being the limiting factor in longevity.
BOAC was never enthusiastic about the aircraft, partly because the arrival in 1948 of the Argonaut which worked straight from the box gave them a much easier solution to their fleet requirements. Had the Argonaut purchase been blocked on foreign exchange grounds a lot more efforst would probably have been put into making the Hermes work and the story could have been different.
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Old 7th May 2009, 19:46
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Airwork Hermes Air Hostess

My Mother Ued To Fly With Your Father Capt Stenner.she Was A No 1 Air Hostess On Airwork Hermes,vikings And Later Viscounts For Bua.her Name Was Barbara Hey Then .mum Is Now 83 Yrs Of Age And Loves Chatting About Her Flying Days And Still Goes To The Bcal Reunions.she Was The No1 On The Hermes That Shot Off The Runway At Pay Lebar Airfield,singapore On The 29th Oct 1957 The Airwork Hermes Was G-aldo And I Have A Good Picture Of It No Down In The Ditch.it Was Repaired And Flown Back To Blackbushe And Burnt On The Firedump. Capt Winslow Was The Skipper At The Time.all The Best Geoff Milner
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Old 7th May 2009, 21:22
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Originally Posted by Skylion View Post
Had the Argonaut purchase been blocked on foreign exchange grounds
The whole Argonaut programme was done for foreign exchange reasons anyway. Canada was happy to be paid in Sterling, and the Canadian content of the BOAC fleet (airframe) was balanced by the UK content of the Trans-Canada/Canadian Pacific/RCAF Argonauts (engines and many ancillaries). Douglas got some benefit as well by selling Canadair the DC-4 airframe tooling when production of this was ending in favour of the DC-6.
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Old 8th May 2009, 10:04
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On 15/12/1944 UK new Ministry of Civil Aviation ordered 79 Avro 689 Tudor II for the Kangaroo Route - (to be) BOAC, Qantas, S.African A/W - with the intent for a Mark II with Theseus. No Canucks as Canadian Vickers (since 1927 wholly independent of UK Vickers) took a licence to enhance DC-4 with (to be DC-6-derived) pressurisation and Merlin; Co. nationalised 11/11/44; 10% ownership/from 19/9/46 agreement, on 25/1/47 purchase of a controlling stake by (US) Electric Boat Co. C-4M first flight 15/7/46, orders assigned by Can.Govt. for RCAF and TCA; private CPAL chose to join in, despite surplus C-54s. On the same day as C-4M f/f, US passed the (US/UK) Financial & Trade Agreement (Reconstruction Loan) - the one UK extinguished in May,2006. Canada supplemented that with C$0.6Bn.

RR was giving its mind to turbines, not to inserting longevity in Merlin: Hives' attention was secured by threat of DC-6's R-2800 (flew in XC-112A, 15/2/46; later fitted to one C-5), and he chose to retain (to be) 70 ship-sets of business by committing to cost guarantees that (Pugh/Magic of a Name: ) later bit him on the leg. It had been so much easier just to ship 32,377 from Derby, 26,065/Crewe, 23,647/Glasgow. On 11/4/47 he lost all BOAC business on any Tudor (Oz and SA long since gone). On 14/4/47 TCA put C-4M Transatlantic; on 19/3/47 BOAC was obliged to "order" 25 HP.81 Hermes 4 to keep HP going until the Medium Bomber was resolved (design ITP 19/11/47, to be Victor 1).

RAF, in dismay, had to return its 22 C-54D in March,1946, lumbered with Yorks, then Hastings. EveryBrit knew that piston bomber-variants had no hope v.C-54/C-69. BOAC by strategem and guile acquired some £-L-049 and B.377; on 21/7/48 some of the C$ Reconstruction Loan was applied to an order, early, painlessly filled, for 22 C-4, to be flown joyously, 1949 to 1960! Hermes was with BOAC, painfully, 1950-52 (again briefly, post-Comet 1, in 1954), its routes taken up by C-4M.

So: Q: why did newcomer Canadair/Electric Boat succeed where 1909-origin HP and Avro failed? A: tried harder. HP's cable address was Bomber, London.
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Old 8th May 2009, 12:52
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Airwork.

Thanks for the reply. I can remember a few of the Hosties from 1948-57/58ish, I'm certain to have met your mother, Father was with Caledonian from 1963- 1970 flying Britannias, was your mother with them at that time. Regards. Lester.
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 01:34
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G-ALDB crash

G-ALDB with Airwork was piloted by my dad Colin Lovelock carrying troops to the Suez in 1952 when an outer prop broke up also smashing the inner engine. He brought it down at night in a field at Pithiviers in France and everyone got out with only a few minor injuries before the aircraft was destroyed by fire.
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Old 30th Jan 2016, 09:40
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Great to have an old and interesting thread opened up again Jlovelo.
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