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Flying Boats to East Africa

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Flying Boats to East Africa

Old 3rd Mar 2013, 08:59
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Was the 633 squadron music written especially for that film, or from somewhere else?
The theme music was written by the British composer Ron Goodwin, specifically for the film.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 11:35
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Bit more on the Pan Am flight

(The Round The World Saga of the)
and (Clippers At War @ flyingclippers.com)
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Old 18th Apr 2013, 08:11
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Just in case anyone missed it, see the link in this new post
http://www.pprune.org/aviation-histo...ml#post7794081

A must read for those who have watched "The Last African Flying Boat" - post #45.

I hadn't realized that the Catalina in this documentary is ZK-PBY, now in New Plymouth. I had a look around her in November and watched an anti-det run of the engines from the cockpit. She's in a sad state at the moment, with one wing off, but the plan is to fix some minor corrosion on the trailing edge (minor from an airframe point-of-view, but major from a labour point-of-view) and replace the fabric.

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Old 8th Jun 2013, 21:56
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AHIV somewhere in Africa

My father was a flight engineer on the proving service to South Africa.
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 16:14
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April 1951, in a Catalina

P G Taylor's 1951 South Pacific Flight

Aircraft damaged after colliding with a fruit boat on the Brisbane River (Captain P.G. Taylor) - June 19, 1951


Solent Flying Boat at Oakland Aviation Museum


Presumably that evening's dinner menu featured plates piled high with copious quantities of fresh fruit salad - all pieces nicely sliced and diced by virtue of having passed through a propeller's arc.

As Taylor himself designed the uniforms one wonders if subsequent embellished included the addition of 'fruity insignia' to commemorate the Brisbane River engagement.
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Old 9th Jun 2013, 16:40
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The uniforms for Taylor and crew look like they came out of R(A)AF store, with changed brevets and rank boards, but I may, of course, be wrong! Nevertheless, the flight was an amazing achievement.

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Old 31st Jul 2013, 15:04
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Empire Flying Boat Rochester

FAO WHBM/Savoia/et al.[I have long wondered, on the occasions that I drive across the M2 viaduct and look eastwards down onto the site of the Shorts flying boat works, where did they take off on the river. Obviously the motorway viaduct was not therein those days, but the river has constant curvature. Did the 'boats take off in a curving path ? Did they typically go westbound, into wind, and then land back just skimming Rochester Bridge ?]


Don't know the exact take-off path but heres an evocative shot of one from the ridge above the Short Bros factory
Nannies + Charges Watching Flying Boat 1937 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
and larger
All sizes | Nannies + Charges Watching Flying Boat 1937 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Last edited by A30yoyo; 31st Jul 2013 at 15:15.
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 20:47
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Yoyo: Sadly I cannot respond with any certitude on this matter, the best I can do is to hazard a guess and which is ..



.. that they probably used the areas denoted by the white rectangles in the aerial view above.

As you say, the M2 bridge was nowhere to be seen and so the westerly of the two suggested take-off areas may have been the preferable location (in fact right in front of the factory). The more easterly option could also have been used most especially (and probably) at high tide.

If anyone can confirm the above that would be grand!
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 21:23
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My guess is this was the 'Hinds' first takeoff right in front of the Shorts factory

S.26 by Mr.YuriGagarin, on Flickr

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Old 31st Jul 2013, 21:47
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An account in one book describes a first flight, when they were on easterlies, which started in front of the factory, lifted off, and passed low over the town bridges. But it seems a bit of a winding course.
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 21:51
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The Kent History forum has a few images of the stretch of water near the Shorts factory Golden Hind Moored Rochester in 1951

And more on
Short Brothers of Rochester

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Old 31st Jul 2013, 22:12
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Ciao Yoyo!

Your photo (showing All Saints Church Frindsbury) is to the east of Rochester Bridge. My two 'runways' are to the west.


Shorts S23 Empire Flying Boat G-ADHL 'Canopus' gathers speed on the River Medway for take off on its first official flight on 4th July 1936


'Canopus' taking off from Rochester

The above photos of G-ADHL places the take-off run at the end of my easterly runway meaning they used part of the river curve before joining up with the westerly 'runway' portrayed in my aerial view.
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 23:47
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My apologies Savoia/WHBM....I've got all my bearings wrong for that area and I've got to have a rethink, (have edited out previous posts)
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 11:20
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Yoyo: I can't say for sure that no flying ops took place to the east of the bridge but .. a couple of concerns I would have are; firstly, the bridge itself which, in my view, would have represented a 'snug' fit for the S23 .. tail clearance (especially at high tide) would (I imagine) have been a real concern.

Secondly, river traffic to the east of the bridge during the time of Shorts' stay in Rochester (1915-1948) would have been considerably busier than that on the western portions of the river due in no small measure to the bridge itself which served as a demarcation point for commercial activity with no ships being able to pass beneath it. Most of the materials for the 'Shorts Seaplane Works' were 'tugged' in lighters.

Of course .. some 10-15 miles to the east of the bridge is the Isle of Sheppey where the brothers Eustace, Oswald and Horace Short built their first aircraft factory!


Rochester Bridge .. depicting the somewhat limited clearance available for the Empire Boats to pass beneath

In your original post you mentioned the B-39 submarine. My UK sources inform me that she is still moored just east of the bridge and that within the past month she has been 'righted' having sported a keen list to starboard for some time.

The sub's owner has named the boat the 'Black Widow' (part of some sort of PR campaign I suppose) and at one point she used to be open to the public. Some details here and here.


The B-39, a 'Foxtrot Class' Russian submarine moored to the east of Rochester Bridge not far from the site of the Shorts Seaplane Works
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 14:25
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Savoia....Reposting the Submarine shot....having to revise my understanding and memories of that area .


SUBMARINE ROCHESTER KENT by A30yoyo, on Flickr

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Old 1st Aug 2013, 15:06
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First I have heard of the sub - just how did someone (private individual presumably) in UK acquire a used Russian submarine?
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 15:42
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.. having to revise my understanding and memories of that area.
Can this assist?





- just how did someone (private individual presumably) in UK acquire a used Russian submarine?
Friends in low places!
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 16:28
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That will be why the original Borstal was south of the River and just west of the motorway bridge, near what I recall as Medway Bridge Marina
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Old 3rd Aug 2013, 15:14
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Medway Update

My Kentish informer advises me that at this time a film unit is in Rochester utilising the B-39 for the making of a movie to be called Black Sea.

So for those in the UK, if you want to meet-up with Jude Law, then pop down to Rochester over the next couple of days and say hi!
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Old 5th Aug 2013, 16:42
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Savoia....The 1948 photo of the Golden Hind in the Kent History forum above is opposite the Castle (i.e. on the West of the A2 bridge)....I can't reliably remember from which side of the A2 bridge I saw a flying-boat in 1951 (I was only 6!) but the Hind was towed down river towards Sheppey in 1954 so it somehow must have passed under the bridge (or over it by flying at some time?)
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