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First Royal Flight

Old 18th Jun 2016, 10:51
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First Royal Flight

Whilst going through some of my late father's papers I came across a file pertaining to what he always told me was the first Royal Flight made by anyone other than the Queen's Flight. It was to carry the Queen from Stockholm to London after a state visit to Sweden. It took place nearly 60 years ago to the day on Viscount V701 G-ANHC RMA Sir Leopold McLintock. The aircraft had been used a couple of months previously to ferry Kruschev and Bulganin around the UK. Sadly it was written off two years later in a mid-air with an Italian Sabre near Anzio with no survivors.




Father was the F/O and the picture he received of HMQ and family still hangs in the hall of the family house, there are very young Prince Charles and Princess Anne standing on a wall in a royal garden somewhere with their parents in the middle. What happened to Prince Phillip on this flight isn't related! Suffice it to say I have also the met briefing, flight plan, fuel log etc.etc. pertaining to the flight, even a brief as to where Danish and British warships were to be stationed for the flight. There is also a plotting chart.

Looking at the pax list, eat you heart out Robbie Coltrain, there was an Inspector Cracker many years before your portrayal! Interesting to see that the back-up aircraft was sent to Stockholm on a charter for Edmundo Ross and orchestra, another blast from the past.

The Captains on both Aircraft were all well known BEA management characters until the mid 70s when age caught up with them. It always amazed me how brave the Queen was choosing to be flown by pilots who only emerged a couple of days a month from their offices to retain their currency (not that I imagine she had a clue!). By contrast Father hid away for most of his career in Jersey although after they closed the base from under him he ended up as a line checker on the TriStar before retirement.

Finally here is a photo of the crew, anyone know what became of the rest of them? The man in the middke was the R/O. I love the way all the males have their leather gloves in hand.

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Old 18th Jun 2016, 11:20
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Great thread. Many thanks.
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 11:24
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Not to detract, but I was under the impression that the first airline to carry HMQ (or any other British monarch) was East African Airways, when they took her to Entebbe to link up with a BOAC Argonaut following the death of George VI? Or, does it mean after the Coronation?
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 11:40
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Originally Posted by gruntie
Or, does it mean after the Coronation?
Australia, 1954:

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Old 18th Jun 2016, 11:48
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And (the first one after the Coronation, I think) Bermuda , November 1953:

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Old 18th Jun 2016, 11:55
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Originally Posted by gruntie
Not to detract, but I was under the impression that the first airline to carry HMQ (or any other British monarch) was East African Airways, when they took her to Entebbe to link up with a BOAC Argonaut following the death of George VI? Or, does it mean after the Coronation?

My understanding too. Of course neither of those flights were scheduled services. The flight referred to by the OP has a BEA Flt No. so could this be the first time the Queen travelled on a "scheduled service"?

The date of the flight is given as June 56. I feel sure the Queen was on airliners several times between Feb 52 and June 56. In fact she was back in Uganda in 1954 (I think) and flew with EAAC again: this time on DC3 VP-KJU "Sagana II".
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 12:27
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Originally Posted by Planemike
The flight referred to by the OP has a BEA Flt No. so could this be the first time the Queen travelled on a "scheduled service"?
No, the flight number (BE712) is the same for the outbound and return legs, a clear indication that it's not a scheduled service.

At that time, BEA's Heathrow/Bromma services had BE2xx flight numbers, in fact there's a reference on the last page to one of the cabin crew having to position back to Heathrow on the scheduled BE211.
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 14:24
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I think the remark was made in the context of being the first Royal Flight where the Queens Flight could have done the job. Didn't they have Vikings at the time that could have taken her, albeit in a lot less comfort? Certainly the flights prior to the coronation didn't count as she wasn't crowned then.

Excerpt from wiki:

As The Queen's Flight from 1952, the unit operated a variety of aircraft for the transportation and pilot training of members of the Royal family, including Vickers Viking, Avro York, de Havilland Heron and Devon.

No long haul aircraft (I can't believe they would have taken her in the York!) so they had to rely on the airlines.
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 16:12
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I was surprised to see the weights of the dinghy, radio set and Decca set quoted in at a time when most things were in pounds
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 16:29
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Originally Posted by Flightwatch
I think the remark was made in the context of being the first Royal Flight where the Queens Flight could have done the job. Didn't they have Vikings at the time that could have taken her, albeit in a lot less comfort?
Yes, the Vikings were still in service at that point, but I suspect it was considered more prudent to send HM over 900 miles of North Sea sitting between 4 Darts instead of a pair of Bristol Hercules.
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Old 18th Jun 2016, 17:31
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Surgeon Captain Steele-Perkins went on to be a surgeon vice-admiral, and his son in law's father was Lt Cdr "Sam" Beattie, VC winner as Captain of HMS Campbeltown, in OP CHARIOT at St Nazaire. "Not many people know that"!
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Old 19th Jun 2016, 08:55
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Fascinating Operation Order, but I'd be a little surprised if the then Captain of The Queen's Flight did not give 'guidance' on the selection of Flight Crew.
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Old 19th Jun 2016, 11:29
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It always amazed me how brave the Queen was choosing to be flown by pilots who only emerged a couple of days a month from their offices to retain their currency
But they're far superior pilots to the mere line bods. Stands to reason, they're management! They must be or they wouldn't be managers.
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Old 20th Jun 2016, 12:06
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FW - you might be interested - I managed to copy and email the Op Order to the daughter of Surg-Capt Steele-Perkins. She had never seen it before, indeed she was unaware that her Father had been involved. I had a charming e-mail of thanks - so together we brightened someone's day. Many thanks
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Old 20th Jun 2016, 16:46
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On a TV prog on Sunday it showed the Queen arriving in Ulster on her first visit to Ireland as Queen and she is getting off a Viking then at an RAF Station .
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Old 20th Jun 2016, 19:23
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What happened to Prince Phillip on this flight isn't related!
There was a policy early in the Queen's reign that she and Price Phillip did not fly in the same aircraft.
I believe this was because of Charles being a minor and the question of regency. How long this policy lasted I do not know and from the pictures above does not appeared to be strictly followed.
Also could Prince Phillip have already have started his round the world voyage in Britannia by this date?
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Old 20th Jun 2016, 20:04
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Having googled the visit it seems that the royal couple arrived in Stockholm on Britannia so presumably P.P. went home on her.

FW - you might be interested - I managed to copy and email the Op Order to the daughter of Surg-Capt Steele-Perkins. She had never seen it before, indeed she was unaware that her Father had been involved. I had a charming e-mail of thanks - so together we brightened someone's day. Many thanks
Glad to pass the info on, any other families reading this?
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Old 21st Jun 2016, 11:41
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On 30th June 1953 the Queen Mum and Princess Margaret travelled out to S. Rhodesia to open the Rhodes Centenary Exhibition at Bulawayo. They travelled by BOAC Comet G-ALYW to Salisbury and then by Royal Train down south to Bulawayo, stopping at Gwelo the nearest town to 5 FTS, RAF Thornhill where the two of them inspected a Guard of Honour provided by the RAF.









Rather grainy photo from a contemporary press cutting.



..and a grainy photo of Margaret seen through the Comet's window.


Later in August 1957 whilst stationed at RAF Negombo (Katunayake) in Sri Lanka I was present when the Duke and Duchess Of Gloucester passed through on their way to the Malaya Independence Celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.


At RAF Negombo the Royal Flight was welcomed by a crowd of "meeters and greeters" with a show of flags and bunting as seen below.









Young man with his back to the camera is Prince William of Gloucester.
Prince William lost his life in August 1972, whilst competing in the Goodyear International Air Trophy at Halfpenny Green, near Wolverhampton.

As a PS I photographed HM the Queen Mum making her first flight in a helicopter when she visited Biggin Hill in April 1955 -
see here: http://www.pprune.org/military-aviat...ml#post4665557


WT

Last edited by Warmtoast; 25th Jun 2016 at 11:10. Reason: Correct incorrect date
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Old 1st Jul 2016, 13:57
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Enjoyable thread indeed. On the subject of Royal Flights, in late 1966 the RAAF sent two crews from 34 Squadron (Canberra ACT) to undergo conversions to the HS 748 (RAAF version) and ferry two of these aircraft back to Australia for the VIP squadron.

Because the aircraft were not yet ready we were temporarily attached to the Queen's Flight at RAF Benson in the hope of getting a couple of observation flights prior to our own endorsement in the weeks to come.

We were amazed to see that once in the morning and once in the afternoon, all staff in the main hangar housing the various VIP aircraft would leave their offices and places of work and proceed to each aircraft and polish their allotted part of each type for I think about ten minutes. Then go back to work again.

These aircraft gleamed under the efforts of the polishing staff, giving each person a sense of personal pride of their unit. A nice touch in more ways than one, I thought.
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Old 11th Jul 2016, 08:34
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There was a Royal Flight to OZ and NZ in 1977. It was run by Qantas in a specially refurbished 707 including separate royal private sleeping quarters. Management pilots were used with specially chosen FO's. Mostly ex service.
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