in their flying machines, or so the song goes.
Last weekend, I was showing a postcard album to a visitor. Said album was put together by my father in the 1940s, I think, and features postcards of aircraft of the time. Somewhat predictably, bearing in mind the date, the majority of the subjects were war planes. I guess it was a good thing for the general public to be able to recognise what was flying above them during World War 2.
I remember this album from my childhood. It wasn't just birds that were flying around back then and capturing my interest. Aeroplanes were a massive part of the fabric of my life as a kid. The house where we lived was on the southern flight path into Newcastle Airport, so there was a steady stream of civilian air traffic overhead. Due to the proximity of the Pennine Hills and the many air bases located along the A1 road, there were also countless military aircraft about: small propeller-driven trainers (Bulldog), small jet-propelled trainers (Provost), as well as many fighters and bombers of the RAF and other forces (Hunter, Buccaneer, Phantom, Vulcan, Lightning, F111). For a rural setting, it wasn't quiet. In fact, the loudest noise I've ever heard, was a pair of Lockheed Starfighters directly over the house at low altitude. I guess I should be grateful that they made it over the house, their safety record wasn't great.
So, there we were at the weekend, browsing images of aircraft manufactured by the likes of Sopwith, Armstrong Whitworth, Blackburn, Bristol, Fairey, Vickers, Miles, Saunders Roe and Handley Page, to name a few. A bygone era, indeed.
There was one postcard that I didn't remember...
and on the back was this...
which left me rather perplexed, as I couldn't recall the flight ever being mentioned.
Fortunately, with the card was a letter, written much later (post 1993), which explained the circumstances. And I had forgotten about it, too.
So, my Dad was about nine years old when the flight occurred. But who knows when he put his name on the card! A bit of a scamp, me Dad, though to look at him, you wouldn't suspect it. And it took him 60 years to 'fess up!