A Fleeting Peace

Golden-Age Aviation in the British Empire

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Amazingly, there are two different Alexander George Vlastoes

(now what are the chances of that). Take your pick:

born in Calcutta

photo: 1917, when a 2nd Lieutenant in the RFA, aged 20

- or -

a Merchant from Henley-on-Thames, born in Bombay

photo: 1930, aged 26

Mr George Vlasto

King's Cup in 1930

veronica innes 1940

Veronica Innes (Volkersz)

b. 20 Apr 1917 in Cambridge, educated 'privately'. Father Major G.V. Innes.

Veronica joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) as a 2nd Officer in March 1941, having spent the previous 15 months as a driver for the London Ambulance Service.

She then carried right on through to the wind-up of the ATA in November 1945, finishing as a Flight Captain; in the meantime, she had married Flt. Lt. Volkersz of the Netherlands Navy, and taken out Dutch nationality.

She had a few mishaps on the way - she 'mishandled the controls' of a Hurricane and it nosed over after landing; struck the side of a low-loader in a Spitfire (reprimanded for taxying without due care), and also struck a pile of chocks when taxying an Argus. She also had one forced landing after engine failure in an Anson, but even the ATA couldn't blame her for that.

She was considered a 'careful, steady' pilot: "An extremely reliable and intelligent pilot whose influence in the pool is good [that's the ferry pool, presumably]. Has progressed well."

She was, however, reckoned to be 'too diffident in manner to really possess any great qualities of leadership. It is her sense of responsibility and interest in the job that makes her a useful Flight Captain".

Post-war, she wrote "The Sky and I" (W.H.Allen 1956).

d. Dec 2000

One of the ATA Women

 

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Fourteen extraordinary teams - including a lion - that made the world smaller, in Aviation’s Golden Age between the Wars.

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The Pilots of Imperial Airways

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Imperial Airways came about in 1924, and they ploughed their stately (but, generally, fairly safe) furrow until the outbreak of WWII. Their pilots were amongst the best in the world.

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O! dem Golden Age Spitfire Women

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Admittedly, there has been A Awful Lot of Stuff published recently about the 'forgotten' women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary, and I suppose the world may not be agog for yet more about them.

However, with new information gleaned from the ATA and Royal Aero Club files, I have put together a database and gallery featuring these splendid ladies (especially the ones who flew before WWII) - much of it Never Seen Before In Public!

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Cobham's Flying Circus

Sir Alan Cobham reckoned that three-quarters of the boys who wanted to get into the RAF in 1938 and 1939 said they did so because they paid five or ten shillings for a flight with his 'Flying Circus'.

Organising hundreds of compex displays all over the country for four years must have been a logistical nightmare, and it was not without its distressing accidents, but - at least to some extent - the nation became 'air-minded'...

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Owen Cathcart-Jones revisited

It's difficult to know what to make of Owen Cathcart-Jones, really; he was certainly handsome, adventurous, undoubtedly talented, clearly an excellent aviator - but, I'm afraid, rather prone to go 'AWOL' - both in his personal and service life!

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