British Hospitals Air Pageant  / Sky Devils Air Circus 1933-34


April 1933: "AIR PAGEANT TO MISS DUNDEE. LACK OF SUITABLE FLYING FACILITIES. Infirmary May Lose Substantial Subscription. Dundee Royal Infirmary is likely to lose a useful subscription through the lack of flying facilities in the city. An air circus known as the British Hospitals Air Pageant is at present touring 200 cities and towns in Great Britain. Infirmaries and hospitals in the various localities visited are to benefit as a result. Recently an effort was made to obtain the use of a field at the Barns of Claverhouse as a flying ground. The space available was placed at their disposal, but was found to rather small. The circus consists of 16 aeroplanes, and is larger than Sir Alan Cobham's which recently visited the city."

"For the 1933 display season, Sir Alan Cobham’s rival, the British Hospitals Air Pageant (BHAP), had obtained the use  of Cornwall Aviation Company’s aircraft, which were normally used by Sir Alan Cobham"


November 1933: "FROM the official report (1933) of the British Hospitals Air Pageants it is evident that the organisation has achieved its object. The report states that between April 8 and October 8 flying took place on every day except four, when the weather conditions were unfavourable. Aerial displays of 20 events each, in many cases two a day, were given in 180 cities and towns in England, Scotland and Wales, and it is estimated that they were watched by over 1.000,000 spectators, of which 800,000 passed through the entrance gates. It is reckoned that the tour has created a great stimulus to aviation. 70,000 members of the public had flights in the 15 machines used. The auditor's certificate shows that as a result of the campaign local hospitals have benefited to the extent of £6,854 6s. lOd. The campaign gave employment to a staff of 108, of whom 102 were absorbed from the ranks of the unemployed. The director, who devoted his whole time to the organisation, received no remuneration, and help of immense value was given by the Hon. Sir Arthur Stanley, the Patrons, the hospitals' Committees, and the Press. It is claimed that ls a result of the campaign 11 orders for new aircraft have been received by various firms. Arrangements are well advanced for next season's campaign, and already certain well-known pilots have signified their intention of accompanying the organisation on its tour. Next year the name of the organisation will be called " The Sky Devils' Air Circus.''

Cirrus Hermes '' engines have distinguished themselves during the tour. A Spartan 3-seater (" Hermes IV ") operated by Mr. P. Phillips, D.F.C., M.S.M., Proprietor of the Cornwall Aviation Company, has carried more than 8,000 passengers, made over 4,000 landings and has flown about 36,000 miles without a forced landing. Mr. Phillips bought his Spartan in March this year, and at the end of the tour, in October, his engine hours amounted to 454. The total number of passengers carried was 70,148. About half the joy flights included aerobatics. Miss Pauline Gower's " Hermes " Spartan carried 6,000 passengers during the tour, which entailed flying 320 hours at a cruising speed of approximately 80 m.p.h. Altogether, Miss Gower flew about 25,600 miles. The " Hermes " engine, which was completely overhauled and modified at the beginning of the tour, was not touched except for top overhaul and daily maintenance, and Miss Spicer, who signed it out every day, experienced no trouble whatever."

In 1934, it was called the "Sky Devils Air Circus, and run by Air Pageants Ltd


The Greatest Air Picture ever filmed: Humour is extracted from wartime events in "Sky Devils," at the Regal. Spencer Tracy and George Cooper play two American stowaways who ship in a liner which they believe to be bound for South America. Actually it is an army transport conveying U.S. airmen to France. There are some amusing comedy air scenes, some realistic bombing and crashing, and a glimpse of the celebrated aerial "circus" led by Baron Ton Richthofen. William Boyd and Ann Dvorak are in leading roles."


 April 1934: "The City of Glasgow, G-EBFL, one of the original " Argosies " of Imperial Airways, Ltd., has retired from air route work after long and faithful service. The machine, minus cloak room and luggage compartment, has been fitted with four extra seats, and now accommodates 26 people for pleasure flying. The " Argosy " left Croydon—not without shedding a tear upon the tarmac, one may suppose—on Saturday, April 14, in charge of a pilot of British Hospitals Air Pageants, and during the summer it will appear in the aerial circus ring over numerous provincial towns."

"A glorious day, almost like summer, which we hope was a good omen for their success. This year they are working on a somewhat different plan. They propose, instead of giving a number of free tickets to each hospital, to donate 10 per cent of the gross takings to a selected hospital in each district.

Stag Lane, April 15th, 1934: "Stag Lane hardly seems, at first thought, to be a good place for getting money out of people for joyriding, but we imagine that the population around there must after all feel that they want to fly in the aeroplanes of which they see so much, because the crowds on Sunday were really large, and what is more important they queued up for flights."



June 1934, Dundee Evening Telegraph: "The circus is one of a series of about 200 similar displays to be given this year. A feature will be the largest air liner ever seen at a touring air display. This 28-seater 1500 horse-power Argosy will be available for passenger flights and cruises over the town and district. Among the other aircraft is the machine in which Mr C. W. A. Scott flew from England to Australia in 8 days, 20 hours, a solo record yet to be beaten. A 200 horse-power Lynx Tutor commissioned for advanced aerobatics; three Lynx Avros and a Miles Hawk, the latest three-seater low-winged monoplane."



- Capt E B ('Safety First') Fielden (Argosy)

- R Robinson;

- E W Bonar;

- R E Watts;

- M E Hearn;

- G Williams;

- B Bulmore

- Mr H W 'Baby' Ward (parachutist)



June 1, Hereford

June 4, Ross-on-Wye

June 6, Exeter

June 13, Clevedon

June 14, Gloucester

July 6, Crieff

July 7, Dundee

July 8, St Andrews

July 9, Brechin

July 10, Montrose

July 16, Banff

July 18, Arbroath

July 19, Pitlochry

August 1, Barnstaple

August 2, Sherborne

August 9, Hull

August 18, Bristol

September 6, Taunton

September 26, Cheltenham



- A. W. Argosy G-EBFL 'City of Glasgow' leased from Imperial Airways;

- Avro 504 x 3

- Miles Hawk

- D.H. Gipsy Moth (ex C W A Scott);

- Avro Tutor

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