The picture below was sent in by my regular correspondent William Paterson. He said that it is in his family’s Zululand photo album and that it might have taken at either Lake St Lucia or Lourenco Marques. He was interested to know what the plane was and what it had been doing in that part of the world.
I was able to establish that the aircraft was a Short S28 Calcutta flying boat of Imperial Airways and that it had been wrecked at Mersah Matruh and later became a training machine. Brian Cassidy’s excellent Flying Empires (free on Google Books) records that the aircraft was used to train pilots who later flew the Empire Class flying boats on the route to Durban. My theory at the moment is that the aircraft could very well have been used for a training flight to familiarise pilots with the route. If that is so, then the picture is more likely to have been taken at LM, which was the main stopping point for the Empires.
The aircraft was broken up for spares in 1937, by which time the Empires would have been flying weekly to Durban. Anyone who can shed any light on what the aircraft was doing in the area, and when she was there, is welcome to leave a comment below, or contact me here.
I have a major section on passenger and military flying boats in Durban on this site.Share this: