Flying Boat

posted in: Appeals, Image 9

Can anyone provide the name of the Empire flying boat in the picture below? It was sent in by reader Nicole whose grandfather was Captain Roger P Mollard of Imperial Airways and BOAC. Captain Mollard was apparently based in Durban for a while.

It seems as if the picture was taken in Durban. I don’t recognise the view [although it does look like the Berea in the distance] but the reverse of the picture has the following inscription:

Photo supplied by Lynn Acutt (Pty) Ltd
343 West Street Durban Natal S.Africa”
“Original of this photograph has been passed by U.D.F. Military/Royal Naval Censor”

Lynn Acutt was a well-known Durban Photographer, so I guess that settles that…

Added 18 June 2012: Capt. Mollard now has a page on this site where you read some newspaper clippings and view some of the pictures that he collected.

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9 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    That is an interesting photograph and I also agree with Allan that it was possibly taken in Durban Harbour. Without knowing what markings the flying boat was carrying it is going to be nigh impossible to identify which flying boat that was. It looks like a Short Class C which I think were given names all starting with a C. There were several of them.
    Regarding Capt Mollard there are various references to him via Google and it appears he was a leading pilot with Imperial Airways and later BOAC.

    Regarding the location of the photo. My late uncle and I used to, occasionally go fishing in the Bay at a place he called the “slipways”. This was down a particular channel of the Bay which led to the Prince Edward Graving Dock. In the vicinity was the Floating Dock and in the corner was the SAR & H repair berth where all the tugs and harbour craft were gathered for repairs. I did not realise it at the time but the two concrete slipways which angled down in to the water were obviously for use of the flying boats when they had to be hauled out for services or repairs. However at the time we fished there, the flying boats had long been removed from service and the slipways were the only relic left. I would place the location at this place in the harbour. I recall directly opposite the slipways was the Samancor (?) South African Manganese Corporation, loading berth where the raw materials were loaded. I cannot say I remember the arched building shown but it does look like a silo. Looking at the building on the left, I can just make out and I am taking a guess here, but it looks like ….orm & Co Pty Ltd. Now in the 50’s, Storm and Co were leading ship freight handlers so it could be that they had some building in the area.
    The two ships berthed there are Liberty ships. These were the massed produced US ships which at one stage were being churned out at the rate of one a day. They were specifically made for the trans Atlantic convoys during World War 2 shipping material over from the US to Britain. I would date this picture to the period 1945 to 1950, definitely post war as the flying boat service was only re-introduced after the war.
    Sadly photos with no notes written on the back, fade away in to the past as “unknowns”. I know this only too well and it is quite a loss when one has or gets such a photo with no clues whatsoever. The moral is ….

    • David Ludlow
      |

      The only information I have found is that the three regular visitors to Durban were three C class planes; The COURTIA (no portholes, long range tanks initially used for surveys) The CAMBRIA (Imperial Airways – short C class also used for surveys and the CENTURION which was a passenger aircraft (although the other two were also used to transport passengers) The only other reference is to The Golden Hind

  2. Nicole
    | Reply

    I have had someone ID this and they say that it is the Short S 26 G-Class flying boat “Golden Hind”

    • Allan Jackson
      |

      Hi Nicole. It could very easily be Golden Hind; she certainly was in Durban,

    • John Taylor
      |

      Hi Allan, I guess the debate is if the aircraft is a “C” or “G”. Only three G’s were built, of which two were lost during WWII. The Golden Hind was the remaining one, but appeared to fly the UK to West Africa route. If it is a C, it would be G-AFRA Cleopatra flown by Captain H.O. Woodhouse. The route was Durban / Cairo / Poole, and its final service was from 29 October 1946 to 5 November 1946.

    • Derek Hughey
      |

      Hello John,

      You seem to have some information on Imperial / BOAC captain, Hugh Oswald Woodhouse. I have a considerable collection of his papers and insignia from his estate a number of years ago. I would be grateful for any information you can provide on his career. I have a couple newspaper photos of him as well as a Cairo driver’s license with his photograph. I know that he hired on with IA in 1935 and stayed on with BOAC into at least the late 40’s.

      Many thanks,
      Derek

  3. David Mollard
    | Reply

    Hi Nicole, My family research shows your grandfather and my grandfather were brothers. I’d be pleased if you would care to contact me to fill a few blanks for me.

    Captain Mollard became general manager for Malayan airways and received a commendation for services in the air (London Gazzette)

    • Nicole White
      |

      Hi David, I certainly will try and ‘fill in the blanks’.
      What was your grandfather’s name and where did he/you live?

  4. Maurice Rowley
    | Reply

    I have a photograph of G – A F K Z which is a Short C30 Empire class Flying boat believed to have been taken in Durban and probably flown by First Officer ‘Gerry’ Jelliman. I am looking for any details on Gerry who was seconded to BOAC from the RAF VR during WW2.

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