Flying boat

posted in: Mini Memories 1

My informant PJ Thomas remembers flying to Durban via BOAC flying boat. He wrote:

Hi, I came across your web page and thought you might be interested in my experience. After WWII my dad was demobbed from the air force. The government offered assisted passage to ex servicemen to anywhere in the Commonwealth. My uncle had been in the navy and he described Durban as one of the best places he had visited, and was heading there. My parents then booked a passage to Durban on a flying boat.

I was then 9 years old when we departed from Poole on the 8th Feb. 1947. The trip took five days, landing in the evening and staying overnight while the plane was checked and refuelled. I made contact recently with the British Airways Museum who were most helpful. When asked the date of the flight I was able to give it from my dad’s old passport. They then gave me the flight log for that trip which went as follows:-

8th Feb. 1947
BOAC flight 4M19 – ShortS26 flying boat “Golden Hind”.

 Golden Hind on one of her visits to Durban.
Departed Poole 0740
Arrived Augusta 1616
9th February
Dep.  Augusta 0535
Arrived Cairo 1050
10th February
Changed to BOAC flight 50E4 “Caledonia”
Dep. Cairo (time not recorded)
Arrive Khartoum (time not stated)
Arrive Kisumu 1440
11 February
Departed Kisumu 0405
Arrive Mozambique 1400
12th February
Dep. Mozambique 0300
Arr. Beira 0630 Dep. 0705
Arr.Lourenco Marques 1100 (Dep. not stated)
Arrive Durban 1315.

There is a growing archive of flying boat-related material on this website. The main flying boat page is here and it has links to other pages on passenger flying boats, military ones, and eye-witness accounts. The general aviation page is here.

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Eagle Cabinet Works

posted in: Mini Memories 3

Back on 21 October 2009, Robin Lamplough wrote to ask if anyone had heard of a firm called Eagle Cabinet Works. Neil Gould has now replied to the effect that:

Eagle Cabinet Works belonged to the late Joe Eagle [a close friend of my Grandad’s]. After he died, it was taken over by the late Garvin Bernstein who modernized it and turned it into a pine furniture factory and kitchen cabinet door factory [export only]. I moved to the UK in 1974 and around 1979, was the representative of Eagle Cabinet works in the UK, employed by Bernstein. He is survived by his wife Glenda in Durban. The Bernsteins were family friends of my parents and I grew up with their kids.

I don’t know if this is of interest but I wrote a book which includes a lot about growing up in Durban

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Gordon Road Girls’ School

posted in: InfoRequests 1

Reader Patrick Coyne is currently working on a history of Gordon Road Girls’ School for its centenary next year and is calling for any information, stories and pictures that you might be able to contribute. Leave a comment by clicking the link below, or contact me at the the usual place, if you can help.

A reminder that search function on the site has been suspended but that you can still search it using the Google site itself. See here for how to do it.

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City Hall Organ

posted in: Appeals 0

A couple of years ago, I posted a letter from Wim Mutsaerts detailing some of the history of the city hall organ and the deplorable condition in which it now finds itself. Things do now appear to be moving forward and Wim is in the process of establishing a trust to oversee its repair. He wrote:

I have met with Dr Michael Sutcliffe, Durban City Manager, who has agreed that it is time something should be done for the Restoration of the City Hall Organ. He suggested the creation of a Trust and to present a Proposal. I invite retired Members of the Public to fill the following posts on a voluntary, part-time basis.

  1. A Chairman (a marketing man with or without lawyer experience), who is able to start the fundraising campaign and get advise on the best structure for fundraising. I offered to assist this person.
  2. Consultants. Two-three well-known professional Organists have been already approached and gladly accepted.
  3. An Accountant, to keep meticulous financial records
  4. A Public Relations Person/Fundraiser. This position requires knowledge of individuals and enterprises likely to support the project.
  5. An Administrator, who would keep precise records of activities.
  6. Additional Volunteers, who would assist with aspects of the Projects.

The time has arrived when I need to call on the support pledged by Organ Friends, to assist me with further activity as well as with fundraising for this worthwhile project. I also need to contact well-wishers known to you who would be willing to contribute. Clearly, I need help and I have established the positions to be filled in good time for the Trust yet to be formed.

As for myself, I have limited contact with the Natal population at large. Accordingly, I must rely on Natalians, particularly those who have retired from active employment, to volunteer their services to the cause. The project will cost about R9 million, if contracted to world experts Messrs Rieger from Austria. I have asked Rieger to provide me with a detailed floor plan (layout) of the Organ they have already outlined.

It would display ALL the parts of the Organ, including the organ case, the console, the wooden and the steel pipes, the swells, the bellows, the windchests and so on. Each part will be allotted a number. I intend to break down the estimated costs of repair to arrive at a price per item or part. Interested members of the public would be invited to submit their ‘Intention to pledge’ or to reserve that amount for the Trust.

If you have other ideas or suggestions, please e-mail me. It is my aim to have the Organ working to its former glory by the time I turn 80, on 31st December 2013, much less than 3 years from now.

I look forward to Your responses at earliest opportunity. Thank You in advance and the very best of wishes.

Wim Mutsaerts (Organ-iser)
SMS: 083-325-9828

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Edward Dunn

posted in: Mini Memories 1

My informant Moira Badstubner originally let me know about an organisation she had had been a member of, the The International Arts League of Youth. That article is here on the site, but in her latest letter, received during my move downunder, she recalls Edward Dunn, the IALY’s patron and leader of Durban’s civic orchestra. She wrote:

Hello Allan

As a teenager I was “mal” over classical music.  Edward Dunn gave me so much to remember – even now when I hear certain classical music I think of him. “Dance of the Hours” was on the Afrikaans programme at 12 today – it was one of his favourites.  For the good he did to the future generation, he will be rewarded.

The orchestra members were well-known to the Durban public – Nancy Greig (cello), Snowy Edwards (timpani/drums), John Clark (cello), Ilona de Vos (Harp), Stefan Deak (first violin – Hungarian), Charles Denholm (violin), Barbara Groom (viola)(Aitcheson), my favourite, – Paul Martens (my teacher) and George Walker – their students used to compete in the Eisteddford every year.

I am so grateful to the Durban Transport dept – in those days we could catch a bus to anywhere, anytime – safely!

Looking forward to reading your latest news bulletins…
Moira Badstubner (née Williams)

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Pain in the butt !!

posted in: Housekeeping 1

The site search facility is temporarily (hopefully) unavailable. During a test on 25 August 2011, I discovered  that it wasn’t working and then found that Google had quietly instituted a charge for what was a free service and cut me off. I’m going to be going into alternatives and will post details here as and when I have them.

In the meantime, you can still do a search of FAD but you have to go through a bit of extra PT to do so. To find all references to Allan on the site, for example, you would type the following into the search box on Google:


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Steam-powered lorries ?

posted in: InfoRequests 5

My informant William Paterson has written in to ask if anyone remembers steam-powered lorries similar to one above, being used in Durban during WWII. To answer, leave a comment by clicking the link below, or contact me in the usual way.

Worthy of your interest is William’s evocative description of growing up in Durban at the start of WWII.

It always comes as a bit of a shock to be reminded just how long the site has been going, which happened again when I noticed that the account was written by William in 2005. FAD is nearing the end of its first decade, which is quite a sobering thought.

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Watering holes

posted in: New Articles 4

My friend David Baird has contributed a long article on his reminiscences of the bars, pubs and hotels that he used to frequent in Durban from the mid-1970s. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been in a lot of the places he mentions and, quite likely, at some of the same times.

And talking of the entertainment scene and the things that Durbanites used to do for fun, I’d like to direct the attention of new readers to a page which lists a lot of the entertainment-related articles housed on this site.

Happy reading!

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Municipal Band

Durban Municipal Band badge
Durban Municipal Band badge

Reader Alf Boyley  has sent in a picture of a Durban Municipal Band helmet badge and wonders if anyone knows anything about the band. He wrote:

Hope you are settled in Brisbane and that all is well. I came across this helmet badge ( three lugs) which I purchased on auction and don’t have much info on. Have you seen this or heard about this from anyone. Please feel free to publish a pic of it when you start up the site again. Some thoughts tend to put it either pre-1914 or between the great Wars.

One of the projects I began just before packing up in South Africa was to start a Music in Durban page. It’s only an infant page at the moment, but I’ll be adding to it when and where I can.

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