Monday, 30 November 2015

Visit the Soviet Union 1937

Croydon Airport Society's archives often throws up surprises and sometimes ones that have very little to do
with Croydon Airport itself. I certainly was not expecting to find a tourist brochure to the Soviet Union, let alone one dating to 1937. 1937 was the start of one of Stalin's most terrible political purges, known as the Great Purge or Grea Terror, in which it is estimated (depending which historian you read) that 690,000 to almost 2 million people were executed.

Pictured to the left is a travel brochure in the Monk Collection at Croydon Airport. Produced to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution, the brochure gives a guide to improvements achieved in factories, leisure, education, agriculture and more across the Soviet Union. Unsurprisingly this brochure makes no mention of the mass arrests, internments and shootings but promises that 'the Soviet Union offers something of interest to every type of traveller'.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Captain Franklyn Barnard Catalogued (almost)

Photograph of Barnard after he had won the Kings Cup in 1922
Further to our last post on Franklyn Barnard, our intrepid volunteers Graham and Malcolm have almost finished recording all the material in the Barnard File. The excel spreadsheet now reads like a strange biography of the pilot's life from World War One to his death in an accident in 1927. Items such as cufflinks, his pilots logbooks from 1916 to 1927, a vast array of photographs, newspaper clippings, letters and poignant letters of condolence to his widow have now been recorded.

Newspaper cuttings include: Front page of Daily Sketch with headline "Airman's Devoted Dog." Account of motor accident at Waddon. Picture of Brownie and Mrs Barnard (1921); pilots of Imperial Airways at Croydon  singing "Auld Lang Syne"
after a stike had been settled (date unknown; and a Daily Mail article on Sir Samuel Hoare, British Air Minister, flying to India to inaugurate the air service between Cairo and Karachi (1 January 1927) - see image left.

One letter from Barnard records his frustration with getting newspaper headlines and public acclaim for winning the Kings Cup, but hardly any attention at all for systematically carrying passengers safely from further afield place to place. Barnard embraced civil aviation and, unlike many pilots, was an advocate for the safety features of radio plotting and signals that would become standard but were first trialled by traffic Control at Croydon Airport. The material in the file gives an insight into this World War One pilot who became a record breaker and a pioneer in safe civil aviation.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Captain Raymond Hinchliffe and Seances

One of the pilots' log books that Croydon Airport Society has in its collection has a strange final entry. The log book is a copy of Captain Raymond Hinchliffe's original logbook which was published by his daughter in 1986. The last entry is in the handwriting of Mrs Emilie Hinchliffe, his wife, dated to 13 March 1928 at 08.35 with himself and E. Mackay as a passenger. It comprises messages received through Mrs Garrett, spiritualist medium, and Mrs Egerton: