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Naval Aviation

Catalogue number 98045

Italian battleship Andrea Doria, Syria 1928

The Andrea Doria was completed in 1916 and carried five turrets with 12-inch guns in triple (fore, midship and aft) and twin (superimposed fore and aft) combinations. After experience during the First World War, Italy had appreciated the importance of cooperation between reconnaissance aircraft and warships. The ship went to the Middle East with a squadron of destroyers in 1925 to protect Italian civilians during an uprising in Syria.

Verso:" Syria 15-9-25" or "28" "R.N. Doria seen from afar." in Italian and in black ink

6cm x 4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 131066

Italian battleship Andrea Doria, Lisbon 1927

The battleship was fitted with a Macchi M18 reconnaissance flying boat in 1925 and by 1927 when this photograph was taken, a catapult had been fitted to port on the foredeck. Note the stays to hold the biplane down on its support. The tail seems dangerously close to the 3-inch gun on the center turret. Note the smart motor launch to the right of the funnel and a sturdy steam ship alongside towards the stern. The ship appears to have visitors aboard, it had been in Lisbon during the celebrations of the 4th centenary of the birth of Vasco de Gama.

Verso:"Lisbon 27-1-9 of the R.N. Andrea Doria" in Italian and in black ink

7.7cm x 11.1cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 98039

Andrea Doria, flying boat support

The flying boat support is on the roof of the central turret and displaced to port so the tail avoids a 3-inch gun. In this and the above photograph, the view is to stern, note the tripod mast built-up around the aft funnel.

3.8cm x 5.7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 98038

Fixed catapult on foredeck, 1929

The fixed catapult can be seen to port on the foredeck just outside the canvas. The aircraft was lifted in and out of the sea by a derrick behind the catapult and it was stored on a support on the central turret.

Verso:" Spesia 15-9-29 Foredeck of the Doria seen from the bridge. We are cruising. In the background is the entrance to the golf of Spesia. We can see the 305 cannons." in Italian and in black ink

3.8cm x 5.9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 121010

Fiat MF-4

The Fiat CMAS MF4 seaplane of 1928 was armed with two 7.7mm machine guns and had a crew of 2-3

Verso: “MF4 bis” in black ink

Credit: Stato Maggiore Aeronautica

16cm x 10.6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 121009

Fiat MF-4

Powered by a Piaggio Stella 9-cylinder engine, maximum speed 196 km/h, cruising speed 175 km/h, the MF4 was useful for marine reconnaissance on the Zara class cruisers. It first flew in 1932 but only a small series was produced.

Verso: “Marina Fiat MF-4 “Wal” in black ink

Credit: Stato Maggiore Aeronautica

16.2cm x 10.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 80158

R.N. Pola

This photograph shows two Cant 25AR seaplanes on the fixed centerline catapult of the Italian cruiser Pola (commissioned 1932). The cruisers of the Zara class carried both the Cant 25AR and the Macchi M41.

9.2cm x 4.4cm Negative


Catalogue number 112053

Catapult mounting, Italian light cruiser

In the 1930s, the catapult was moved back from the foredeck to a position between the funnels of some Italian cruisers. In a retrograde step, there was no hangar, unlike the previous cruisers in which a hangar for two aircraft was fitted under the foredeck. Here the Cant 25AR is shown on the catapult of a Duca d’Aosta class light cruiser.

5.4cm x 4.1cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 80175

R.N. Bolzano

The R.N. heavy cruiser Bolzano mounted a trainable catapult amidships between the two funnels. With no hangar and with aircraft stowed on deck, this arrangement accumulated the problems of both maintenance and handling.

9.9cm x 6.6cm Negative


Catalogue number 79099

R.N. Montecuccoli

Here too, the catapult is in the amidships position on R.N. Montecuccoli (commisioned 1935). It trained over a limited arc from either side of the ship.

Recto: “The Montecuccoli in Australia during the 1938 cruise”

19.7cm x 10.6cm Printed image


Catalogue number 94059

Latécoère 298 floatplane

The Latécoère 298 came into service in 1938 as a bomber/torpedo floatplane with a top speed of 290 km/h and a range of 1,500 km.

Verso: “Latécoère Laté 298” in light pencil

Credit: E.C.P.-Armées

18cm x 12.6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 118068

Latécoère 298 floatplane

This photograph shows off the sleek lines of the Latécoère 298 and its impressive floats. The barrels of the two forward-firing machine guns can be seen at one third of the length out along the wings just after the float struts.

Verso: “Hydravion Latecoere” blue rubber stamp

13.5cm x 8.7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 105033

Latécoère 298 floatplane

The 298 had two very large and unwieldly floats that hindered its manoeuvrability although it was considered to be a sturdy aircraft. Each float contained a fuel tank, total capacity 1100 litres. A strongly-built floatplane but no match for the German fighters of the time.

22.5cm x 12.3cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 105032

Latécoère 298 floatplane

The Latécoère 298 was used for maritime patrols and anti-submarine duties, it could carry depth charges, and when the German army invaded France, this aircraft took on the role of attacking armoured columns, it was armed with three 7.5mm machine guns - two fixed forward firing and a third on a flexible mount at the rear of the cockpit. The ventral crutch could carry two 150kg bombs.

22.6cm x 12.4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 105031

Latécoère 298 floatplane

The torpedo was lodged in a recess under the fuselage but it is said that the 298 never torpedoed a ship.

22.5cm x 12.1cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 119053

U.S. Navy glider XLRQ-1

Four XLRQ-1 experimental transport gliders were ordered from the Bristol Aeronautical Corporation but only two prototypes were built (11652, shown here, and 11651). The wooden gliders were to carry cargo and could be fitted with 12 seats.

Verso: “Scoop! XLRQ-1 little-known U.S. Navy towed glider all yellow except for Insignia.” in green ink

Credit: Edgar Deigan

10.6cm x 6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 119054

U.S. Navy glider XLRA-1

The Allied Aviation Corporation was also selected to build two prototype XLRA-1 gliders (11648, shown here, and 11647) in anticipation of a production order for 100 which was eventually cancelled. The glider first flew in 1943: wing span 22 m and length 12.2 m, the low wing provided lateral support when the glider was afloat.

Verso: “Scoop LRA-1 U.S. Navy towed glider! All white coloration except for insignia” in green ink and “Spotter (?) P.273 Nov 16, 1946”

Credit: Edgar Deigan

10.5cm x 6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 116099

Special Italian seaplane carrier, 1920s

The Italian Navy was attentive to the development of the use of aircraft made by the Royal Navy after the First World War. To this end it acquired the merchant ship Citta di Messina in 1923 to be converted to a seaplane carrier with the particularity that it had two fixed catapults fore and aft, a hein mat over the stern enabled seaplanes to be recovered whilst underway. Most seaplane carriers had to stop and bring the seaplane aboard by crane. In this photograph, seaplanes are in place and the catapults can be seen as girder-like structures above the foredeck and quarterdeck. Large hangars below decks could hold up to 20 aircraft - Macchi M.5 and M.7. With only a limited operational capacity, the Miraglia was useful as a trials ship.

Recto: “Ship “Miraglia” seaplane carrier” in Italian and in black ink

11.2cm x 7.3cm negative and gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 121092

Miraglia, 1937

In this photograph of 1937, the Miraglia has been fitted with bulges and the side access to the rear hangar has been closed off. It looks like a Macchi M-18 is on the foredeck catapult.

Verso: text in Italian and in black ink sent to a person in Rome. Postcard franked La Spezia 1937.

6.5cm x 5.7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 48072

Catapulting a Macchi M18, 1936

The Macchi M18 had a crew of three - pilot, observer and gunner (Vickers 0.303 inch in a bow mount). It had a range of 1,000 km and a maximum speed of 187km/h. Note the fixed catapult on the port side forecastle. To fit a catapult on a warship subject to the size limits of the Washington Treaty, the Italian Navy had the idea of putting it on the foredeck.

Verso: “Italian Navy - lauching a seaplane” in Italian and “Taranto 9.2.936” in black ink

13.5cm x 8.6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 65022

Italian seaplane IMAM RO-43

The RO43 was introduced just prior to the Second World War as a catapult-launched reconnaissance aircraft but because of its lightweight construction, it was prone to damage and had poor handling characteristics when alighting on the sea. Once launched, in general it was required to land on shore. However, its long endurance, up to eight and a half hours meant that it was useful within the limits of the Mediterranean Sea.

Verso: “Unit at sea, seaplane RO 43” in Italian and in blue ink

11cm x 16.2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 118014

Piaggio P-6

The P-6 had a single machine gun in the rear fuselage and first flew in 1927. Instead of wires, it had struts for bracing the wings which could be folded back.

Verso: “Piaggio P6” in blue ink

Credit: “Aeronautica Militare - Uff. DOC. E A.P.”

16cm x 10.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 118015

Piaggio P-6

The Regia Marina used the Piaggio P-6 as a catapult-launched reconnaissance float plane, with a large central float and two stabilising floats. It had a crew of two.

Verso: “Piaggio P-6”

17.1cm x 12cm Photograph


Catalogue number 115035

Caproni Ca.1 flying boat

The Ca.I (I for “Idrovolante” seaplane) was developed as a land-based heavy bomber and is shown here as a floatplane. The crew consisted of two pilots, a forward gunner and a rear gunner (whose position was in the cage-like structure just aft of the upper wing and above the central engine). In the forward gunner tub is a 6.5mm FIAT-Revelli machine gun. This aircraft seems to be on trials during 1918, note the sign “Scuola” on the front of building, just right of the tail.

10.8cm x 8cm negative


Catalogue number 115034

Caproni Ca.1 flying boat

The Ca.I had two “puller” engines port and starboard and a “pusher” engine in the central fuselage nacelle. Ten were built. Power by Italian FIAT A.10 inline liquid-cooled engines giving a top speed of 120 km per hour, range 550 km.

10.9cm x 8cm negative


Catalogue number 100001

The Far East flying boat cruise, 1927

The Supermarine Southampton was one of the most successful aircraft in its class, a product of the design engineer R.J. Mitchell of Spitfire fame. Although in service with the R.A.F., the Southampton had a role in coastal reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols working in close collaboration with the navy. These flying boats were renown for the long-distance flights that they undertook in the late 1920s. One such flight left Felixstowe on 14th October 1927 for a 14-month cruise to Singapore, including a circumnavigation of Australia – 24,000 miles/43,300 km. Shown here are the four aircraft (S1149, S1150, S1151 and S1152) flying over the stopping point on the Etang de Berre, a large flying boat base in southern France on 19th October.

Verso: “Berre. Flying over the maritime aviation center” in light pencil

15.9cm x 10.9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 90

Supermarine Southampton at its mooring

In this photograph of S1152 moored to a buoy at Berre, we can see a crewman attending to the port engine, above him is one of the two underwing, gravity feed fuel tanks. A second crew member is in the port midships gun position. Forward are the two open cockpits and the nose gun position.

Verso: “Hydravion anglais” in black ink

29.7cm x 23.6cm Gelatin silver print mounted on hard cardboard


Catalogue number 90

Profile view of the Southampton

This photograph shows S1152 flying over the calanque of Port Miou near Cassis on the French south coast. We have a good view of the fine lines of the Southampton with slightly swept-back wings and a clean planing hull. The aim of these long-distance cruises was, in addition to opening up air routes to the British Empire, to reconnoitre future flying boats bases, harbours and obtain experience in different flying conditions. They were also ideal training for cooperation between flying boats and the accompanying naval vessels.

29.4cm x 23.8cm Gelatin silver print mounted on hard cardboard


Catalogue number 111090

S1152 in flight

S1152 again flying out to sea over the hills to the south of Marseille

15.8cm x 10.8cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 90

Detail of engines of S1152

We have a good view of the two 500hp Napier Lion VA engines mounted on pylons which, being independent of the wing structure, made maintenance and engine repairs/replacement easier, note the walkways on the lower wing.

29.4cm x 23.4cm Gelatin silver print mounted on hard cardboard

Catalogue number

The Napier Lion engine

The Napier Lion engine was one of the best aero engines in the interwar period. The twelve cylinders were arranged in a fanshape of three four-cylinder blocks, one vertical and the other two at 60°. The engine was reliable as confirmed by its performance on the numerous long-range cruises of the Southampton.

Top Three-quarter view of a XI series.

Bottom Test running and control of the engine parts

Credit: From "The Air Annual of the British Empire 1929", Gale and Polden, 1926

Printed image

Printed image



Catalogue number 103023

The flying boats of the S.P.C.A.

As the Supermarine Southamptons left Berre and flew south over the French coast, they were not far from the workshops of the Société Provençale de Constructions Aéronautiques – a short-lived 1920s constructor of military and civil flying boats based in Marseille and La Ciotat. The S.C.P.A. Paulhan-Pillard T3 was designed to be a torpedo bomber and maritime patrol flying boat. The sole prototype nosed-over in the sea off La Ciotat and was written off.

Verso: Blue ink rubber stamp marked “Société Provençale de Constructions Aéronautiques. 3, Rue de la Baume, Paris, société anonyme au capital de 10,000,000 frs.”

22.6cm x 16.4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 103022

SPCA Paulhan-Pillard T3

In this photograph of the T3, we can see the two 650hp Hispano-Suiza engines mounted in the wing roots, the nose and midships gun positions as well as the two sets of torpedo clasps under the fuselage.

Verso: Blue ink rubber stamp marked “Société Provençale de Constructions Aéronautiques. 3, Rue de la Baume, Paris, société anonyme au capital de 10,000,000 frs.”

22.4cm x 16.2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 103020

SPCA and stability problems

The S.P.C.A. had a somewhat ill-defined naming procedure for its aircraft and this flying boat can be found under the names of S.P.C.A. P.P. E-5 and S.P.C.A. 10. It was to be a maritime patrol flying boat but problems of stability led to several mortal accidents and the project was abandoned. The three Gnome-Rhône engines were integrated into the leading edge and when landing at slow speeds, the aircraft would suddenly stall.

Verso: Blue ink rubber stamp marked “Société Provençale de Constructions Aéronautiques. 3, Rue de la Baume, Paris, société anonyme au capital de 10,000,000 frs.”

22.5cm x 16.3cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 103021

The one-off SPCA 60T Hermès

The 60T Hermès was the prototype civil version of a projected military scouting and long-range reconnaisance flying boat. On its first flight, the pilot noticed important lateral movements of the twin pusher/puller engine block. This was due to structural failure of the engine block supports and the project was abandoned.

22.4cm x 16.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 111044

T60 Hermès

This photograph give a good view of the impressive twin Hispano-Suiza V12 engine block as the T60 Hermès evolves off l'Ile Verte in the bay of La Ciotat during the early 1930s.

Recto: “Société Provençale de Constructions Aéronautiques, Hydravion “Hermès” PP./S.P.C.A. - Bimoteur 1300 CV, Construction métallique”

13.9cm x 9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 111083

SPCA Météore

The bay off La Ciotat was the scene for trials of another S.P.C.A. flying boat but the 63 Météore was a triple-engined civil aircraft. The three production aircraft were run on Middle and Far East routes.

17cm x 12.1cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 111082

The Météore off La Ciotat

The three V8 Hispano-Suiza engines were mounted independent of the wings in a similar way to the Southampton. The cockpit was open with pilot and co-pilot sitting side by side.

17cm x 12.1cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 95035

The SE 200, a large French flying boat

The S.P.C.A. had mixed fortunes with its flying boats and other monoplane aircraft to the point where its workshops closed down in 1934 until the company was incorporated into the Société nationale des Constructions Aéronautiques du Sud-Est (S.N.C.A.S.E.) in 1937. One project that quickly appeared in the new company was the Sud-Est SE.200, a flying boat airliner for use on the transatlantic line carrying 40 to 80 passengers. This is SE 200 number 1, after being flown to Friedrichschafen by the Germans, it was destroyed during an allied bombing raid in 1944.

Recto: “S_E. 200- Marignane 12.12.41”
Credit: S.N.C.A.S.E.

21.6cm x 17.6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 66061

SE 200 on the apron at Marignane

The SE 200 was a natural follow-on of the French-built large flying boats but the Second World War and the German occupation of France perturbed the development and construction of the projected series of five aircraft.

21.5cm x 8.1cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 66062

Profile of the first SE 200

The SE 200 was to be a prestigeous flying transatlantic luxury “liner” but when the war was over, large flying boats were no longer in favour although the smaller Short Sunderland and its derivatives had a brief period of success as civil passanger aircraft. F-BAHE is seen here on its launching trollies.

21.5cm x 8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 107071

The ill-fated SE 200 F-BAIY

This photograph shows the third SE 200, registered as F-BAIY, on a test flight. During a subsequent test flight in October 1949, this aircraft was severely damaged after bouncing then plunging into the sea and hitting the bottom during landing. It was considered a complete write-off.

22cm x 16.9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 103034

The Saunders-Roe Princess

Another flying luxury liner project was the Saunders-Roe SR.45 Princess. Neither the S.N.C.A.S.E. SE 200 nor the Saunders-Roe Princess really have their place on a naval website but they are included as examples of the apogee of the flying boat era. Both were pre-war concepts in a post-war world where concrete runways could be found on all major air routes and land-based passenger jets were reliable. Three examples of the Princess were built even though the supposed principle operator, B.O.A.C., never really committed itself to commercially exploit the aircraft. A commercial failure, the Princess was however a major technical success.

20.6cm x 15.4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 112125

The SR.45 in flight

The all-metal, hull-pressurised, flying boat with power-operated controls was of an advanced design. It was powered by four pairs of coupled Bristol Proteus gas turbines driving contra-rotating propellers and two outer single propellors each on a Bristol Proteus. It was proposed to carry 105 passengers with a range of 9,200 km and a cruising speed of 580 km/h. The Achilles tendon of the SR.45 was the underpowered Bristol Proteus, development of which fell behind the overall progress.

Verso: “Saunders-Roe Princess. The Princess is a transport flying-boat capable of carrying a large payload over exceptionally long stages. It is a high wing, ten-engined aircraft with single fin and rudder.”

Credit: Saunders-Roe Ltd.

20.3cm x 15.4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 105043

CANT Z 501 Italian flying boat

Whilst the S.P.C.A. was in difficulty, the Italian company CANT designed a successful long range flying boat – the CANT Z 501 - for Search and Rescue missions, reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols. Range was 2,400 km and endurance was up to 12 hours. It was armed with three 0.303-inch Breda machine guns with a 640 kg bomb load carried externally. Here we can see the ring mounting for the nose machine gun (details of the gun appear to have been censored in this photograph) and the gun turret mounted at the rear of the engine nacelle is just visible. The third gun position is just behind the cockpit. A modified CANT Z 501 won the flying boat distance record with a non-stop flight of 4,130 km in just over 26 hours.

Verso: “CANT. Z. 501 in flight. The flying boat Cant-Z-501 in flight. With this aircraft, Italy has won the World record for a non-stop flight of 4,500 km from Trieste to Massawa” in Italian and written in heavy pencil

21.8cm x 14.3cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 110085

Boeing's Lone Ranger

With the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean on its western seaboard plus an ever-increasingly menacing Japan in the 1930s, the United States wanted to develop a long-range flying boat with full defensive armament and a bomb/torpedo carrying capacity. The Model 344 design presented by Boeing was accepted – a conventional design using a wing very similar to that of the B-29. Whilst the single prototype Sea Ranger (nicknamed “The Lone Ranger”) proved to be a success with good handling properties and performing well, the operational needs for long-range ocean patrols were to be fulfilled by land-based aircraft already in production and the orders were cancelled.

23..2cm x 17.9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 110086

Boeing Sea Ranger

The Boeing XPBB-1 Sea Ranger was an outstanding flying boat from several points of view. On its first flight in July 1942, it was the largest twin-engine aeroplane ever built, theoretical endurance was 72 hours with a fuel load of 36,245 litres. This large and heavy aircraft - empty weight 18,878 kg, loaded weight 28,185 kg – was powered by two Wright R-3350-8 radial engines. This gave a normal range of 3,691 nm/ 6,834 km and a maximum range of 5,500 nm/10,000 km. For comparison, the Short Sunderland mark V had a maximum range of 4,630 km for an endurance of 20 hours and a loaded weight of 29,482 kg.

Credit: Boeing Aircraft Company

24cm x 19.2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 125086

Boeing Sea Ranger PBB-1

The Sea Ranger had a strong defensive armament as can be seen in this photograph - twin Browning 0.50-inch twin guns in powered turrets in the bow, dorsal and tail positions with single guns in the waist blisters. It flew well and had good handling characteristics.

Verso: "Boeing PBB-1 Ranger 17-11-53"

22.7cm x 16.8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 113085

Wings and hull of the Sea Ranger

The defensive armament of the Sea Ranger was made up of twin Browning 0.5-inch machine gun turrets in the nose, tail and upper fuselage rear of the wings plus single machine guns in blisters either side of the rear fuselage. It could also carry bombs in the centre section of the wing or torpedoes slung under the centre section. This photograph would appear to show the Sea Ranger on a barge and, during construction, it was moved from the Plant 1 site near Seattle to the then new Renton site at the southern end of Lake Washington. However, considering the state of the hull shown here, it is possible that it is going to the breakers.

Credit: Martin and Kelman, New York

22cm x 17cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 127029

Convair R3Y-2 Tradewind

Another short-lived flying boat project of the 1950s was the Convair R3Y-2. It was intended to be a kind of flying landing craft but the operational feasibility of such a large flying boat approaching and unloading its troops and equipment on a hostile shore is doubtful. Loading and unloading was by an upward -folding hinged nose. A tractor brings out a heavy gun before troops come ashore.

Verso: Convair R3Y-2 Tradewind 25.1.55

23.4cm x 17.9cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 112063

Convair R3Y-2

At the design stage, the primary role of the Tradewind was to be antisubmarine warfare with a secondary role in troop and supply transport. The paired turboprop engines turned six-bladed contra-rotating propellers through what turned out to be problematic gearboxes. Development was thus delayed and it was the Martin P5M-1 which went into production to take on the submarine patrol role. A prototype and two operational aircraft were lost in accidents attributed to problems with the gearboxes and all remaining Tradewinds were grounded in 1958 and then stricked in 1959 going for scrap. Note the thin wing section compared to that of other large flying boats.

Verso: “New assult flying boat. Here, during trials in San Diego, in California, on 24th January, the new assult flying boat R-3 Y-2 a turbojet of 22,000hp capable of reaching the speed of 650 km per hour, used by American “Marines” who are landing after unloading a 155mm howitzer. 27/1/55” in French

Credit: Associated Press Photo

21cm x 15.1cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 112050

Douglas P2D-1

The P2D-1 was the float-plane version of the Douglas T2D and it too had a number of “firsts”. It was the first twin-engined Douglas and also the first twin-engined aircraft designed for wheeled landing/take off from a carrier and also to operate as a float-plane. The aim was to have a multi-purpose aircraft and orders for the P2D-1 marine reconnaissance aircraft (with twin fins and rudders as compared to the initial T2D-1 land/carrier-based aircraft) were placed in 1930.

Verso: “One from the American Squadron” in French

7.8cm x 5.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 112051

Douglas P2D-1

In the nose of the float-plane was a single flexible ring-mounted machine gun – here we can see the mount without the gun – and a large slanted transparent panel gave the bomb aimer a clear view. The crew consisted of a pilot and two gunners.

7.8cm x 5.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 112049

Douglas P2D-1

The pilot was sited right forward of the wings giving him a good view for landing on a carrier (wheeled version) or on the sea. As well as the gun in the nose, there was a second gun mounting aft of the wings. This aircraft is marked 3-P-1 and is of the Patrol Squadron Three of the US Navy operating in the Canal Zone until 1937. It appears to be carrying a load under the fuselage.

7.8cm x 5.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 112243

Saunders-Roe A.33

K4773, with its parasol monospar wing held high up from the hull by struts fixed to sharply tapered sponsons (thus eliminating the need for the usual deep hull) had a very short life. During the fifth take-off attempt in October 1938, the flying boat hit the wake of a ship and began to porpoise, a tendency that had already been noted in previous trials. Following a huge leap, the aircraft stalled, crashed down into the sea and the starboard wing folded forward. After studying the structural failure along with other problems yet to be corrected, it was decided to stop development of the A33 in favour of its competitor to the Air Ministry specification, the Short Sunderland. Here we can see the nose and tail turrets as well as the sliding canopy beam position in the long tail hump although no guns are mounted. Also visible is the starboard part of the unusual beaching chassis.

Verso: “A.33 1938. A33 Prototype only with Monospar Wing 4 x 845 h.p. Bristol Pegasus XII with AU. Weight 41,500 lb. Developed a speed of 200 mph. - Wing span 95 ft.”

Credit: Saunders-Roe Ltd.

20.5cm x 13cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 113076

Short Sarafand, 1932

The Sarafand was the largest aeroplane in the UK when it was built in 1932 and only a single prototype S1589 was made. It made its first flight in 1932 on the Medway river, where this photograph may have been taken, but was scraped in only 1936. The tail fin carried an auxiliary tracking fin to trim any yaw should one engine fail. The armament was special in that in addition to the bow Scarff ring, it was also envisaged to house a 37mm 1½-pounder gun for anti-submarine work. The two waist Scarff rings were recessed into the top of the hull. Note the workman on the port outer wing and another man at the rear hatch. The Sarafand had a rich and successful career as a test aircraft and much was learnt during experimental flight tests that was subsequently put to use in the new monoplane flying boats.

Verso: “Short Sarafand 1932. Powered by six 820 h.p. Rolls-Royce Buzzard engines. Wing span 120 ft. All-up weight 63,000 lb. Range 1,450 miles. Cruising speed 150 m.p.h. In 1932 this aircraft, the largest British aircraft ever built up till then, created enormous interest and speculation. Many said it was so big it would not fly. But it successfully shattered the theory, then held by many experts, that aircraft weighing more than 40-50,000 lb, would not be possible."

Credit: Short Brothers and Harland Ltd.

20.7cm x 12cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 113075

Short Rangoon, 1930

During the inter-war years, the Short Brothers Company designed and produced an amazing series of successful, innovative and high performance naval flying boats with long-range capabilities. After this list of “one-offs” and short-run flying boats, here is the Short Rangoon S1433 which was designed for overseas service in the difficult conditions of heat and humidity experienced by the 103 Squadron RAF in Basra on the coast of Iraq, 1931. The six aircraft were comfortable and well-liked, making several long-range flights. Powered by three Jupiter IXF engines, they were armed with single Lewis guns on each of the three Scarff rings, forward and staggered either side of the rear fuselage. Bombs up to 1,000 lbs could be carried on underwing racks.

Verso: “Short Rangoon 1930. Powered by three 450 hp Bristol Jupiter VIs. A military version of the successful Calcutta, this aircraft was in service with the RAF.”

20.5cm x 15.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 112119

Fairey Atalanta, 1924

At the end of the First World War, flying boats were quite predominant in the major navies, aircraft carriers and carrier-borne aircraft still being in their infancy. In response to an Admiralty specification of 1917 for a very large flying boat for fleet co-operation and long-range reconnaissance over the seas, Fairey proposed the N.4, the largest flying boat in the World at the time. Only three N.4 flying boats were built as the war came to an end and the Fairey N.4 Atalanta mark 1, N.119 first flew in 1923 but the Admiralty eventually lost interest in these aircraft. The Atalanta had two push-pull Rolls-Royce Condor IA engines and was armed with a 0.303-inch Lewis gun in nose and beam positions. It could carry up to 454 kg of bombs.

Verso: “Fairey Atalanta” in blue ink

Credit: Air Ministry, Directorate of Research, 12 Mar 1924”

20.9cm x 15.2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 113033

Levasseur PL14

This photograph was taken during at the Paris Airshow in the late 1920s and shows a well-armed Levasseur PL14. We can see the twin 7.7mm machine gun mount on a dorsal rear fuselage position, a torpedo slung under the aircraft and there is what looks like a Vickers machine gun just forward of the cockpit. The PL14 was a carrier-based torpedo bomber and in the case of a landing in the sea, the propeller could be blocked horizontally, the undercarriage could be released and the hull was watertight with floats on the underwing.

13.8cm x 8.6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 110072

Charles Samson, naval aviation pioneer, 1914

Commander Charles Samson, center with pointed beard, played a major role in the development of naval air power in the early 1900s. As an officer of the Royal Naval Air Service he made several experiments flights, for example taking off from an anchored ship and a ship underway, an attempted take off from a towed barge and night bombing. Behind Samson and with the monocle is his brother Felix, a Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve Lieutenant, who developed armoured cars and lorries for the Royal Navy fighting in France.

Recto: "The Great War 1914 The reputed English pilot SAMSON at Amiens" in French

13.9cm x 9cm Printed image

Catalogue number 110045

A flying boat with pilot and crew, detail

This photograph appears to be of an early Franco-British Aviation Company (F.B.A.) seaplane although we cannot be sure. The radiator has the characteristic shape of F.B.S. aircraft as is the arrangement of a cockpit with a small windscreen and forward gunner/observer's station. The photograph shows remarkable details of an early seaplane - riveted metal fuselage, wires and control cables running off from the cockpit, wooden spars and fabric-covered wings. The observer is cranking up the engine and we can see four sparkplugs to the left so it is a v-8 engine with direct exhausts, three of which are in the photograph. Is it the petrol tank just behind the pilot with a brass tap to cut off the supply? The lower wing roots are fixed to the upper fuselage whereas most F.B.A. seaplanes had the lower wing on small struts fixed to the fuselage. There are what look like two bomb attachment points at the base of the port lower wing.

13.8cm x 8.9cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 110016 & 110017

Royal Navy Barracuda mine layer

Top This Fairey Barracude RK328 is loaded up with mines and we can see one mk VII mine under the fuselage and two mk VIII small magnetic mines attached under the port wing. Note the aerial above the port wing. RK328 was a mark II Barracuda based at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment in June 1945.

Bottom The same Barracuda with a close-up view of the mk VII mine which had a 252 or 277 kg charge. The device on the front of the mine may be the magnetic firing pistol.

Top 110047 Verso "Barracuda II with one Mk VII and two Mk VIII mines. 23 JUL 1945".

Bottom 110048 Verso "Barracuda II fitted with 1 x Mk VII mine. 23 JUL 1945"

110016 20.7cm x 15cm Gelatin silver print

110017 20.7cm x 15.8cm Gelatin silver print



Catalogue number 109025

A Curtiss H-12 flying boat, 1917

The Curtiss company was a prolific constructor of floatplanes and flying boats for the U.S. Navy just prior to and during the First World War. However, the Curtiss H-12 shown here without any naval markings was sold to the Royal Naval Air Service as were several others. They were named Large Americas. To prevent the nose from being pushed down into the sea during take-off, flotation was increased by incorporating sponsons into the lower hull.

Recto: "92Ft. Curtiss Flying boat Model H-12-U.S.N. #59-R 4-7-17"

22.8cm x 18.1cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 110047 & 110048

German Navy seaplane delivering the mail

Top The ship's cutter is approaching the Friedrichshafen FF.49 floatplane with the gaff ready in the bows whilst the observer is preparing to pass over the mail.

Bottom With the observer on the wing tip, the mail has gone over to the cutter which is pulling away whilst the aircraft engine idles over.

Top 110047 Verso "Kutter holt Post" the cutter gets the mail.

Bottom 110048 Verso "Postübernahme" mail collected

110028 13.9cm x 8.9cm Gelatin silver print

110029 13.9cm x 8.9cm Gelatin silver print



Catalogue number 109108

Farman F150 floatplane

The Farman F150 was the 1926 successor to the Farman Goliath F60/F65 and is shown here as a floatplane for the French Aéronavale. The floatplane was powered by two nine-cylinder radial Bristol Jupiter engines built under licence by Gnome and Rhone but as there was no increase in performance on the Goliath, only one marine version was made. Note the magnificent wooden propellers and the forward gunner's position. At the rear of the hangar is a monoplane aircraft with what looks like a peculiar large single float.

21cm x 15.1cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 110028 & 110029

U.S. Navy Vought O2U-1 serial number 7936

Top A Vought O2U-1 Corsair floatplane in Seattle. This was an observation biplane built around the powerful Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine in service with the USN from 1927

Bottom Serial number 7936 was attributed to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Saratago. The sturdy lines of this centre float biplane can be clearly seen.

Top 110028 Verso "VOUGHT O2U-1 Wasp C 420hp N20SB GSW - Seattle" typed in black ink

Bottom 110028 Verso "VOUGHT O2U-1 Wasp C 420hp N20SB GSW - Seattle" typed in black ink

110028 10.7cm x 6.2cm Gelatin silver print

110029 10.7cm x 6.2cm Gelatin silver print



Catalogue number 111003

Flying boat glider

The US Navy Bristol XLRQ-1 was a prototype flying boat glider of which two were built in 1943 then the project was abandoned as being not tactically feasible for beach assault.

Verso: "U.S. Navy seaplane glider. Known as the XLRQ-1, the U.S. Navy's new seaplane glider is shown after it passed its initial tests at a naval base on the U.S. East Coast. Commander Ralph S. Barnaby, the Navy's first glider pilot, is standing in the cockpit. The seaplane glider is designed to carry either troops or cargo. Later models will be amphibious. Important Not for use in the Western Hemisphere"

Credit: U.S. Authority

16.8cm x 11.8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 110019

Farman MF9 MF7, Imperial Japanese Navy

The IJN bought several Farman seaplanes from 1912 onwards. Japan was a valuable ally during the 1st WW, sending ships to the Mediterranean.

Verso: "Japan 1919 Yukukaïdo" in pencil

11.3cm x 8.2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 30003

Early seaplanes: Sopwith S PG N

The Sopwith S PG N seaplane was a pusher type gunbus ordered by the Royal Navy in 1914 but initially built after an order from the Greek Naval Air Service. It had a large wingspan of 80-ft and we can see both gunner and pilot on board with a Lewis gun mounted in the nose (which eliminates this seaplane as being one of the Greek unarmed trainer versions). The engine appears to be the Gnome Monosoupape or the Sunbeam V-8 engine and with the latter engine, the Gunbus was designated Admiralty Type 806.

4cm x 6.1cm Photograph


Catalogue number 29006

Three early German seaplanes

We can see three different German seaplanes in this photograph. The center biplane is peculiar in that the fuselage is placed above the wings, with the two engines near to the centre line on the lower wing. The seaplane has a double tail with the gunner's position forward and the pilot seated just behind the upper wing. It is the only example built of the Ursinus-Wasser-Doppeldecker (UWD or WD4), a floatplane version of the Gotha G.I. delivered to the Seaplane Testing Command in December 1915. This photograph may be of the Gotha UWD on the mole at Zeebrugge, on the night of 19th to 20th May 1916 the Gotha UWD took off from Zeebrugge to take part in a raid on Dover. The floatplane to the left of center may be a Friedrichshafen FF33, three or four of which accompanied the Gotha UWD on the raid.

Verso: "FF Wasserflugzeuge beim verladen" (Unloading seaplanes), in black ink

10.9cm x 7.9cm Photograph


Catalogue number 69089

A seaplane version of the Caudron G-4 (detail)

A Caudron G4 seaplane at the Navy base in Saint Raphaël. This version has floats but the French Aéronautique Maritime as well as the Royal Naval Air Service (R.N.A.S.) extensively used this rather clumbersome bomber in its wheeled-undercarriage version. The seaplane is being towed out to sea by a motor launch. This stero-photograph is one of a series of ten taken at the naval base of Saint Raphaël around the time of the First World War.

Recto: "G4 à la mer" and "St Raphaël. Aviation Maritime. " in black ink

12.5cm x 8.3cm Stereo-photograph


Catalogue number 66035

The Caudron G-4 bomber

The Caudron G4 was armed with a machine gun mounted in the front cockpit and could be loaded with bombs fixed beneath the lower wing. We can see both in this stereo-photograph. With its pod cockpit, twin engines and wooden boom structure with a four tail arrangement, the G4 appears to be rather frail but was appreciated by the R.N.A.S.

Recto: "Fixing bombs to a bomber aircraft" in French

14.2cm x 6.5cm Stereo-photograph


Catalogue number 102059

Catapult trials of a Loening-Keystone XO2L-1

During the inter-war period, most navies experimented with and perfected the catapult launching of aircraft from ships. The role of ship-launched aircraft for observation, spotting for the guns and scouting was fully recognised. The Loening Company developed, in particular, amphibious seaplanes and the similarity between these amphibians and those of the Grumman company are not fortuitous. Leroy Grumman was General Manager at Loening and when he left the company to start his own, he incorporated many concepts developed at Loening. This photograph shows the sole prototype XO2L-1 sometime around 1932, performance was such that the Navy did not pursue trials, note the arrester hook. Ironically,the Navy went to Grummans looking for a new amphibian and the result was the JF/J2F Duck.

Verso: "Verso: "Navy tests catapults at Washington Navy Yard. Washington D.C. A combination of the oldest and the newest weapons of warfare, the catapult, which hurled missiles into beleaguered cities in the Middle Ages and the airplane of today, has been developed by the U.S. Navy to release planes from small decks of ships and its undergoing tests at the Navy Yard here. This picture shows a thrilling closeup of an amphibian plane as it is hurled into the air after a run of only 60 feet, by the catapult. The carriage and arresting gear of the catapult are also shown in the photo".

20cm x 15cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 102058

A Vought VE-9H on catapult trials, 1922

After the First World War, the US Navy became interested in the VE-7, a wheeled-undercarriage advanced trainer, and 128 of the naval version were built to perform numerous roles other than a standard trainer. The VE-9H floatplane was an improved version of the VE-7SH floatplane and the US Navy ordered 21 to be used for observation and scouting when catapulted from battleships and cruisers.

Verso: "Launching device for planes perfected. Further tests of the catapult on the (USS Battleship, author's note) Maryland were conducted at Hampton Roads, Va., in the presence of Admiral Jones, Comm. in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and Admiral Moffet, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, who says, "The catapult is no longer in the experimental stage. It is as practical and workable as is the torpedo tube used for launching torpedoes from the deck of a destroyer. Furthermore….and commercial activities." Blue stamp marked 23 August 1922, in Spanish.

Source: "Photo by Paul Thompson"

16.8cm x 10.8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 101118

Vought O2U-1 Corsair from USS Raleigh 1928

This Vought Corsair is equiped with a Pratt and Whitney Wasp engine but it is not yet the amphibious version of the O2U-1. This aircraft, serial number A-7535, was part of the VO-3S squadron with the battleship divisions. It was, at the time, the standard aircraft for observation divisions.

14cm x 9.8cm Photograph


Catalogue number 102015

A Loire 130 on board the French cruiser La Marseillaise, February 1938

The Loire 130 first flew in 1934. It was said to be ugly - a compliment it shared with the Supermarine Walrus - but it had a sturdy appearance and was used in many roles, being carried by all major French warships. Endurance was 7 ½ hours at 93 mph with the pilot in an open cockpit above and to the rear of the main cabin - we can just see the top of his windscreen. The Loire 130 carried two 7.5mm Darne machine guns in bow and dorsal positions and could carry two 165-lb bombs, it was launched from a compressed air type of catapult fixed to the top of the aft gun turrent.

Verso: "Appareil de la Marseillaise placé sur sa catapulte pour le lancement. Février 1938 " in pencil

8.2cm x 5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 45177

USS Birmingham and Eugene Ely

In 1910, Eugene Ely flew a Curtiss biplane off the deck of USS Birmingham for the first shipboard aircraft takeoff. The experiment took place whilst the ship was at anchor in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Here we can see Naval personnel and dockyard workers placing the tailless aircraft onto the sloping 85 ft long and 24 ft wide wooden platform on the bows of the ship.

Verso "Norfolk Va Dec 10th Photo of Ely's Curtiss bi-plane being taken aboard Birmingham previous to his flight from ship at Hampton Roads Va Nov 14th '10 - You may have a copy of last month's issue of our ship's paper "The Scout" if you wish one. C.R.B." Postcard stamped USS Birmingham Dec 10 1910

12.3cm x 7.4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 100099

USS Pennsylvania and Eugene Ely

Two months after the first deck takeoff, in January 1911 Eugene Ely landed his Curtiss biplane on the deck of USS Pennsylvania, at anchor in San Francisco bay. The aircraft was equiped with a tailhook designed to catch one or more of the ropes fixed across the deck and attached to sandbags - an early form of arrestor wires - so as to bring the aircraft to a halt. After such a pionneering début, Ely was sadly killed in an aircrash the same year.

15.5cm x 10.8cm Photograph of printed image


Catalogue number 71073

Seaplane trials on USS Huntington 1917

As the performance of aircraft improved and floatplanes became available, experiments in launching aircraft from ships continued. Here on USS Huntington, a floatplane is about to take off from a narrow rail-like ramp built up over the quarter deck and stern. The trolley on which the aircraft rested can be see about to be jettisoned into the sea after running off the launching ramp.

13cm x 8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 71074

Accident during trials on USS Huntington

Accidents were frequent in the early days of naval aviation and this floatplane from USS Huntington has come to grief and is being hauled on board. We can see that one float is missing and the wooden propellor is smashed.

13.1cm x 7.7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 100042

Marine Nationale Bapaume

The Bapaume was a sloop transformed into an early form of aircraft carrier by building a 35 m long flight deck forward of the bridge. This aerial view shows an aircraft on the flight deck and Bapaume is steaming across the wind - see the direction of the smoke from the funnel.

Verso "Bapaume - Un avion abord"

13.1cm x 7.7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 71030

Dédalo, a seaplane and balloon carrier of the Spanish Navy, 1925

If land-based aircraft were being used for take off and landing trials on ships, seaplanes with floats were also being developed but they needed a relatively calm sea to take off and land. Dédalo is seen with a group of seaplanes on the aft deck and there are two hoisting booms port and starboard to lift aircraft in and out of the sea. This ship also had a hanger forward to house observation balloons or airships and in this photograph, taken off Al Hoceima, we can see the airship mooring mast at the bows with a windsock.

Recto "Navire porte avions Espagnol"

13.1cm x 7.7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 28008

HMS Sussex Hawker Osprey K3629, 1935

The Hawker Osprey followed on from the Fairey IIIF seaplane in the early 1930's with a new level of performance producing a fast, two-seater fighter-reconnaissance aircraft, maximum speed 176mph as opposed to 120mph. This aircraft, K3629, had a short life and after delivery to Gosport in 1934 it went first to HMS Sussex and then to the Middle East at the end of 1935, to be struck off in April 1936.

Verso "H.M.S. Sussex Croiseur anglais" in black ink then printed "Issued 20-12-35 Eyes of the fleet. A scouting seaplane warming up on the catapult of the cruisser H.M.S. SUSSEX. This photograph illustrates the intricate mass of machinery needed to give the plane a good "push off" on launching."

20.6cm x 14.2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 50031

HMS Neptune Hawker Osprey K2777, 1934

Working aircraft from warships presented numerous problems including the large amount of space taken up by the aircraft and its catapult, the fire risk due to fuel storage, the need for suitable conditions to catapult and especially to recover the seaplane as well as the risk of blast damage from the ship's guns. Compressed air acting on fluid-filled rams propelled the 2,526 kg Osprey along the catapult. The aircraft is supported on a cradle and in this photograph, the aircraft has just left its cradle, the front legs of which have fallen forward to allow the fuselage and tailplane to pass over. This aircraft, K2777, spent much of its time attached to the RAF School of Naval Cooperation where pilots and observers were trained for the Royal Navy.

20cm x 15.1cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 54068

Avro Bison mkII N9969, 1926

This Avro Bison mkII, N9969, was with HMS Eagle in 1926 and came to grief during exercises when, en route from Gibraltar to Malta, it developed engine trouble and came down into the sea off Valletta. All six aboard were killed although the usual crew was three or four. The Bison was an ungainly beast developed as a fleet spotter with a large cabin for observers and wireless operators and all their paraphernalia - maps, plotting tables, wireless sets in an exceptionally large cabin with big windows. The body of the Bison was set so high for the pilot, it was necessary to provide an aiming rod parallel to the line of flight to assist the pilot in landing and taking off. This rod can be seen to port of the centreline at the level of the windscreen. The Bison was armed with a free-mounted Lewis machine gun on a Scarf ring amidships - here by one of the lifting points - and a single fixed Vickers machine gun firing through the propeller - seen here as a raised cover on the engine cowling just starboard of the centreline.

13cm x 7.7cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 94124 & 94125

Marine Nationale Levasseur PL14/PL15, 1934

Top PL15: Although the sleek lines of this torpedo-bomber floatplane contrast with the Avro Bison, its performance - maximum speed 118 mph, cruising speed with full load 99 mph - was weak. This aircraft carried a crew of two when in the torpedo-bomber role, three and four when on observation and reconnaissance missions, respectively. We can see the twin 7.7mm Lewis guns in the rear mounting and a bomb fixed under the fuselage. Note the rearview mirror fixed to the pilot's windscreen. The four handles just forward of the gunner's post may be for releasing the bombs and the torpedo - the PL15 could carry either one 750kg torpedo or three bombs (1 x 450 kg and 2 x 150kg). It was too heavy to be catapulted and had to be lowered into the sea for take off.

Bottom PL14: The PL15 was derived from the PL14and in this photograph, the aircraft is armed with a 45cm torpedo but it could carry 450kg of bombs and was armed with a single 7.7 Vickers machine gun.

Top 94124 Verso "Pierre Levasseur Hydravion PL15 - à moteur Hispano Suiza 650 C.V. en service dans l'Aviation Maritime", in ink and blue ink stamp "PIERRE LEVASSEUR Constructions aéronautiques S.A. au Capital de 5,560,00 Frs 17 à 21 Place Félix-Faure, PARIS-XV R.C. Seine 250.791 B" and "1934" in red crayon

Bottom 94125 Verso "Pierre Levasseur Constn. Aeronautiques" "Hydravion bombardier torpilleur 600 CV" in blue crayon and "P.L.14" in blue ink"

94124 22.8cm x 16.7cm Gelatin silver print

9412 17.8cm x 12.4cm Gelatin silver print



Catalogue number 35182

US Navy Grumman FF

This biplane had several modern develpments compared to the older Naval aircraft which included an all-metal fuselage and a much appreciated enclosed cockpit as well as a retractable undercarriage. The Grumman FF did not stay long in first-line service and was withdrawwn to the Naval reserve aviation at the end of 1936. This aircraft is with the Reserve Aviation at Saint Louis, Missouri, Naval Air Station and shows the rear gunner with a single 7.62mm Browning machine gun. The pilot is watching the ground crew as he cranks up the Wright Cyclone radial engine.

16.8cm x 11.5cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 100041, 21043 & 21043

Marine Nationale Gourdou-Leseurre GL812

Top The Gourdou-Leseurre GL812 also had a light alloy fuselage on a steel tube structure. We can see the pilot and the gunner at their posts, the observer is doing something on the wing. Initially, the observer had the centre post but was moved back in the L-3 model. Note the flying helments and the headrests for pilot and gunner, very useful during catapult launches. This aircraft doesn't seem as yet to have been allotted to a squadron as the only identification is the number 57.

Middle The GL812 could be catapulted off a ship, here the seaplane carrier Commandant Teste. Note the aircraft rests on the trolly by the float supports as opposed to the fuselage as for the Hawker Osprey shown above and as a result, a strengthened float structure was required. The ramp used to propel the trolly forward can be seen through the lattice structure of the catapult.

Bottom This aircraft is from the 7S2 squadron and is being recovered onto the Commandant Teste in the port of Arzew in 1937. Just left of centre in the foreground is one of the unshielded 3.9 inch guns and on the raised deck are two quick-firing guns, whilst a sailor seems to be painting the underside of this structure.

Top Verso "Gourdou-Leseurre" in pencil

Top 100041 10.7cm x 6.3cm Gelatin silver print

Middle 21043 16.4cm x 10.9cm Gelatin silver print

Bottom 21043 16.4cm x 10.9cm Gelatin silver print



Catalogue number 94061 & 87

Marine Nationale Breguet 521 Bizerte

Top The Breguet 521 Bizerte was a French development of the British Short Calcutta flying boat built under licence by Breguet. This long-range reconnaissance aircraft had a two-tier flight deck and an open bow gun position initially. Note the impressive span of the upper wing - over 35m.

Bottom This photograph shows one (N°18) of the batch that were ordered in 1936 with the elimination of the open bow gun position and the extended cockpit canopy which was well-adapted for the role of long-range reconnaissance. Note the important dihedral angle of the upper wing, the radio direction finding aerial on the top of the wing, the wolf emblem of the E1 squadron on the hull and the gun blister just aft of the cockpit. This aircraft is flying over the Iles du Frioul off the coast of Marseille in 1937.

Top 94061 Verso : " Bréguet " Bizerte " in pencil, " 1934 " in red crayon and " Hydravion Breguet " Bizerte " de Haute Mer 1938" (sic) in blue ink

Bottom 87 Verso: "Bréguet-Bizerte Poids total: 17 tonnes Force moteurs: 2550 CV." in black ink

Top 94061 20.8cm x 15.7cm Gelatin silver print

Bottom 87 37.8cm x 27.9cm Gelatin silver print



Catalogue number 44252

US Navy Submarine with a Martin MS-1 on deck

Between 1923 and 1926, the US Navy experimented with the use of a small observation and scouting seaplane carried and launched from a submarine. The Marin MS-1 biplane was carried in a water-tight container on the submarine's deck and once on the surface, the aircraft was to be quickly assembled and launched by balasting down the submarine until the seaplane could float off. This is the manoeuvre that we can see in the photograph of A-6325 floating off the submarine S1.

Verso: "here it is Eddie with the plane on the after deck this is the V2. please write and give me your opinion" in pencil

13.7cm x 7.9cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 96095, 31008, 66039, 95038 & 94090

Saunders-Roe SR.A/1

One. The Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 was a revolutionary, water-based aircraft with a top speed in excess of 500 mph. Construction began in 1946 to produce this single-seater, twin jet-propelled flying boat fighter. It had no official name and was referred to as the "Squirt" but the project came to an end in the early 1950s as the Squirt lost out in the competition with the new land-based jet fighters that were appearing on the scene plus the success in war of the aircraft carrier. Shown here is one of the three prototypes (TG263) with the initial Perspex bubble canopy. It had two Metropolitan-Vickers F.2/4 Beryl axial flow turbojets placed side by side in the fuselage and sharing the same nose air intake but with separate exhausts. Surprisingly, it is said that there was no problem with water ingestion but the SR.A/1 was not designed to operations in choppy seas.

Two. The first test flight took place on 16th July 1947 and the test pilot Geoffrey Tyson reported satisfactory handling of the flying boat both in the air and on water. Here, the flying boat is just sitting on the step of the planing hull.

Three. The SR.A/1 had semi-retractable floats to improve the aerodynamics. Each float first pivoted inwards through 90° before the arm folded into a well in the lower surface of the wing. This way, only the streamlined part of each float was exposed. In the first photograph, we can see the two dark bands of the pivoting mechanism on each float. In the lower photograph, we can see the orifice for the planed four nose-mounted Hispano 20mm cannons.

Four. TG263 was brought out of store in November 1950 and hydrodynamic tests recommenced, the last flight being in June 1951. Here we can see the underwing recess on the port wing and the float pivot points as two dark areas on the starboard float.

Five. After the initial trials, several modifications were made including replacement of the Perspex bubble canopy with a metal canopy and reducing the rudder horn balance as can be seen in this photograph. A short take-off could be attained - 26 seconds - by retracting the wing floats, and so reducing drag, once the aircraft had lateral stability.

One. Verso: "SR A1" in black ink

Two. Verso: "Britain has first jet flying boat fighter. 30.7.47. The first jet-propelled flying boat fighter in the world - the Saunders-Roe A1 - was successfully tested at Cowes, Isle of Wight, this afternoon. It is fitted with twin Metropolitan Vickers jet units known as the Beryl, but its maximum speed is a top secret. The picture shows the jet-propelled flying boat taking off on her trial flight to-day."

Three. Verso: "First flying boat tested. 31.7.47. The world's first jet-propelled flying boat fighter, the Saunders-Roe SR/A1 made its first …. appearance over the Solent yesterday, after …."hush-hush" test flights. It has ….a speed of more than 400m.p.h….in a pressurised cabin, and it….cannon. The pilot has an ejector seat."

Four. Verso: "1952" in pencil

Five. Recto: "Saunders-Roe Fighter Flying Boat A-52-C (sic)" Verso: Postcard franked 1953

One. 15.6cm x 10.5cm Gelatin silver print

Two. 21cm x 15.1cm Gelatin silver print

Three. 13.7cm x 19cm Gelatin silver print

Four. 7.2cm x 4.5cm Gelatin silver print

Five. 13.2cm x 8.2cm Gelatin silver print






Catalogue number 40130

French Aéronavale Avro Lancaster, North Africa

Minds were not totally at rest with the end of World War II and European governments, notably France, feared a revival of German aggression such that in 1947, the United Kingdom and France signed a treaty of alliance and of mutual assistance in the event of renewed attacks. As the communist threat developed, the Benelux countries joined the United Kingdom and France to form the Western Union. As part of the agreement, 54 reconditioned Avro Lancaster bombers, with the serial prefix WU, were transferred to the French Aéronavale. Along with the RAF Coastal Command, they were to protect Atlantic shipping. The French aircraft were based in North Africa and this aircraft, WU09, joined the 2F squadron at Port-Lyautey on the Atlantic coast of Morocco in 1952.

Source: Aéronautique Navale

30cm x 22cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 88

French Aéronavale Lancaster WU40

The WU aircraft were modified for their new role of maritime reconnaissance with the addition of long-range fuel tanks, ASV (aviation surface vessel) radar (model APS-15) in a ventral dome and extra rear windows for observation whilst the dorsal turret was faired-over. The aircraft also carried Air-Sea Rescue equipment. We can see members of the crew looking out of the astrodome and the portside rear windows.

Source: Unknown

35cm x 25cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 52118

Armed French Aéronavale Lancaster, WU-46

A rather weather-worn Lancaster. We can see three dorsal aerials for the radar and a crew member is in the astrodome. Note the different size of the machine guns, this Lancaster has retained the forward twin 0.303-inch Brownings and the tail twin 0.5-inch machine gun turrets. As for the photograph number 40130, there appears to be some kind of shoot projecting from the rear turret, is it for releasing air-sea rescue gear?

Source: Unknown

24.1cm x 17.7cm Gelatin silver print