Sunday, 10 August 2014

Flying Boats

One of the nice things about exhibiting is that you meet some every interesting people. I decided to do a bit of painting yesterday in the exhibition and for a change plumped for doing a bigger version of a painting I did  a couple of years ago of a Sunderland Flying Boat in the Haven (shown above).

I have mentioned I have some connection with them in that my father flew in a flying boat during the war and my uncle Jack was in the Royal Flying Corps. We have also sailed every inch of the Milford Haven where they were stationed during the war. There is still evidence of their presence now including a large hanger at Pembroke Dock.

I digress I was painting the Sunderland when a very elderly but spritely gent came over and regailed me with stories of his war time adventures in the RAF. At one time he had been stationed at Felixstowe and had been servicing Sunderlands. He delighted in telling me one of his jobs included pumping out the toilets, a somewhat messy job! He told me how they were pulled out of the water up the slip using an old road tanker as a counterbalance weight.

He then told me about one even larger flying boat that was there, a "Shetland". I hadn't heard of that (not that I am any aviation expert). Apparently it was a larger version of the Sunderland but according to him it was destroyed on its moorings. Apparently the crew set fire to the plane by accident. They had been cooking in the galley of the Shetland at the time.

This was the only Shetland at the time, another one was built but was never put into production and it was scrapped.

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