mail: Colin Cohen, 22 Selvage Lane, London NW7 3SP, UK



This time I was looking through one of my albums and thought that it would be nice to devote my article to the early British national carriers in my collection. The first few cards feature British European aircraft publishers such as Pamlin, Flight International which are in black and white with not many airline issues in those days. Then we move on to a rather unusual BEA issue card of de Havilland – Airspeed Ambassador “Elizabethan” Class with two Bristol Centaurus engines.

Next the Vickers Viscount which I remember well as a boy in that livery when I used to visit Elmdon airport and travel on the feeder plane to Heathrow to go on our summer holidays, as there were few direct flights in those days to holiday destinations other than from London. The big square red box marked BEA in white was well known everywhere. I always recall the great fleet of BEA aircraft waiting lined up on the apron at Heathrow as we landed and took off and of course I had to be seated by the huge window. This feature regretfully is not well depicted on postcards – but Trans Canada did one.

I have numerous Viscount drawings with one of my favourite being a Salmon Series card numbered 5259. The Vanguards, Comets and Tridents then appear in my album. In the late sixties early seventies the livery changed to the navy blue tails and the union jack arrow. I recall the first time I saw this livery I was very surprised especially as there was a long transition period and some aircraft were not fully painted and some on German services only ever had the navy tails with red writing. This is depicted by a set of two cards from BEA at Berlin Tempelhof with BAC1-11 featured. The idea of marking certain planes on the fuselage with the regions that they were serving came in for such as Channel Islands, and Scottish airways.

This card by Jarrold is of a painting presented by BEA to the Channel island Aero Club to mark 25 years of Channel Island operation by the airline.

Was there a Welsh division also, does anyone remember, perhaps not as Cambrian Airways were linked to BEA. This was then followed by the birth of British Airways as known today following the union of both BEA and BOAC.

I move now to BOAC which I have early drawing postcards of Salmon Comet 5257 and black and white cards from various aircraft of the fleet including Argonaut, Handley Page Hermes, Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, Britannia, Constellations, early Comets, DC7C. All these have white tails and dark blue writing and then the livery is reversed with dark blue tails and white writing. There are various drawing postcards of this era. Comets and Boeing 707 then feature on postcards together with early cards of the VC10. The livery was then modernised with gold writing and a large dark blue strip along the fuselage. The writing was subsequently enlarged in a later version. The Boeing 747 was the last member of the fleet to be added, with the gold writing by the nose changed to dark blue bold letters above, as on this company issue.


Till next time,                                                                       HAPPY COLLECTING



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