WHAT DO YOU KNOW
follow up was received on the Handley Page cards, so here are some new research
topics. The first one is a bit “blind”. I was shown a card at a local
postcard club and had hoped to get a scan for inclusion but
it was not available when time ran out. So
here are the basic details :-
real photographic. No title or
engined biplane Flying Boat or Amphibian RAF
markings, serial (?) N179
Resting on a cradle on land, river
2 workers standing to attention on
the lower wing. VIP party in foreground,
one in naval uniform, one in mayoral regalia.
Naval VIP looks like the Prince of
Wales, later, briefly Edward VIII
Bow of craft similar to
Supermarine Sea Eagle
did the Prince of Wales inspect the
riverside Supermarine works at Woolston, Southampton, and if so when, and was
there a Supermarine boat serialed N179 and if so what type?
second mystery card, which is illustrated, came with a collection including a
mixture of postcard-backed and other photographs of a RAF base somewhere
tropical. The cards include a number of
groups in pith helmet/shorts uniforms including one in cricket gear together
with local players in a mixture of muslim/cricket
dress. This raises the suspicion that the site may be Karachi or somewhere else
in the present Pakistan.. Other photos show unusual visitors including a Fokker
titled Ciudad de Buenos Aires and a biplane in apparently French markings.
Such exotics would seem likely to have routed through
Karachi rather than more remote bases.
set the scene , here is another exotic visitor.
is the worst possible view for single engine props that share a common engine,
but this looks like a Bristol F2B Fighter or variant. The Asian member of the team looks on first glance to be wearing a
modern US style cap but the magnifying glass reveals a star motif.
Similarly, the underside of the lower wings show inscriptions in Arabic.
So we have :-
an Asian, probably military person,
in a non British uniform
a Bristol Fighter with markings in
The only independent Arabic-using states in the region at the time were Iran and Afghanistan. The Star motif in the uniform resembles that in the design of early Afghan stamps (philatelic members please confirm).
the Afghan Air Force established with Bristol Fighter equipment ?
Now, up to WW2, Janes All the Worlds Aircraft used to review World Air
Forces and Airlines as well as aircraft.
Under “Afghanistan” the 1938 edition says…
original Afghan Military air arm during the reign of ex-King Amanullah consisted
of about 15 machines. There was an aerodrome and sheds at Kabul. The personnel
were Russian. About 50 Afghan youths were sent to Russia to be trained. Plans
were made to build aerodromes at Herat, Kandahar, Muzarisharif and Jelalabad
(It is not clear when this was or whether it was Imperial Russia or the
the British Government supplied two Bristol Fighters to the Afghan Government.
The Afghans had at that time two German pilots.”
submit that this is one of the Bristols on delivery.
Pity there is not a fiercely competitive group of Afghan collectors on
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