Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

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Blackbird
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Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by Blackbird »

Came across this photo which is hopefully of interest. I must have been made aware of it's visit, so went for a walk during my lunch hour.Happy days!
ImageShort Sunderland G-BJHS by Andrew Shaw, on Flickr

Andy

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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by Amp »

I also wandered down to see it there on a couple of lunchtime breaks. Happy days!

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sdad
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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by sdad »

Anybody got a shot with Tower Bridge behind? I only took a closeup.

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capercaillie
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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by capercaillie »

Lovely stuff Andy, never got to see it myself which was a shame.

Just seeing the Tower of London behind, was this an earlier attempt by the government to sneak unwanteds out of the country by air without anyone realising?
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My flickr photos https://www.flickr.com/photos/146673712@N06/

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Blackbird
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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by Blackbird »

I hadn't thought of that Paul, but now you mention it.......😄

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iainpeden
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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by iainpeden »

Is that the one which is now with Kermit Weekes in Florida?
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Blackbird
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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by Blackbird »

I believe so.

melodrama
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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by melodrama »

Fabulous pic. Presume it was towed the other side of Tower Bridge for take off - must have been quite a sight. There must be video of it somewhere you'd hope.

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Blackbird
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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by Blackbird »

I found this on Key Aero which is interesting:

"This aircraft was originally built in 1944 as a Sunderland Mk III and later converted to a Mk V with the American engines. It flew with 3 different countries during the war starting with the British, then the Canadians, and finishing with the Norwegians. After the war, it was later used to haul supplies into Germany during the Berlin Airlift. It then saw service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force operating out of Fiji. In 1964, this aircraft was purchased by Australia’s Ansett flying boats to replace one that was lost moored in a storm. Converted to passenger use, it operated out of Sydney Harbour to Lord Howe Island, an island halfway to New Zealand. When a runway was constructed on the island, it was put up for sale with its companion, a 4-engine Sangringham flying boat. Famous Pan Am Flying Boat Captain Charlie Blair purchased both aircraft in the late 1960’s and flew them half way around the world for use in the Caribbean. After Blair was killed in a seaplane accident in the mid-seventies, the boats sat in Puerto Rico until they were eventually both flown back to England.

In February of 1993, Kermit Weekes purchased the Sunderland from Edward Hulton. Work on the Sunderland continued in England (Calshot) for the next 5 months. In July, Kermit and a crew of five flew the Sunderland across the Atlantic making stops in Ireland, Iceland and Canada. The Sunderland was flown directly to the 1993 Oshkosh Fly-In in Wisconsin and was left there for another year while the seaplane ramp was being constructed at Fantasy of Flight. The Sunderland arrived in Florida in August of 1994. In 1996, the Sunderland was flown to Sarasota, where it participated in the Olympic Torch relay to Atlanta by flying the Torch from Sarasota to Miami on the 4th of July."

Acknowledgement: Key Aero

Berf
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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by Berf »

From Scottish Aircrew Association webpage

It must have been sometime in 1981 that I received a telephone call from a complete stranger. Edward Hulton Jnr told me that he had recently bought a Sunderland Flying Boat. It was currently moored in Marseilles and he would very much like to bring it to England. In conversation, he mentioned that it was his dream to have the aircraft landed on the River Thames. He had been given my name as someone who might be interested.

Sunderland ML814 had been built at Short Bros & Harland’s shipyard at Belfast in 1944. It had served with 201, 330 and 422 (RCAF) Squadrons and transferred to the RNZAF in 1953 to become NZ4108. It went to ANSETT Airways in 1953 as VH-BRF flying in the Pacific with the name “Islander' then to Antiles Air Boats operating under USA Reg. N158J Excaliber. It was bought by Edward Hulton in June 1979 and re-registered in the UK as G-BJHS.

I immediately contacted the Port of London Authority and, after discussions, arranged for an aircraft mooring to be laid between Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast, for the river to be closed to traffic when the aircraft was due to alight, and for Tower Bridge to be opened to allow the aircraft to taxi under the bridge between the landing area downstream of Tower Bridge to the mooring upstream. I also arranged with the appropriate Thames Water departments to have the river swept to ensure that the aircraft would not be damaged by striking floating debris on landing. (I should perhaps mention that, at the time, I was a Director of Thames Water, so it was not too difficult to make all the arrangements).

On Friday 6th August 1982 the aircraft touched down as planned, and using a Thames Water launch, I led it under Tower Bridge to the mooring. As a Freeman of the City of London I am apparently entitled to lead a flock of sheep across London Bridge (usually misinterpreted as Tower Bridge) into the City. I can say without hesitation that I am the only Freeman of the City who has led a Sunderland Flying Boat under Tower Bridge.

The aircraft stayed moored opposite the Tower of London, on the river in a place which is now overlooked by the new London County Hall, for about three months until it was bought by Kermit Weeks, an American millionaire who has a collection of vintage aircraft at his airfield and flying boat base at Oshkosh, to which the aircraft was finally flown. I believe it is still there but do not know whether it is still airworthy. Probably not.

Published by kind permission of Wing Commander Derek Martin, OBE, MID, BSc. author of “The Webfooted Guinea Pig” (2000).

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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by Blackbird »

Thank you Berf - and (very) well done you! 👏👏👏
A very interesting bit of history.

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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by Amp »

Berf, that article is a good read.
@ sdad, the article also has a colour picture including the bridge, search: Scottish aircrew association Sunderland.

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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by pphillips »

I too worked in London. This is a scan of one of my B&W's I took of the Sunderland on 10 August 1982.
ImageScan of G-BJHS Sunderland on the River Thames on 10 August 1982 by wokinghampaul, on Flickr

Paul

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Re: Short Sunderland - London, September 1982

Post by lynothehammer »

pphillips wrote:
Sat 27 Apr 2024, 2:09 pm
I too worked in London. This is a scan of one of my B&W's I took of the Sunderland on 10 August 1982.
ImageScan of G-BJHS Sunderland on the River Thames on 10 August 1982 by wokinghampaul, on Flickr

Paul
Love this photo so much, what a sight...

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