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Speedbird Logo & Call Sign
Devised by graphic artist Theyre Lee-Elliot, the famous ‘Speedbird’ Logo first appeared for the Imperial Airways Limited (IAL) in 1938.
With the creation of BOAC as its successor the Logo and matching ‘Speedbird’ Call Sign became synonymous with all its operations.
The design was popular throughout its time at Poole, and even retained on camouflaged aircraft.
BOAC's Marine Terminal 1939-48
Pre-war Salterns had become the location for the future Poole Harbour Yacht Club. As early as 1938 as war was anticipated it was earmarked as the wartime base for Flying Boat operations which would then be moved from Southampton, and further away from any Luftwaffe raid.
The Flying Boats of Imperial Airways Limited were transferred on the declaration of war. However, these then returned to Southampton as a period known as the phoney war ensued.
At the beginning of 1940, when BOAC was confirmed as successor to Imperial Airways operations resumed in earnest using Salterns as the Marine Terminal with a VIP Lounge. BOAC flights continued to the East despite France being overrun, using new routes via West Africa.
Links were kept with the USA by using a shuttle service to Foynes in Eire and connecting with the Clippers of PanAm. Maintenance facilities were retained at Hythe and in the postwar period BOAC completed a move to Southampton Docks by April 1948. Poole Harbour Yacht Club took over Salterns. Today Poole is correctly remembered as being the birthplace of BOAC as a forerunner to British Airways. Salterns now has its Marina.
Salterns Hotel & marina now
Click on the thumbnail image above to view an aerial image with notations (pdf, 3Mb)
Sandbanks was once home to the Walrus, Swordfish, Sea Fox, Sea Otters and Kingfishers ! Not remnants of a historic age, as all these were types of Seaplanes.
In July 1940, Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Sandbanks was then at the Royal Motor Yacht Club to receive No.765 Squadron of the RN Fleet Air Arm relocated from Lee-on-Solent. The Sandbanks new home (known as HMS Daedalus II) had responsibilities for Seaplane Training and the area’s Air-Sea Rescue. Sadly a Walrus with 2 crew was shot down.
The RNAS had a complement of 100 personnel with 12 Seaplanes. WRNS Members were recruited locally and lived at home.
No.766 Squadron had 6 Seaplanes, which were also used at the former Sandbanks Yacht Company site.
In the run up to D-Day No.765 Squadron was disbanded. Today the RMYC with its Boatshed are left to remind us.
RAF Poole was rapidly constructed along the shore at Lake, Hamworthy as a base for military flying boats. This was then commissioned on the 1st August 1942. With a change of name to RAF Hamworthy, it became the home to 461 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force. This was popularly known as ‘The ANZAC Squadron’ as it was formed on 25th April - ANZAC Day, 1942. Its 10 Sunderland flying boats at Hamworthy were under operational control of 19 Group RAF, Coastal Command.
The Sunderlands had been developed from the design of the Empire C-Class. In all 739 were then constructed. Those from Hamworthy saw military action in attacking U-Boats in the S.W. approaches and the Bay of Biscay. Sunderland T9085 was lost on 21st January with 11 crew. 300 staff were based here including crews and engineers. Vital maintenance had to be carried out at the Moorings, on Slipways or the Hard Standing as there was no Hangar.
461 Squadron left by May 1943. Their bravery and exploits when stationed at RAF Hamworthy are remembered today both in Poole and throughout their homeland of Australia. During 1942-1944, eighty-three Squadron Members died. The Squadron’s motto was: “They shall not pass unseen”.
210 Squadron arrived as replacement in late April 1943 and became known as the ‘Catalina Squadron’ after its 12 American-built Flying Boats, when based at RAF Hamworthy.
Fitted with Leigh Lights, they were to continue to fly the vital antisubmarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay. The motto of 210 Squadron had been chosen in Welsh as: “Yn y nwyfre yn hedfan” (Hovering in the Heavens). There were 46 officers, 235 other ranks and 21 WAAF.
One of the officers was John Alexander Cruickshank, who was later awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. When badly injured, he flew his damaged Flying Boat to the Shetlands from the Arctic after sinking a U-Boat.
At the start of 1944 the Squadron was moved, but not before the tragic loss of ‘FP287’ and 8 of the 12 crew after crashing near Round Island in foggy conditions. The Catalinas had left Poole as their base was required for the build-up of forces for D-Day on 6th June 1944. Some 50 ground staff remained at RAF Hamworthy which was taken over by the Royal Navy HMS Turtle in February 1944.
After D-Day, Transport Command deployed to Poole 24 Sunderland Mark III Flying Boats which had been converted for passenger-carrying as the ‘Hythe Class’. These flew long distance to destinations such as Africa, the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Asia & Australia.
During the early 1950s, the hard-standing was used for storage of Flying Boats surplus to BOAC requirements. Many will recall the sad sight of these being scrapped!
The base’s facilities today are home to the Royal Marines.
Click on the thumbnail image above to view the same aerial image with notations (pdf, 3Mb)