Cat no. 22

National Aviation Day Display

Running time1:16 Black & White Silent 1935 Colchester, Essex

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Aviation display by Alan Cobham's Flying Circus

Genre:

Amateur

Above the heads of the crowd, planes fly low and perform aerobatics. People inspect a plane on the ground and there are views of an engine and inside the cockpit. The pilot walks away from a plane with another man in shirtsleeves who appears to be Sir Alan Cobham. A plane performs with someone standing on the wing and people gather for pleasure rides. The final shots show a three-engine plane. These aviation displays around the United Kingdom were known as "National Aviation Day Displays" and “Alan Cobham’s Flying Circus.” The planes are G-ABUL, G-ABAY and G-ABSI.

Background Information:

When this film was received in the archive in 1976, it was noted that this was probably filmed at Blue Barnes Airfield, situated off the Ipswich Road, almost into Ardleigh. Blue Barnes Airfield was originally the headquarters of a private flying club but has reverted to farmland and orchards.

The dates of the 1935 tour appear on this website http://www.afleetingpeace.org/index.php/14-business-and-pleasure/160-1935-at-a-glance#lastdisplay The closest listed location to Colchester is Walton-on-the-Naze 9 July 1935 and other east coast locations during that week.

Sir Alan John Cobham, KBE, AFC (6 May 1894 – 21 October 1973) was an English aviation pioneer.

Alan Cobham was born in 1894. He joined the army in 1914, transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. After the war he went into partnership with F.J.V. and J.D.V. Holmes and founded Berkshire Aviation Tours Limited, having purchased an Avro 540K from the Aircraft Disposals Company.

He set many aviation records. These included flying 5,000 miles around Europe and flying 8,000 miles around North Africa. He won the King’s Cup Air Race, flew to Cape Town and back and pioneered an aircraft route to Morocco. He was knighted for his services to aviation in 1926.

National Aviation Day Limited was founded in 1932 to take air displays all over the country. They offered flights for 3/6d. The economics of this operation were marginal. Flights were very short, perhaps no more than a minute. The displays became known as “Cobham’s Air Circuses.” The show filmed here toured the country to raise money for these record attempts. They continued until 1935 so this is one of the later shows (For further information see: Aeroplane Monthly, August, 1973).

Featured Events:

Aviation Day Display 1935

Sidney Mann

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