Cat no. 615

The Great Scott

Running time3:37 Black & White Silent 1934 Mildenhall, Suffolk

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Profile of famous pilots C.W.A. Scott and T. Campbell Black.

Genre:

Documentary

A shot of the DH88 Comet aeroplane 'Grosvenor House.' It is tuned by a mechanic. The aeroplanes 'Douglas Air Liner' (Douglas DC2) and 'Boeing' (Boeing 247D) that came second and third are also shown taxiing. The Prince of Wales inspects 'Grosvenor House' with Scott and Black. He leaves an aircraft of the Royal Dutch Air Line and shakes hands with officials. His Majesty King George V shakes hands with Scott and Black. Her Majesty Queen Mary is also present. There are shots of all three planes taking off at dawn the next morning although the one captioned Douglas Air Liner is in fact a Pander S.4 Postjager.

Background Information:

'Grosvenor House.' The DH88 Comet 'Grosvenor House' was designed and built by de Havilland for the race. It had a wing span of 44 feet and during the race its average speed was 176.8 mph. Scott and Black completed the trip to Australia in 70 hours, 54 minutes and 18 seconds. Mr. J.C. Dade of Norwich remembers it standing derelict at the airfield in Gravesend in 1941. The Air Ministry had asked the owners to remove it but they hadn't done so. The 'Grosvenor' has been restored. It is in the Shuttleworth Collection at old Warden Airfield near Bedford. Mildenhall's Cinema was named 'The Comet' in memory of the race.C.W.A. Scott and T. Campbell Black. Scott and Black did not have such happy ending. Scott was killed in an accident at Speke Airport, Liverpool in 1936. Black committed suicide following his divorce in April 1946.

Mildenhall Aerodrome was the first new-style bomber base and opened in 1934, although the army had been flying planes from the area from about 1912. Work on the aerodrome began in October 1930. Hangers 1 to 5, built during this time are still in use today. The first recorded air craft to use the aerodrome touched down for a few minutes on 19th March, 1931. The first identified aircraft arrival was an American Ford tri-motor monoplane that landed on 16th April, 1934. The Station was officially opened on 16th October, 1934.

The RAF handed control of Mildenhall Aerodrome to the USAF in 1950. They are still there.Mildenhall was elected as the starting place of the race because of its hanger accommodation. 60 - 70,000 people turned up to watch the start of the race. Local hotel accommodation was hopelessly inadequate, leading to dissatisfaction. he stewards found the crowd hard to control and a week before the beginning of the race, competitors were complaining of damage caused to aircraft. Although 63 competitors registered only 20 started the race. The Station still hadn't been equipped by the RAF - at one stage a potato sack served as a windsock until someone sewed two pillow cases together. Although the organisers had known that the Prince of Wales, an enthusiastic pilot himself, had intended to make an informal visit, it was only a few hours beforehand that they discovered that the King and Queen intended to come. The King inspected some of the aircraft due to fly in the race. The Queen claimed that this was the first time he had been on an aeroplane - he hated them!

The Great England to Australia Air Race, 1934. The race was stated at 6.30 am by the acting Lord Mayor of London. Parmentier and Moll's KLM entrant was a Douglas DC 2, which also carried paying passengers and mail bags. The last plane to land was a Fairey Fox flown by Hemsworth and Parer which finished on February 13th after 116 days.

Featured People:

HM King George V; HM Queen Mary; HRH The Prince of Wales; C.W.A. Scott, pilot; T. Campbell Black, pilot

Featured Events:

The Great England to Australia Air Race, 1934 (MacRobertson)

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