Flying Radlett to Paris for £25

In 1919 the government lifted restrictions on civil flying in Britain and aircraft manufacturer Frederick Handley Page decided to establish his own fledgling airline, Handley Page Transport Limited, which was equipped with converted wartime surplus bombers.

On 25 August 1919 Aircraft Travel & Transport Limited (AT&T) started the world’s first sustained international commercial air service, which flew between London and Paris. Eight days later, on 2 September 1919, Handley Page Transport inaugurated their Paris service, flying from Radlett Aerodrome.

The flight would set you back £25 for a single ticket, or £40 for a return, not a great deal compared to today’s low cost airlines, but a small fortune almost a century ago. Continue reading “Flying Radlett to Paris for £25”

Remarkable War Hero Related to British Airways and Sherlock Holmes

The Second World War fighter ace Wing Commander Alan Geoffrey Page DSO, OBE, DFC and Bar is without doubt a remarkable man.

After being shot down during the Battle of Britain in 1940 he became the founding member of the infamous Guinea Pig Club, made up of severely burnt servicemen who benefited from pioneering reconstructive surgery during the Second World War.

He was also the nephew of Frederick Handley Page, the aviation pioneer whose company Handley Page Transport established a scheduled passenger service from Radlett Aerodrome to Paris in 1919. The company merged with four others in 1929 to establish Imperial Airways, which subsequently evolved into today’s British Airways.

In 1946, Page married Pauline Bruce, the daughter of the British actor Nigel Bruce, who co-starred with Basil Rathbone in numerous Sherlock Holmes films as well as the classic 1938 film Dawn Patrol with Errol Flynn and David Niven. The Hollywood legend, actor C. Aubrey Smith, was Page’s best man at the wedding. Continue reading “Remarkable War Hero Related to British Airways and Sherlock Holmes”