FLYING BOAT OPERATIONS 1939-1948
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Lat/Long:RAF HAMWORTHY(RAF POOLE) and BOAC Base(GDCB) - 50.42.25N/01.56.58W.Radio Call Sign(BOAC)"GJX". RNAS SANDBANKS - 50.41.20N/01.56.28W.
Water aerodrome:longest take off/landing run QDM approx 100/280.
Map showing Poole Harbour."A" = RAF Ops/BOAC base,"B" = RNAS Sandbanks.Dotted line shows approximate line of longest trot(take off/landing
Left: 1940 overhead shot of Poole harbour -RAF/BOAC base at mid right. Just left of centre is a Sunderland Flying boat . Right: enlarged image of the Sunderland. .
The story of flying boat/seaplane operations at Poole during WW2 involves 3 separate organizations,the RAF,the Fleet Air Arm and BOAC.
The first of these to arrive was BOAC which transferred it's flying boat operations from Southampton at the beginning of WW2.The company was based in space
requisitioned from the "The Harbour Club & Hotel" at Salterns Pier,Lilliput ("A" on the map).From here services recommenced including those to the USA which restarted 4th August 1940.In addition the
terminal handled the incoming Pan American "Clipper" S-42 aircraft.
At the end of the war ,BOAC did not leave immediately for Southampton,staying on at Poole until April 1948.Services recommenced from Southampton on 14th
April 1948.After this date the only remaining flying boat activity of any kind was the storage and eventual scrapping at Hamworthy of several surplus civilian aircraft in the 50s. The last flying boat to be scrapped here was Solent G-AHIL in June 1958(see picture below).
A section dealing with BOAC operations from Southampton(including BOAC Fleet lists) can be found at the Hampshire Airfields website.
Shortly after BOAC started moving in at Lilliput,the Royal Navy moved its inital seaplane training from HMS Daedalus at Lee-on-Solent to a base at
Sandbanks.The Navy took over the Royal Motor Yacht Club("B" on the map) with a fleet of 18 aircraft.The Navy stayed at Sandbanks,locally known as HMS Tadpole,until the autumn of 1943,when due to the
need for space for the pre-invasion build-up,they withdrew back to Lee-on-Solent.
Last to arrive was the RAF.Work started on 29th June 1942 on a site at Hamworthy.This would be RAF Hamworthy(initally called RAF Poole-this name was changed
a week after opening in August 1942).The RAF also used requistioned space at the Poole Harbour Yacht Club alongside BOAC.Operations as part of No.19 Group Coastal Command started with the arrival on
August 31st 1942 of 461(RAAF) Sqadron with Sunderlands.On the 13th January 1944 control of the station was passed to Transport Command and shortly after,in February the facilities at Hamworthy were
passed to Royal Naval control and RAF Hamworthy officially ceased to exist on 1st May 1944.The Navy occupied the Hamworthy site as HMS Turtle until the end of the war,after which the site was
Nine years later,in 1954 the site was re-opened as the Amphibious School ,Royal Marines.In spite of a succession of name changes over the years,the Royal
Marines remain in occupation today.They currently have two operational Helipads within the establishment at N50.4308/W02.0129(Sports Field) and N50.4326/W02.2127(Parade Ground).(both 65ft
If you want to learn more about Flying boats, visit the Poole Flying Boats Celebration website..
3461(RAAF Sq,Sunderland II/III,arr 31-8-42(some sources say 5-9-42),dep 20-4-43
210Sq,Catalina IIB,arr 21-4-43,disbanded 31-12-43
44 Group,Transport Command ,Sunderland,13-1-44,dep March 44
765 and 766 Seaplane School,Walrus,Swordfish,Seafox,Kingfisher,arr 15-5-40,dep 10-43.
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