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 Post subject: Silver Queen (1920)
PostPosted: 12 Jul 2023, 18:06 
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Joined: 13 Jul 2004, 13:06
Posts: 3360
Location: In .... S.E.A & M.E.N.A. et al
In 1919, the Daily Mail (England) offered a prize of £10,000 for the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic, shortly thereafter Australia offered a similar prize for the first flight to Australia, this was also followed by the South African Government that offered a similar prize for the first flight from the United Kingdom to South Africa (Cape Town). The route between London and Cape Town was regarded as a challenge as no one had done the full distance yet.

Therefore, in December 1919, the British Air Ministry announced ground surveys had been completed of 43 airfields along the route by the Royal Air Force (RAF), on the ‘Africa Route’, of which 24 could be used for refuelling and the remaining 19 were suitable for emergency landings if required. Three teams were assigned to the survey task, ‘Party 1’ (Cairo to Nimule [Sudan]); ‘Party 2’ (Nimule to Abercorn) and ‘Party 3’ (Abercorn to Broken Hill and the along the rail line to Cape Town).

In January 1920, the London Times (England) also offered a prize for the first flight from London to Cape Town as soon as the RAF had declared the route ‘open’. Less than a month later, a Vickers Vimy set out on this epic flight from England to South Africa, piloted by Capt. S. Cockerel and Capt. F.C. Broome; on 24 January 1920. General Jan Smuts wanted a South African to be the first, so he authorised the purchase of a Vickers Vimy with modified Rolls-Royce engines for the flight, at an acquisition cost of £4,500. In doing this he authorised the first ‘un-official’ flight of the South African Air Force. The main (intended) route: Brooklands to Derna to Wadi Haifa to Bulawayo to Cape Town, however the aircraft did not have the 'legs' to fly these distances between the planned route stated.

On 4 February 1920, Lt Col Pierre van Ryneveld and Major Quintin Brand set out from the United Kingdom (London) to the Union to pioneer the first trans-Africa flight , accompanied by Mr Burton (airframe engineer) and Mt F.W. Sherratt (aircraft & engine) both technicians, finally landing at Youngsfield (Cape Town) 45 days later (20 March 1920), during which they flew a total of 109,5 hours.


I have been doing research into the flight and various sources provide route detail and dates, however, conflicting.

1. Can any member provide me with route detail (dates and stops), that I can use to correlate and establish the most likely / accurate route data please.

2. Any images that may be available of the Vimy would be appreciated too.

3. Airfields surveyed by the RAF teams?

All assistance / support greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance

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