This, the 50th flying boat walk-round on this site, just had to be special but I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would see this one!!! The pictures shown here are from the official Saunders-Roe files and were taken by a member of the Aeronautical Inspection Department (A.I.D.) during the actual construction to form a permanent record. Upon visiting one of my favorite second-hand bookshops, Falconwood Books, in Welling, Kent, a chance conversation with the proprietor, Andy Doran, about 'looking for anything about flying boats' lead to him showing me the most fabulous photographic album, then in his ownership, which contained the original prints you see here. This album was made by the original photographer, who has sadly passed on. I was absolutely dumfounded, never having seen them before in print anywhere, and when I finished drooling, just happened to say ' wouldn't it be nice if these could be scanned' when, lo-and-behold, he provided me with a cd containing all the prints on it. This gallery is the result. The original album has since changed hands, however, Andy gave his permission for SEAWINGS to display the images. I would like to think that the current owner would be happy also to have a permanent record on this site.
I am aware that a few of these images are of little use to the scale modeler but are included here just to keep the record complete. Just look at the workmanship on all these parts; remember that the construction is pre-computer age and the vast majority are hand-made or hand-finished by skilled craftsmen with a pedigree of flying boat construction to rival anywhere in the world at that time. The care and attention to detail beggars belief. Each and every image repays careful viewing to take in all the intricate details from an age that has all but disappeared altogether. And the most poignant image is the last one, which confirms that all this fine work was for nothing; the flying boat era had died and the Princess's were scrapped without a second thought. What a waste...............
These images are priceless, absolutely priceless. Therefore, with that thought in mind, SEAWINGS is proud to dedicate this gallery to the memory of Mr. K.J. Meekcoms, whose album this originally was, to thank him from every flying boat enthusiast for keeping this record safe and sound for over half a century. Also, very grateful thanks are due to Andy Doran, without whose kind generosity none of this would ever have been possible. May all your future books be rare first editions, Andy!!