In April this year there was a report that AirSea Lines were hoping to bring back seaplane services to Southampton in time for the 2012 Olympic Games. At one time the Southampton area had a number of seaplane services. I had forgotten about this until I read over the weekend in the Guardian that the first commercial seaplane service for over 50 years had started, from Glasgow to west coast towns and islands in Scotland.
I was on one of those last flights from Southampton which, according to one site, continued until 3 November 1950. My mother took my sister and myself out to Africa to join our father while he was working there.
The Sunderland never flew at night so it was, by comparison with today’s flights, a very leisurely trip, taking four days to arrive on Lake Nyasa [now Lake Malawi]. As we took off and gathered speed on Southampton Water the body of the plane seemed to descend into the waves which lashed against the windows, quite frightening I could see, to the tiny figure in the enormous seat beside me.
Photo from Southampton Flying Boat Services site
My mother was quite an intrepid traveller. After the four days of travel, she arrived with us at Monkey Bay to find that my father was no longer there. He had been posted elsewhere and the only hotel was closed, so off she set with one six month old baby and a toddler to find him, using a variety of cars and planes, from Monkey Bay to Fort Johnston (now Mangochi) to Zomba to Mzimba to Karonga.
I'm labeling this with "memories" but actually, I don't remember any of it!