The British Empire and its effect on Plymouth


Alan Cobham at Roborough


Alan Cobham was de Haviland's Test Pilot and an aviation superstar of the 1920s. He then became the first pilot for the newly formed de Havilland Aeroplane Hire Service. This photograph shows him with AVRO 536, G-EAKM, belonging to the Surrey Flying Services, in a field near the George Hotel, Roborough, waiting to take joy-riders on a flight. This particular plane actually crashed in July 1928 injuring 3 people at Taplow although with no fatalities.

His 1923 flight from the polo field in Roborough to Manchester was all part of a proof of concept to encourage wider use of aeroplanes to promote the aviation industry as a whole. In 1925 he flew from London to Cape Town and back and in 1926 flew from Britain to Australia. In 1927/8 he flew on a 23,000 mile journey around Africa landing only in British colonies to show how aviation could link the Empire. From this particular journey he returned to Plymouth Sound in a Short Singapore flying boat (which were also based at RAF Mountbatten).

Photograph courtesy of Brian Moseley


Empire in Your Backyard: Plymouth Article



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by Stephen Luscombe