Click pictures to view larger image
*These images are copies of photos in the H. Fellows photo album, held in Tony Swain’s Collection, unless otherwise noted. Final disposition of the album is unknown.
Many years ago… Whoa! At 74 it’s bemusing to say that about stuff I did. Way back when we published the ‘Western Warbird News’ people knew I liked old flying stuff, so folks often turned up with old photo albums wanting slides for family entertainment.
It was a finicky time-consuming process and old photos are fascinating, but their owners thought them nothing special, "Seen ‘em all before."
We made a back-up set in case of loss and for me to show friends. Some never came back, leaving quite a collection over the years. Sadly with rarely any info of the Who, What, Where or When which makes a coherent presentation hard, they languish in the great Swain Archive in the sky.
Actually I delve through four archives to help the muse. Accessible personal stuff appears occasionally for a bit of a laugh. Sadly those depths are now plumbed and leaving stuff about cars, boats or motorbikes… Sigh, hence I’m into the Great Slide Archive.
Not easy to do, hidden away in a dusty corner on the top floor of this rambling old place, just under the roof. Tucked behind The Mary’s bulging roll top desk, old boots, seized slide projectors, and a 486 DOS laptop.
The tatty index listed some interesting WW 1 stuff, by an H. Fellows, supposedly in file box 77. No box 77? Sigh! Victim of an ill-fated box re-numbering saga.
WHO’S THIS FELLOWS
Sometime in the 1980’s the Billy Bishop Legion called about a photo album being tossed after a nursing home resident, H. Fellows, passed away with no known family. Would I like to see it? Rita recalled a quiet old guy, who she thought was in aviation from the start. The pictures are fascinating.
They predate WW 1! In 1912 on Salisbury Plain, at Larkhill, 25 miles north of Bournemouth was Britain’s hotbed of aeroplane activity, shown graphically in these photos! And is still so today!
RAF Flight Test Centre Boscombe Down is across the heath. Old Sarum’s vintage aircraft are down the road and Middle Wallop military base just over the hill. The greats of aviation gathered there.
Even earlier, American showman, Col. S.F. Cody wowed everyone with his British Army Aeroplane No. 1.
The Hangars are identified as The British and Colonial Aeroplane Co. Ltd, Works at Bristol, Filton. Many historic aircraft are featured in the collection. Bristol Boxkites, Biplanes, Monoplanes, The Dunne Biplane, Coventry Ordnance Plane, A Bleriot, 50 HP Hanriot, the 100 HP Duperdussin, Farman /Voisin, et al.
I’m no pre WW 1 aeroplane expert, and even after frantic research through my airplane history books, many of these aircraft look identical. Sigh!
A PROPER GENTLEMAN
Tantalizingly, even though our quiet friend is obviously in the thick of the action, it’s never apparent what he actually does. He appears to be gentry. Dapper, with pipe, flat cap, proper gentleman’s dress, fob watch, natty britches and fine riding boots, he stands calmly with the principals of the group. And he has a strangely permanent black eye?
Was he an investor? Instructor? Prospective aircraft owner? We never know.
A couple of times he’s in an airplane. In the passenger, or instructor’s seat in a Bristol Boxkite, Farman, or Voisin? Then he’s apparently about to fly a pristine Bristol Monoplane. Is he testing, purchasing, or what?
We do know from the other 100 or so archived pics, that he finally went to war with the Royal Naval Air Service, flying Sopwith Triplanes at Dunkerque and St. Eloi, with No.s 8 and 208 Squadrons. He then remustered to 213 Squadron RAF, at Staelhille and Ostend, Belgium, with his friends, Majors Taylor and Graham.
He’s shown relaxing in his tent, his bed, and kitchen and at Christmas in a dilapidated Quonset hut - the officer’s mess. There’s bent wingtips, ‘prang’ hero pilot pics, jolly groups of RAF ‘Chaps’ with shot down ‘Jerry’ pilots, and vice versa!
There are miserable photos of infantry trenches and blasted battlefields, and captured enemy photos of the Kaiser strolling with his staff!
SO ENDS A VETERAN’S TALE
But eventually, ‘H’ appears in a group photo worse for wear, his arm in a sling. Followed by pics of ladies visiting among the aircraft, then one special girl, and finally, a handsome couple strolling down Granville Street, in Vancouver. Friendly Ghosts from the past. So who was this charming Fellows couple?
All in all an amazing record, in a scruffy old album and unless one of you can make a connection, his life remains anonymous. Sigh. Enjoy the pictures, I did.
ROUND ENGINE LADIES
Delta folks were delighted recently when two professional aviation women turned up. They arrived together by coincidence and had never previously met. Turned out both were Beech 18 pilot, and were out and about looking for Bush Pilot work.
Kirsten Brazier and a partner restored a Beech 18 on floats up in North West Ontario, planning to fly ‘The Bush.’ Sadly a catastrophic engine failure and forced landing ended all that and Kirsten headed west for work.
Some years ago she checked out in tail-draggers with Delta old-timer Dan McGowan. And later won the highest ever amount for a 99‘s Aviation Scholarship, which she used for a B.C. Forestry Approved Mountain course, on a Bell 206 Helicopter. So she really craves work in helicopters.
Kimberly Nixon was a corporate pilot for North American Airlines in Northern Alberta, and flew Beech 18’s during crew changes. Kimberly is a history buff, and came to Delta Heritage Air Park to enjoy the ambiance of a genuine grass roots airfield.
She’s into restoring historic buildings big time, including Christ Church Cathedral’s interior, and the Britannia Building.
She owns a vintage 1947 Cessna 120, in Brazilian Air Force livery, which she keeps near Vancouver. Both ladies are COPA Members, and we all wish them well in their aviation careers.
The Mary heard their round engine talk and enthusiastically joined in. So we had three Round Engine Ladies chattering away about the wonderful sounds and smells of these big oily engines. Sigh. We hope they visit again soon.
LOVE STILL IN THE AIR
As reported elsewhere, South Delta Leader Newspaper reporter Kristine Thiessen received her COPA Appreciation Award for her delightful story about Delta Air Park. It so happened that when she arrived The Mary and I happened to be the volunteers on hand at the time, so naturally, much of her story was hung on our regular duties about the place.
The result was her ‘Love is in the Air’ tale featuring us, splashed across the front page of the Valentine Week edition staring at us from every vending box!
COPA Western Vice Chair, Terry Wilshire, made the presentation at Tsawwassen’s Historic Cammidge House, at the Metro Vancouver Parks volunteer’s excellent Christmas Luncheon.
Thank you Kristine. Good news stories about aviation are rare indeed, and yours was a gem!
AND THAT’S ALL FOLKS
It’s New Year’s Day as I write this. Snow still lies heavy on the ground - the deepest since 1964, about 50 cms!
In 1964, I arrived back from a Christmas in Hawaii, leis and all, to a blizzard, three hour taxi ride downtown, and couldn’t find my little TR3 under the snow. I called in work to apologize and the switchboard girl was the only one there! Those were the days. Sigh.
But this got pretty close. The Mary’s sister picked her up today in her 4 X 4, and they went to Delta to spread New Year Cheer and give my excuses. Sigh! Belated Happy New Year to everyone. Fly safe now! Cheers.
Tony Swain & The Mary, Old COPA Guys.