Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The 'Hengist' Handley Page HP42 - and, of course, J.S.Haldane


One real joy of biography is finding what's lost then sharing it. These images from early 1936 are unlikely to make it into my biography of J.S.Haldane, but since they're probably a rare treasure for aviation enthusiasts I offer them here.
The Hengist was a Handley Page HP42 biplane, built in Hertfordshire, flying in the East for Imperial Airlines. The first picture was taken at Gaza before the plane's departure for Rutba and Baghdad. The second photo was on arrival at Shaiba. In that shot Dr J.S.Haldane is second from the right, in conversation with a Mr F. Yeats-Brown. The plane was destroyed in an air hangar fire in Karachi the following year.
It gave me real pleasure to discover these photos in a family album - most especially pertinent considering the vital role played by Haldane in enabling high-altitude flying.

2 Comments:

Blogger Soi-dissenting said...

How interesting - that F.Yeats-Brown is the author of 'The Bengal Lancer' (also known as 'Lives of a Bengal Lancer') published in 1933 and very well-known. I just picked up the book in a secondhand bookshop in Deal yesterday, and after being intrigued by the author's experiences on the North-West frontier (Pakistan/Afghanistan border), and its military relevance to today, and also the author's spiritual quest, I wanted to find out more about him....nice to see this photo, even though Yeats-Brown can't be viewed very clearly.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Thanks for pointing that out ... a lovely 'spot'. I'm learning to appreciate how much one 'life' blends with all the lives that surround it, and this is a fine example of that which I hadn't worked out for myself.

3:51 PM  

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