Issue Date: 12/04/2018
Issue Name: 85th Anniversary of GWR Airways
Producer: Buckingham Covers
Our latest rail cover celebrates the 85th anniversary of the Great Western Railway Airway. This lovely cover features a photograph of the Westland Wessex plane and has a Post & Go Mail by Air stamp (our choice of stamp), along with a special Cardiff postmark (12th April, 2018).
On 12 April 1933, the Great Western Railway started a daily air service to carry passengers and mail between Cardiff and Plymouth, calling on the way at Haldon aerodrome (for Torquay and Teignmouth).
The plane used was a Westland Wessex six seater belonging to Imperial Airways, but repainted in GWR colours.
The GWR was allowed to carry railway mail under the Post Office Railway Letter Agreement, but it was unclear whether this permission extended to air mail. Post Office agreement followed on 15 May 1933.
The last GWR Air Service mail flight was on 30 September 1933, but because of fog it only flew from Birmingham as far as Cardiff. Operations were suspended for the winter months, but the scheduled recommencement was overtaken.
On 21 March 1934, the ‘Big Four’ railways (LNER, LMSR, GWR and SR) came together with Imperial Airways to form the new Railway Air Services Limited (RAS). The airline’s main base was at London’s Croydon Airport (except that this was transferred to Liverpool Airport during World War II).
The RAS was absorbed into the nationalised company BEA in 1947.
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