09/20/2002. Remarks by Ron Dupas: given to me by a highschool friend, Dwight Thomas, who received it from a pen-pal, the young man standing by the fence.
02/11/2003. Remarks by Des
Nicholas: "This photograph shows one of the three Saunders-Roe
Princess Flying Boats cocooned at Cowes just across the
river Medina from where they were built at East Cowes. The other
two were stored at Calshot near Southampton waiting for possible
buyers. When none were found all three were broken up.
I was lucky enough to see Princess G-ALUN take off on it's first
flight in 1952 when I was twelve. My brother and I had gone down to
watch what we had been told would be taxiing trials. After a short
time taxiing the aircraft swung into wind and took off. At the time
the only aircraft of similar size were the Bristol Brabazon and
Hughes' 'Spruce Goose'. As kids we were highly impressed, the
aircraft made a wonderful noise probably somewhat like a
My godfather Harold Palmer was one of the flight observers during
the tests of G-ALUN, the only Princess to fly.
This photograph brought back many memories: we used to pass this
aircraft after crossing from East Cowes to Cowes or back again on the
floating bridge. I remember that as we used to pass by, the plane did
not appear to look particularly big although at the time it was as
big as they got, weighing about 140 tons. The quay that the Princess
was stored at had previously been Thetis yard and dry dock that
Thomas White, father of John Samuel White, the Cowes shipbuilder, had
constructed in 1815 to repair ships up to 800 tons. It had also been
used to store Sunderland flying boats and Walrusses. The Sunderland
used to test the Princess's flying control system and one of the Saro
SRA1 (Squirt) jet flying boats was also there for a while."
04/14/2003. Remarks by Colin
Urry: "This photo
shows G-ALUN on the slip at Cowes. One of the
reasons that all 3 boats were around for so long was that NASA had
indicated an interest in using them on a program to test an airborne
nuclear powerplant. Imagine that bellying into Heathrow!"
01/28/2005. Remarks by Dave
de Bourcier: "On August 22, 1952 I was stationed, as a
National Serviceman, at RAF Calshot, learning "a trade"
prior to being posted to 1103 Section, Air Sea Rescue, Felixstowe. On
that day all of our boats, pinnaces, crash-boats, and fire-boats were
stationed along an approximately five mile stretch of the Solent,
north of Cowes, in case of misadventure during the first trial-taxi
and/or flight of the Princess Flying Boat.
I recall that as the great aircraft made it's run in front of us a
Sunderland taxied beneath each great wing right up to the point of
take-off. I assume they were collecting technical data about what was
taking place. The Princess did successfully take off and did complete
one circuit, probably around the coast of the Isle of Wight, and then
I'm not sure if it ever took off again, but within a few short weeks,
while I was yet at Calshot, one of the three Princesses that were
built (I'm not sure if it was the one that flew) was hauled up on the
slip at Calshot. Special winches were installed into the slipway in
order to accomplish this. The aircraft was secured on the end of the
spit, with one wing right overhanging the old Calshot tower, and
there it was mothballed.
When I returned to England, on holiday in 1960, as the m.v.
"Italia" steamed up the Solent en route to Southampton, the
Princess was still sitting there at the end of Calshot Spit. How very
Additional photo (David Horn Collection). View also photo 608 and 10571.