Aquila and Winston Churchill
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Actor, comedian, Goon, Singer, writer Harry Secombe with.........?
Churchill and his party just after disembarking at Southampton's Berth 50
In keeping with the theme of famous passengers, Aquila had their fair share over the years too. Flying to film star locations like Capri and Marseilles saw to that.
But arguably their most noted passenger was Winston Churchill, who visited Madeira regulalry to rest, write his memoirs and to paint.
To the left we have a photo of Churchill painting in the seaside village of Camara de Lobos, just to the west of Funchal on Madeira. Aquila's flying boats used to land in Funchal Bay.
Churchill had lost the 1945 General Election, and whilst on retreat in Madeira early 1950, the sitting Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee called a General Election. So Churchill had to return to Britain quickly.
Churchill and his party of four boarded the Aquila Airways service from Funchal to Southampton on 12th January 1950. Aquila's Captain Andrew Evans was in command of Hampshire, a Shorts Sunderland flying boat (G-AGEU) for the 9 hour flight back to Britain.
The flight was uneventfull, Churchill was attended too by Aquila's Chief Steward David McInroy and Stewardess Audrey Feavyer. They reported he ate a hearty breakfast and had lunch, enjoyed his cigars and slept during the afteroon; looking well rested when they arrived. Though thick fog at Southampton only cleared just in time to avoid a divert to the RAF Flying Boat station in Pembroke Dock - South Wales.
In thanks for the safe flight back, Churchill signed Captain Evans' Log Book and also gave him a copy of his Memoirs to date. The set was later completed and Churchill also inscribed Volume 1 for Evans. The signed log book page is below.
|The set of Memoirs including the Log Book
||Letter to Captain Evans
Inscribed for Captain Evans by Winston Churchill - 1950
Churchill lost the 1950 General Election to Labour's Attlee, but by a greatly reduced margin.
In 1951 the Labour PM Clement Attlee called a "Snap" General Election - with just 34 days notice - hoping to increase his slim majority. He lost and Churchill became Prime Minister for his 2nd term in office.