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Summary: Aircraft of 18 Squadron RAF flying a mail delivery service from Britain for the occupying forces in Cologne, May-August 1919.
Description: Some of the squadron's Airco DH9 aircraft are wheeled out of their hangars at Hawkinge aerodrome near Lympne in Kent. A mail truck arrives with sacks of mail for Cologne, and these are piled into the rear gunner's seat of each aircraft. The planes take off, one of them acting as a camera plane, and fly out over Kent, passing a speeding train, before crossing the English Channel. They fly over the Belgian coast, and on inland to the squadron base at Merheim aerodrome near Cologne. They overfly Cologne and come in to land. Trucks take the mail from the planes to a sorting depot in the middle of the city. British soldiers and sailors are seen reading their letters on the banks of the Rhine. A view of Cologne Cathedral. The return journey (in fact a fake using most of the same scenes as the outward journey, and with an interpolated shot of an Avro 504 landing) shows the planes being loaded with mail again and flying back over the Channel. They come in to land at Hawkinge and trucks collect the mail from them.
Production Details: Royal Air Force (Production sponsor)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: Royal Air Force, Sqdn 18 (regiment/service)
Keywords: aircraft, British - combat: De Havilland DH9 (Airco) (object name)
communications, British air - postal: [+] (object name)
communications, British military - postal (object name)
buildings, German - religious: cathedral (object name)
First World War, Armistice & 5/1919=8/1919 (event)
Hawkinge, Kent, England, UK (geography)
Germany & Merheim, North Rhine Westphalia (geography)
Germany & Cologne, North Rhine Westphalia <cathedral> (geography)
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 1112 ft; Running time: 17 mins
Notes: Title: this is taken from the shotsheet
Remarks: flying over water was an unusual, and still quite hazardous, activity at this time. The fact that the British would go to such lengths to provide a method for their troops to write home shows how important for morale this was seen to be