Friday, April 13, 2012

Sepia Saturday 121 : One Of Theirs


Our theme for Sepia Saturday this week is flight and it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Flying Corp. Looking through the old family photograph albums I couldn't find any photographs of family members boarding ancient biplanes or even shots of Auntie Miriam in a hot air balloon. Thinking about it, I have a feeling that I might have been the first member of my family to ever set foot in an aeroplane when I flew to Paris in 1973 (although, no doubt, my brother will write in to say that he beat me to it by five years!).

But I have found a photograph and it comes from one of the splendidly annotated albums of my Uncle Frank. It is precisely dated "Liverpool 1940" and the page is entitled "They Remind Us". There are two photographs of planes high in the sky. Under one it says "one of ours" and under the other "one of theirs". The large photograph shows "one of theirs" - I am featuring theirs not from any unpatriotic motive, it is just a better and sharper image - whilst the enlargement to the left shows "one of ours".  No doubt, there will be people who can tell me precisely what types of planes these are - back in Liverpool in 1940, Uncle Frank could obviously spot the difference between the outlines of the RAF and the Luftwaffe (I suppose back in those days it was a necessary and important skill).

So as we celebrate Sepia Saturday 121 and the anniversary of the Royal Flying Corp, let us be thankful that we no longer have to look nervously up into the sky to determine whether it is one of ours or one of theirs.


Take a flight over to the Sepia Saturday Blog to see what other departures to the world of old photographs are scheduled for this weekend.

36 comments:

  1. Who would be so nerdy as to look up what planes they were?

    By the way, the Jerry oen is a Heinkel He 111.

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    1. Now why did I know that the second sentence would be following the first with the certainty that night follows day, May follows April, and discriminating readers follow The Thoughts of Chairman Bill.

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  2. However, I could be wrong! The picture was taken in daylight, and the bomber raids were at night time. My old dear was at RAF Woodvale up the road near Southport. It certainly looks like a bomber.

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  3. The phrase, 'air of menace' might have been coined with that first photograph in mind, Alan.

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  4. We had RAF crews billeted with us all through the war; sadly some did not come back from bombing raids. I wish I could remember what they flew - Wellingtons of Lancasters would be my guess.

    Hopefully someone will confirm Bill's Heinkel and tell us about the one of ours.

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  5. OK, I'll stick my oar in as well. Can't make out the aircraft in the top shot, but there are a few clues for someone to follow up in the second shot.
    This seems to be a large bi-plane, and the tailplane also seems to be of twin plane construction, rather than a single surface. While it is indistinct, it seems to have an engine in the nose, so it could well be a tri-motor, but not a German Ju52 or American Ford tri-motor as these were monoplane. My guess is that this is not a WW2 aircraft but a pre-war type, possible civil airliner of the time.

    Now I'll wait to get shot down - as it were.

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  6. That reminds me of the scend in 1969's Battle of Britain.

    "Heinkel!"
    "Junker!"
    "Heinkel!!!"
    "Junker!!!!!!!1"

    Hope I remember that right!

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  7. I can remember as a kid on the farm in southern Iowa being fascinated with any aircraft that flew over. Being on the farm you could hear the engines clearly but the sound could be coming from any direction. Today, we are being harassed with small planes spraying farm fields across the street.

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  8. That biplane is an Armstrong-Whitworth Argosy - a passenger/transport plane:

    http://youtu.be/Jku2AE91LHU

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  9. Oddly, that video says it stopped being used in 1936. However, I would have said it looks so like one as to almost certainly be one.

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  10. I'm glad that I wasn't the one during the war searching the skies for enemy planes. They all look the same to me.
    Nancy

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  11. Hence perhaps, now I think about it, the comment "They (ie the Luftwaffe) remind us (of the Argosy and the good times before the war)"?

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  12. Wow! It must have been awful to look up and see "one of theirs" overhead. I can't even fathom it.

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    1. I agree. That is just what I was thinking. And then to take a photo??

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  13. I think you should blow up that top photo to poster size and frame it, Alan. It is very, very special. Great post!

    Kathy M.

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  14. My resident expert agrees with John number one - definitely not WW2 - sorry! Nice photos and story though Alan. Perhaps ‘They remind us’ is the clue and he is saying that these planes are reminiscent of the times when everyone watched the skies with trepidation.

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  15. Re the two planes : This is very odd as the two pictures appear next to each other and are, I am sure, from the same roll of film. From the shots before and the shots after they were almost definitely taken in Liverpool in 1940. Perhaps in those troubled times they were having to make use of every last plane they had.

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  16. Oh I totally agree and am so very thankful I never lived through that worry! Although our 9/11 attack was very real and does make a person worry if anything of that sort would happen again! You have really posted quite an interesting in flight/Royal planes and etc, being from here and not knowing so much of all that past, I enjoy reading from those in the know like you! Thanks, Alan have a wonderful weekend!

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  17. I believe Dominic is correct on the Argosy. Well done

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  18. Alan; excellent and and interesting to read. My husband born 1932 lived right on the border SWL - Germany. He experienced as a child the noise of the planes, and they were always scared that the bombs would fall onto the Swiss side which happened too. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of this time. The roofs on the Swiss side had big Swiss crosses painted, but then the Germans on the other side painted their roofs too with a Swiss flag.

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  19. I think they had charts to help in identifying different planes in WWII.

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  20. 'Theirs' and 'ours' becomes more complicated as families expand by marriage and end up with ancestors on both sides of conflicts...but it's better that way.

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  21. Yes, let's be thankful for as much peace as can be found in this old world. A sobering photo indeed.

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  22. I cannot imagine looking up into the sky and wondering if a plane is one of ours or one of theirs.

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  23. I enjoyed reading the knowledgeable comments about planes.

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  24. I echo Linda's sentiments -- the comments to your post are enlightening too. Quite honestly, the photos alone seem like just pictures of planes that mean nothing without Uncle Frank's notations -- really makes me think about planes and war in a different way.

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  25. We live right on the edge of a marine base with constant helicopters (and some planes) flying over. I'm so glad to know that they're all "ours". But they sure are noisy!
    Very interesting post and comments.
    Barbara
    P.S. I exaggerated when I said constant. That would be unbearable!

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  26. The post was excellent and I have enjoyed the discussion that came about on the comment section. I also, cannot imagine enemy airplanes flying over. We live about 30 miles from Fort Knox, as the crow flies and we don't here planes but the noise from the tanks sometimes rattles our windows. It gives one an eerie feeling even though we know it is "friendly fire."
    QMM

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  27. Despite My Misgivings About Ryanair ,I Would Still prefer to see them flying over Liverpool than The Luftwaffe!

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  28. I am SO thankful I don't need to be frightened of planes, and that there aren't air raid sirens going off. It must have been dreadful. So glad I wasn't born until the brave new world of 1952.

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  29. I spent my life watching my father crane his neck whenever a plane passes over. And he always knows what the model is. I've told him that I've never understood how he can remember such details, but then he reminds me it was part of his training. Once an aviator, always an aviator.

    Sometimes I try to imagine when I hear a plane go over what the terror would be like if I knew it was there to drop bombs. So far removed from all of it.

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  30. I have no expertise in these matters,
    but I love both pictures.
    I am of that generation when planes meant nothing worse than an urgent need to take some gravol and possibly a valium to endure the journey, until 9/11 happened. Terrorism and planes never made a good mix.
    :/~
    HUGZ

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  31. My parent's home is under the flight path of a navy fighter jet airfield. The jets fly so fast and so low that it is very difficult to spot them. The sound is never where they actually are. On the rare occasion that an old prop engine plane flies over you are startled at how slow and quiet airplanes once were. More like spotting birds.

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  32. Excellent post - I can't imagine living through those times - my life has indeed been an easy and sheltered one in comparison.

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