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This DVD provides a fascinating look at the Royal Air Force through the eyes of newsreel cameramen throughout the Thirties – a time of dramatic technological change in aircraft design. Rare footage from British Movietone News, Gaumont British News and the Pathe Gazette whisks us into the skies over the British Empire and beyond. The early Thirties saw the Schneider Trophy won outright by the RAF, and the Air Force also broke many long-distance records all over the globe. The era also saw the retirement of Lord Trenchard, the ‘Father of the Royal Air Force’, the Coronation of King George VI and the long build-up to the Second World War.
A rich variety of aircraft in the front line included the Hawker Audax, the Hawker Hart, the Hawker Fury, the Gloster Gauntlet, the Bristol Bulldog, the Short Singapore III, the Boulton Paul Overstrand, the Vickers Wellesley and the Gloster Gladiator. We also see the birth of the Hawker Hurricane and early marques of the Supermarine Spitfire, the Westland Lysander, the Fairey Battle, the Bristol Blenheim, the Handley Page Hampden, the Vickers Wellington, the Avro Anson, the North American Harvard, the Lockheed Hudson, the Boulton Paul Defiant and many more.
The 1930s saw early ‘mock battles’ in preparation for the air defence of London, and many crashes!
There are many visits by royalty and dignitaries to the RAF College Cranwell, which boasted its own pack of Beagles for fox-hunts in the 1930s! We also see the frantic recruiting methods used to attract more than 2,000 pilots as war approached. Our round-up of this awe-inspiring decade is completed with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s declaration of war on September 3rd 1939, the BEF on the Western Front in France and the RAF’s first serious aerial battles.