An example of our Community Focus as itemised for the Media & Design Department of the Poole & Bournemouth College
More than 1,500 Families living in Poole & Bournemouth, were involved in various employment capacities in the Flying Boats and the Seaplanes operating from, or based at Poole Harbour over a 20 year period (1939-59).
Most of these were with British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) with its Civil Passenger Fleet, and also inc. BOAC’s Marinecraft Unit; whereas others were with the Fleet Air Arm Station - or the RAF military base. Further, there were significant infra-structures + participants involved with transport, postal services, victuallers and publicans, also with many local families providing accommodation for their lodgers who were based here !
Poole Flying Boats Celebration (PFBC) has been identifying, contacting and engaging those who remain today for their recollections and memories… This is an urgent quest to conduct such interviews, and other recording plus video input, making transcripts etc., to build up the public-access Archive containing these unique records.
Also, where appropriate, locating artefacts and photos - making good notes & copies of these where permitted.
Whilst our prime focus is upon those who were directly involved (tempus fugit), and had firsthand experiences, there is also the significant need to extend this Project to those many people who are the next generation(s) ~ as descendants, and living in the localities of Poole & Bournemouth, and to those who can pass on information.
Those who had parents involved in the Flying Boats and the Seaplanes Operations, and the supporting services, or perhaps
bystanders /observers of this era - even catching the tail-end when these aircraft returned to Poole to be stored at two sites in Hamworthy (and eventually sold or dismantled), have their stories to now recount!
Eventually with the dismantling of Flying Boats at Hamworthy, the precious scrap metal which was obtained was subsequently used to supply /establish a range of local-based companies eg Metalbox; Chalwyn Lamps etc. whilst some BOAC Launches, Tenders and workboats passed to local operators for Harbour tours for tourists.
Over the last 6 years PFBC has been making strenuous efforts to access these contacts by ‘focused networking’ yet the more you search the more you discover - where this task is ever-expanding /becoming more imperative!
Whilst the Project is designed to benefit the public through the public-access Archive of PFBC, there is often satisfaction & reward to those who have a story to tell (for it recognises their significance within this History). Moreover those participating in the recording and consolidating of the record will achieve personal satisfaction.
There is also the high significance of this Project to the Communities & Localities of Poole and Bournemouth, so that it is recording an episode in our Local History where Poole (through BOAC), was regarded as being the Flying Boat Hub for the UK, also with its associated routes spreading to destinations literally across the Globe !
With BOAC’s Flying Boat Ops being located at Poole, the decision to base its landplanes at former RAF Hurn has meant that we have today Bournemouth International Airport, with various associated aircraft companies.
Likewise, in terms of the Century of British Aviation and Flying Boats contributing to a ‘Golden Age of Travel’ this significant aspect of our Local History assumes UK National and International dimensions and importance: whereupon there is a growing awareness of, and interest in this subject matter, and also in our particular Project!