High fly­ing salute to the Queen’s reign

BA staff mark monarch reach­ing mile­stone year

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - Salina Pa­tel salina.pa­tel@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

by BRI­TISH Air­ways staff – past and present – formed the num­ber 63 on the run­way at Heathrow to mark The Queen’s reign.

Around 30 pilots, cabin crew and ground staff, dressed in uni­forms old and new, who have had the hon­our of fly­ing The Queen gath­ered at Ter­mi­nal 5 on Septem­ber 2 to celebrate the mile­stone.

The air­line staff raised a flag to celebrate El­iz­a­beth II be­com­ing Bri­tain’s long­est-reign­ing monarch on Wed­nes­day (Septem­ber 9).

Bob God­frey, 79, a re­tired chief stew­ard, who was pic­tured in 1972 greet­ing The Queen as she stepped off a flight from Heathrow to Tur­key, said: “I had the hon­our of serv­ing Her Majesty on two sep­a­rate flights; once in 1972 and again in 1990.

“We all felt so proud when we boarded the air­craft and couldn’t be­lieve our Queen would shortly be com­ing on board.”

To mark the oc­ca­sion the air­line has re­leased the orig­i­nal tele­gram re­ceived on the flight back home to the UK, fol­low­ing the death of His Majesty King Ge­orge V, from The Queen Mother to her daugh­ter.

The mes­sage was re­ceived over the ra­dio, writ­ten di­rectly into the Cap­tain’s log-book and then copied out by hand onto a BOAC sig­nal form, be­fore be­ing pre­sented to Her Majesty.

The air­line also has a copy of the orig­i­nal flight path plan, topped with the im­age of a crown to de­pict the flight The Queen re­turned to the UK on.

These, along with the cap­tain’s orig­i­nal log­book, which notes Princess El­iz­a­beth was on board on Jan­uary 31 and yet the air­craft that re­turned was car­ry­ing the new Queen, re­main in the BA Speed­bird Her­itage Cen­tre.

Jane Ain­ley, 47, long- haul cabin crew, who served The Queen on the flight home from Perth fol­low­ing her state visit to Aus­tralia in 2011 added: “I was thrilled to be asked to serve on a royal flight from Perth to Lon­don which was the first non-stop flight be­tween Aus­tralia and the UK.

“My fa­ther also had the hon­our of car­ry­ing The Queen on a flight from Heathrow to Van­cou­ver back in 1963 so I felt rather emo­tional when I was given the op­por­tu­nity to fol­low in his foot­steps!”

Pa­tri­cia Pearce MBE, who joined BOAC (Bri­tish Air­ways’ long-haul pre­de­ces­sor) in 1962 – a year be­fore El­iz­a­beth II was crowned – and served The Queen on her sched­uled two-week Royal visit to New Zealand in 1974, said: “The trip ended up last­ing al­most two months be­cause the Heath gov­ern­ment was brought down in the mid­dle of the trip so the royal cou­ple had to come back to the UK and then fly back out again.

“I will al­ways re­mem­ber stand­ing on the tar­mac at Honolulu late at night as the plane tax­ied round the cor­ner with the Royal Stan­dard fly­ing out the top of the air­craft.”

n PAST AND PRESENT: Bri­tish Air­ways cabin crew, Laura Lani­gan, Pa­tri­cia Pearce, Bob God­frey, Gil­lian Bur­rows, Trevor Lewis, Julie Thompson and Lucinda Star­ling, wear­ing the uni­forms they wore when they had the hon­our of fly­ing the Queen, on the run­way at Ter­mi­nal 5 Photos by Ge­off Cad­dick

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