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Wessex Film and Sound Archive


Both commercial and military aviation films are held by WFSA, covering a wide variety of general interest and technical matters, from the early experiments of Samuel Cody in Farnborough to Concorde.

The Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough is well represented, including the famous air shows. The Schneider Trophy air race is another famous event covered in the WFSA collections

Southampton Hall of Aviation have deposited a number of general films, including items on training, technical subjects and amateur material on flying boats. A noteworthy amateur film on this subject is A Sunderland in Civvies, showing the flying boat in action near Calshot in 1946. Other amateur aviation films include the Balfour collection, made by Mr Lionel Balfour of his 'Spithead Express' air ferry service (Portsmouth, Southsea and Isle of Wight Aviation Ltd.), which operated from Ryde Airport, 1932-1939; the Murley collection, featuring flying boats and seaplanes; and the Parsons collection, which includes footage of the Coronation air show at Odiham in 1953.

During and around World War Two, the South of England was an area noted for military aircraft manufacture and activity, which is featured in the collections of the Royal Observer Corps Museum, and Elliotts of Newbury. The latter took over the manufacture of aircraft components, including those for Spitfires, after the Blitz in 1940/1941, and took an interest in gliders later on. The Vickers Aviation archive is held by Cambridge University Library, but WFSA has video viewing copies of some films the company made about its history, which includes the development of the Spitfire. Other collections held by WFSA also feature this famous aircraft.

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Trial flight of army airship 1913

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