Sunday, 2 October 2011
Things did not go too smoothly on the appointed day, the weather was very windy and of the four pilots only the German Gustav Hamel was able to get his Blériot XI monoplane aloft. He made a pass over the aerodrome which excited the crowd, who had paid between sixpence and five shillings to view the event, and he set off for Windsor Castle, (the journey of 21 miles took just 15 minutes) where another large crowd had gathered to welcome the flight. The next day was Sunday so no flights took place (no Sunday shopping in those days). On Monday four flights were scheduled but this time Hamel was flying a Farman biplane which was too heavily loaded with eight bags of mail, it crashed from a height of 40 ft and Hamel broke both legs on impact. The other three pilots continued the service, after striking to ensure Humel received compensation for his injuries. A total of 16 flights took place during the week carrying 37 bags of mail. With one plane lost and various departures cancelled due to heavy rain the regular airmail services did not happen again until after World War I when aviation technology had advanced to be more reliable and able to operate in adverse weather conditions.
The stamps feature:- 1st Hamel receiving the first mail bag, 68p Hamel in the cockpit; £1 the British pilot Clement Gresswell's Bleriot plane and lastly, £1.10 showing the mail arriving at Windsor. The miniature sheet also shows the actual advertising poster used for this historic event, a short one but the world's first scheduled airmail service.
Sunday Stamps journey round the contintents