Aviation

The Queen and British Airways, a history

Hannah Edensor

We all love the Monarch and who doesn’t love the Queen?

Well to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen becoming Britain’s longest reigning Monarch on September 9, all the British Airways pilots, cabin crew and ground staff – past and present – who have had the honour of flying the Queen came together at Heathrow Airport in London.

Cute, right? Wait til you see the pictures!

Wearing the uniforms they would have worn when they flew with The Queen, 30 crew gathered at Terminal 5 yesterday (Wednesday, September 2) to raise a flag in honour of Her Majesty reaching this historical milestone.

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,” he said.

Patricia Pearce MBE, who joined BOAC (British Airways’ long-haul predecessor) in 1952 – 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.”

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 said: “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!”

British Airways has also released photographs from its Speedbird Heritage Centre, including the first telegram sent to Her Royal Highness as Queen.

 

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

The Captain’s original log-book remains in the British Airways Speedbird Heritage Centre which notes that Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth was on board on January 31 and yet the aircraft that returned was carrying the new Queen.

Have a look at some pics from the party:

L-R  Laura Lanigan, Patricia Pearce, Bob Godfrey, Gillian Burrows, Trevor Lewis, Julie Thompson and Lucinda Starling Past and present British Airways cabin crew wear vintage uniforms from the year they flew Her Majesty The Queen Add agreed caption
L-R
Laura Lanigan, Patricia Pearce, Bob Godfrey, Gillian Burrows, Trevor Lewis, Julie Thompson and Lucinda Starling
Past and present British Airways cabin crew wear vintage uniforms from the year they flew Her Majesty The Queen
Add agreed caption

British Airways crew - past and present who have flown The Queen celebrate Her Majesty becoming the longest reigning Flight log book from a state visit to India in 1997 (C) British Airways Her Majesty The Queen is greeted by a BEA steward following a state visit to Turkey in 1972 (C) British Airways HM The Queen & HRH Prince Philip arriving LHR on a BOAC Comet 4 aircraft, after their tour of USA and Canada; August 1959 HM The Queen & HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; State visit by BEA Viscount to France, April 1957 HM The Queen arrives at Haneda Airport, Tokyo for a Royal visit to Japan in May 1975 HM The Queen greets BOAC cabin crew Patricia Lindsay on arrival from Lille at London Airport 11 April 1957 HM The Queen is greeted on ine of her Royal tours, having arrived in a BOAC Argonaut aircraft, c1950s HM The Queen leaving her BEA Vickers Viscount aircraft during her state visit to Portugal, February 1957 HRH Princess Elizabeth, and the Duke of Edinburgh, waving farewell at London Airport when leaving for Nairobi, 31 January 1952. Menu from FLIGHT DETAILS signed by the operating BOAC Captain and cabin crew (C) British Airways

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