Queen Mary

Photo of a Queen Mary sent to me by David Searle Baker from South Africa. He also spent some time collecting crashed 'planes. The lowloader, "Queen Mary", was a specially made type of semi trailer body, very low platform with wheels exterior, from memory would think the platform about 12 inches from ground, also very long able to take most aircraft fuselages and wings. Extending side rails were fitted that could be locked up so that wings could be stood on their leading edges, one on either side ( on sand bags to prevent damage) and strapped to these side rails, the rails were also covered in felt to prevent damage, this left the centre of the trailer free to fit the fuselage on trestles, with propellor removed but engine still in place, some aircraft with long bodies could extend over the tail board if put on trestles to clear, open body to the trailer so that no height restriction, only height of bridges and power cables, standard 1939-40 prime mover, 6 cylinder Perkins or Ford, nothing like the monsters on todays roads. It was Called "Queen Mary" because they were so long that the only thing to compare them with was the ship of the same name.

This was an aircraft that had run out of fuel and had to make an emergency landing. Unfortunately it, or the pilot, chose to land in a canal, as it swept into make a crash landing it picked up a cow that was grazing on the bank, throwing the poor beast up over the canopy. The aircraft came out of it with very little damage but the pilot was drowned. The `plane loaded is a Hawker Tempest Mark 5 ( cousin to the Typhoon) looks like a Bristol Centaurus Radial engine and the wings stowed alongside are eliptical much like a Spitfire's, the cockpit canopy very much like a Typhoon.

Reg Miles



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