The 'Water Bolly'

Robert S Grant reveals how an example of the Canadian-built Bristol Blenheim – the Bolingbroke – was temporarily converted for waterborne trials

Fairchild general manager N F Vanderlipp suggested the Bolingbroke 717 have extra buoyancy forward during operations in rough ocean conditions. The factory complied and the Edo 3715750s floats appear bulged in the front section.

It’s strange how a British newspaper proprietor could affect seaplane operations in a faraway country such as Canada. This is exactly what happened when Daily Mail owner Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere, decided to acquire a personal transport in 1934. The Bristol Aeroplane Company’s Type 142, constructed to his specifications, drew RAF interest and eventually led to the newly designated Type 149 Blenheim Mk.I’s maiden flight on June 25, 1936, at Filton, near Bristol. T

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