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This is a story from a bygone era, recalling the most successful flying-boat airliner ever built. Designed to a specification for Imperial Airways, then Britain's national airline, it carried passengers and, more importantly, mail throughout the British Empire. The airliner offered luxurious travel for the privileged few, every journey being an adventure shared by passengers and crew.
The Short Brothers built 42 Empires at their factory in Rochester during the late 1930s. Imperial Airways were expanding their network to the furthermost outposts of the British Empire, whilst laying down the principles of scheduled airline operations. This is the tale of the realisation of a dream and the efforts of those who made it possible. During World War II, the military Sunderland version became an icon.
Present in Norwegian and Mediterranean theatres of war, it saw action during the German seizure of Crete as well as during the
famous Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm's torpedo attack at Taranto in late 1940. The history of the flying boat is one characterised by action and dynamism. During the perilous war years, it experienced a developmental surge in response to the various threats that were levelled at it and the men it conveyed.
This meticulously researched book relays the full history of the Short Empire flying boats, from both a civilian and a military perspective. First published in 2000 by Airlife, this Pen and Sword re-issue is set to bring the story to a new batch of enthusiasts, eager to expand their knowledge of this intriguing facet of developmental aviation history.
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