Robert E

New Member
Jan 15, 2015
13
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Hi. Anyone help please? I'm researching for a book I'm writing.

Were passenger airlines operating from LBA/Yeadon in the 1950s?
Would a football club, in this case Leeds United, have been able to get to Amsterdam from LBA or would they have had to fly from Heathrow or somewhere else? If from Leeds, would they have hired a private flight during May 1957 so as to travel to Amsterdam?

I have a similar query re the Wales football team, also in May 1957. They had two matches behind the 'Iron Curtain' - one in Leipzig, E Germany, and the other in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Would they have flown from Cardiff? One of the players has told of Prague being a dirt landing track and that the plane they used for Leipzig to Prague was a '48 seater Dakota' which was in a poor state ie, seatbelts fell apart etc.

Any observations and help would be most appreciated. And of course I would be very pleased to officially credit any helpers in the book, when it's published :dirol: :D
 
Hi there

What I do know is that back in mid-to-late 1950's B.K.S Air Transport was the main airline operator using Yeadon back then. They were operating daily flights to destinations like Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Belfast, Southend, Jersey and the Isle of Man along with weekly services to Dusseldorf and Ostend using Douglas DC3 Dakota and the C.47 Dakota. Sliver City Airways also operated charter flights to the Isle of Man using Douglas DC3 Dakota.

Hope that's of help to you. By way Information was taken from a book which I bought a few years ago titled Leeds - Bradford Airport Through Time by Alan Phillips. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leeds-Bradford- ... 1445606097

9781445606095_Z.jpg
 
I have a similar query re the Wales football team, also in May 1957. They had two matches behind the 'Iron Curtain' - one in Leipzig, E Germany, and the other in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Would they have flown from Cardiff? One of the players has told of Prague being a dirt landing track and that the plane they used for Leipzig to Prague was a '48 seater Dakota' which was in a poor state ie, seatbelts fell apart etc.

I don't believe that Douglas DC 3s, aka Dakota or C47, were fitted with as many as 48 seats. Typical 'high density' layout seems to be 28-32.

As for Prague, Vaclev Havel Airport, then known as Ruzyne Airport, was opened pre WW2 and I can't think it would have been 'a dirt landing track' in 1957. Of course, it's possible the football team may have landed somewhere else in Prague but one wonders why they would.

As for flying from Cardiff, it's possible. The current Cardiff Airport at Rhoose had opened by 1957. There would have been no regular flights from Cardiff to East Germany in 1957 (there is still only one regular flight to Germany now - once a week to Dusseldorf on summer Saturdays)

So if the Welsh team did fly from Cardiff it would have been on a chartered aircraft. There are precedents for that era. In 1950 a chartered Avro Tudor V of Fairflight Limited was returning with a party of rugby fans from an international in Dublin to Llandow Aerodrome near Cardiff. It crashed on final approach killing 80 of the 83 souls on board.

Cambrian Airways was based at Cardiff in those days and possessed a fleet of former BEA DC3s by the late 50s/early 60s so their provenance suggests it's likely that these aircraft would have been in good condition. Cambrian later became part of British Airways.
 
As far as I am aware, the first time Leeds United chartered an airliner to fly them to a match was during 65/66 season for the Inter City Fairs Cup.
If Wales were playing behind the "Iron Curtain" in the 50's, it would have been a chartered Russian built airliner of either CSA(Prague) or Interflug(Leipzig).
 
TheLocalYokel said:
I have a similar query re the Wales football team, also in May 1957. They had two matches behind the 'Iron Curtain' - one in Leipzig, E Germany, and the other in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Would they have flown from Cardiff? One of the players has told of Prague being a dirt landing track and that the plane they used for Leipzig to Prague was a '48 seater Dakota' which was in a poor state ie, seatbelts fell apart etc.

I don't believe that Douglas DC 3s, aka Dakota or C47, were fitted with as many as 48 seats. Typical 'high density' layout seems to be 28-32.

As for Prague, Vaclev Havel Airport, then known as Ruzyne Airport, was opened pre WW2 and I can't think it would have been 'a dirt landing track' in 1957. Of course, it's possible the football team may have landed somewhere else in Prague but one wonders why they would.

As for flying from Cardiff, it's possible. The current Cardiff Airport at Rhoose had opened by 1957. There would have been no regular flights from Cardiff to East Germany in 1957 (there is still only one regular flight to Germany now - once a week to Dusseldorf on summer Saturdays)

So if the Welsh team did fly from Cardiff it would have been on a chartered aircraft. There are precedents for that era. In 1950 a chartered Avro Tudor V of Fairflight Limited was returning with a party of rugby fans from an international in Dublin to Llandow Aerodrome near Cardiff. It crashed on final approach killing 80 of the 83 souls on board.

Cambrian Airways was based at Cardiff in those days and possessed a fleet of former BEA DC3s by the late 50s/early 60s so their provenance suggests it's likely that these aircraft would have been in good condition. Cambrian later became part of British Airways.

thanks so much, that is more excellent help, I'm very grateful.

The comment about the '48 seater' could well have been a player's failing memory or the interviewer not hearing correctly. For what it's worth, just from looking at Wikipedia etc, I suspected he meant a Dakota C48 rather than a 48 seater. The dirt track comment could just about mean anything really.

Regarding the horrific crash in 1950, I did not know anything about that. Incidentally, it occurred a year after the Superga disaster in Turin, which is to feature in my book even though the story is 1957 to '58 season. :hatsoff: :D
 
Seasider said:
As far as I am aware, the first time Leeds United chartered an airliner to fly them to a match was during 65/66 season for the Inter City Fairs Cup.
If Wales were playing behind the "Iron Curtain" in the 50's, it would have been a chartered Russian built airliner of either CSA(Prague) or Interflug(Leipzig).

Thank you too Seasider. I would be surprised if LU chartered a plane in '57 but as this was a friendly tournament for the team and personnel, I wouldn't be hugely surprised if they DID either!

Thanks for the other tips too, great stuff.
 
Mornin' all.

Slightly different tack now. For 'slightly' you can probably read 'completely' :)

Does anyone know anything about sleeper trains in 1957? John Charles travelled overnight from Leeds to London, Kings Cross I assume, and has mentioned it being a sleeper train.

Now, sleeper trains - I know of two different 'designs' for sleeper trains. One was the couchette type, where compartments seats are converted effectively into bunk beds of 3 beds each side of the compartment (sleeping 6 in total then). i had the 'pleasure' of travelling on such a beast from Prague to Berlin one year. Lousy journey!

The other style is the one seen more often in old films - Some Like It Hot has just popped up in my head! - where the beds are length ways along the train carriage, with curtains for privacy.

Sorry this is all vague, but does anyone know what style the sleeper trains from Leeds to London were in 1957?
 
I traveled from Leeds To London by sleeper in about 1954. There were 4 bunks in 3rd class as it was in those days. The route was Leeds to St Pancras.
 
If the discussion on sleeper trains from Leeds to London is to continue, it needs to go in the appropriate thread folks. Nothing to do with Leeds Bradford Airport in 1957, interesting though it might be. :s_thumbsup
 
White Heather said:
If the discussion on sleeper trains from Leeds to London is to continue, it needs to go in the appropriate thread folks. Nothing to do with Leeds Bradford Airport in 1957, interesting though it might be. :s_thumbsup

Forgive me WH but I'm new here and I haven't seen a thread on 1950s rail travel.

The reason they caught the sleeper train was to catch flights to Rome or Turin from Heathrow.
 
No problem Robert. You could start a new thread on anything you like that is not aviation related in the General Discussion Forum. Welcome to the Forum - I hope you enjoy it.
 
Dear all, I'm proud to advise that my John Charles novel is finished and with luck will be published early next year.

I have already credited this fine forum in the Acknowledgements and I have written to, I hope, everyone who offered advice on here in this thread, to ask permission to officially thank them.

Thanks again - I have changed two computers plus the platform and so it took me a while to re-find this place! Bloody computers :LOL:
 
Good luck with the book when it is published. Perhaps you would be kind enough to let us know when it is available and its title.

Addendum

I've just noticed your PM giving me the name of the book. Many thanks again.
 
TheLocalYokel said:
Good luck with the book when it is published. Perhaps you would be kind enough to let us know when it is available and its title.

Addendum

I've just noticed your PM giving me the name of the book. Many thanks again.

:LOL:

Yes, good idea :D The novel is called 'The Gigante', it's about John Charles' (and his family's) move from Leeds United to Juventus in 1957. In the end, I haven't mentioned LBA but the advice received here has been great detail. :hatsoff:

I'm not sure which publisher will take it on but I do have one definite already :yahoo:
 

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