• Short Summary

    THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION TURNED THE CLOCK BACK FIFTY YEARS TODAY (WEDNESDAY), WHEN THEY INVITED LEADING AERONAUTS FROM AMERICA AND EUROPE TO COMPETE IN AN INTERNATIONAL BALLOON RACE - THE FIRST TO BE HELD IN BRITAIN FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY.

  • Description

    THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION TURNED THE CLOCK BACK FIFTY YEARS TODAY (WEDNESDAY), WHEN THEY INVITED LEADING AERONAUTS FROM AMERICA AND EUROPE TO COMPETE IN AN INTERNATIONAL BALLOON RACE - THE FIRST TO BE HELD IN BRITAIN FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY.

    NINE BALLOONS TOOK PART IN THE RACE. IT STARTED IN OXFORDSHIRE, AND, DEPENDING ON A GOOD SOUTH-WESTERLY WIND, WAS MEANT TO TAKE THE COMPETITORS ACROSS 75 MILES OF COUNTRY TO "SOMEWHERE BEYOND BEDFORDSHIRE."
    THE WINNING POST WAS A "FOX" BALLOON CREWED BY BRITAIN'S AIR FORCE. THE BASIC PLAN WAS THAT ALL THE BALLOONS WOULD TAKE OFF 15 MINUTES AFTER THE AIR FORCE BALLOON AND TRY TO LAND AS NEAR AS THEY COULD TO IT.

    COMPETING FOR THE TROPHY WERE SEVERAL LEADING BALLOONISTS. FROM THE UNITED STATES CAME MR. FRANCIS SHIELD, PRESIDENT OF THE BALLOON CLUB OF AMERICA. THE BELGIAN COMPETITOR WAS ALBERT VAN DEN BEMDEN, A RENOWNED AVIATOR. THE OLDEST COMPETITOR, AND FAVOURITE FOR THE PRIZE, WAS FRANCE'S CHARLES DOLLFUS. M. DOLLFUS IS 74 YEARS OLD, CURATOR OF THE FRENCH AIR MUSEUM, AND GENERALLY REGARDED AS THE WORLD'S GREATEST AUTHORITY ON BALLOONING. HIS BALLOON WAS CALLED "MARS." THE ONLY WOMAN COMPETITOR CAME FROM THE NETHERLANDS, MRS. NINI BOESMAN. ANOTHER DUTCH COMPETITOR WAS JACQUES DEMENINT.

    WEST GERMANY'S REPRESENTATIVE WAS RICHARD JAHRE, AND SWITZERLAND WAS REPRESENTED BY FRED DOLDER, A VETERAN OF 200 FLIGHTS. ANTHONY SMITH, WHOSE AFRICAN BALLOON SAFARI IN HIS ORANGE COLOURED "JAMBO" EARNED HIM WORLD-FAME, REPRESENTED BRITAIN.

    FIFTY YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENT HAVE NOT DONE MUCH FOR THE BALLOONIST, HE DEPENDS ON THE WEATHER, AND TODAY THE BALLOONISTS WERE LUCKY. THE WEATHER SET FAIR, AND EVERYTHING STARTED AS PLANNED.

    THE BALLOONISTS HAD A "LE MANS START." THEY RACED ACROSS THE FIELD ON BICYCLES, STRAPPED THEM TO THEIR GONDOLAS, AND THEN IT WAS "SANDBAGS AWAY," AND OFF INTO THE BLUE AT THE MERCY OF THE WIND.

    THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION, WHO WERE MAKING A 40 MINUTE DOCUMENTARY FILM OF THE RACE, HAD INSURED THE COMPETITORS FOR GBP500,000, AND BY THE EARLY EVENING THEY WERE FEELING GLAD THEY HAD.

    THE BALLOONISTS STRAYED SO FAR OFF COURSE THAT AT ONE POINT REPORTS SAID ALL NINE BALLOONS WERE LOST AND AIR SEARCH WAS ORGANISED TO FIND THEM.

    HOWEVER, LATE TONIGHT, THE ORGANISERS ANNOUNCED THAT ALL THE BALLOONS HAD BEEN LOCATED, SOUTH OF THE EXPECTED COURSE.

    CHARLES DOLLFUS OF FRANCE, THE OLDEST COMPETITOR, WAS DECLARED THE WINNER, FINISHING AHEAD OF WEST GERMAN RICHARD JAHRE. THE ORGANISERS ADDED THAT ONE BALLOON HAD COME DOWN ON AN OVERHEAD POWER LINE AND CAUSED A TWO-HOUR ELECTRICITY CUT.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA37G9WTMCO8NF9O08YB2EWOMSW
    Media URN:
    VLVA37G9WTMCO8NF9O08YB2EWOMSW
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    12/05/1965
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:38:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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