Charles E Brown (1896-1982)

BSAA Lancastrian G-AGWL ‘Star Guide’

Original Silver Gelatin photograph, 1940s

19 x 24 cm

Stamped to reverse ‘Charles E Brown’ with address and 6337-13 reference number.

The Lancastrian was developed from the Lancaster bomber with armaments and armour removed, and a new – streamlined – nose. The first batch were made by converting Lancaster bombers, latter batches made from scratch. The Lancaster had been designed to carry bombs rather than passengers, and so the space available meant that whilst the Lancastrian was not suitable for large numbers of passengers it was admirably suited to carrying mail and other perishable goods.

G-AGWL ‘Star Guide’ was registered 28/11/45. Its first flight was on 1/2/46 for the Ministry of Supply & Aircraft Production (MoSAP), being delivered in February to British South American Airlines (BSAA) as ‘Star Guide’. In January 1949 it was bought by Flight Refuelling Ltd subsequently being used on the Berlin Airlift and was scrapped 26/9/51 at Tarrant Rushton.

Charles E Brown was a famous photographer of aircraft whose father was a butcher in Wimbledon, London. Young Charles was given a camera for his 14th birthday and in 1911 photographed an Edwardian gentleman in trouble landing his balloon in neighbouring Southfields. This photograph was published in the Daily Mirror – the fee being half a crown – and Brown was encouraged to join the Daily Mirror’s photography department upon leaving school at 16.
Towards the end of the First World War he served with the Royal Air Force at their official London Photographic Centre. Following the war, he took to photographing trains, and captured a famous photograph of a Southern Railway locomotive that was used for the following ten years in railway posters. The income from this allowed him to pursue his passion of aviation photography in the 1920s and 1930s, from which commissions from the Air Ministry and Fleet Air Arm followed. During the war his work included commissions for Aeronautics magazine.


Condition: Generally very good.