This film is part of Free

Flying to India by Imperial Airways

British Diplomat Clarmont Skrine records footage of an early long-haul flight from Europe to India, documenting their stop-offs in British territories en-route to their destination.

Amateur film 1934 11 mins Silent


The film captures the peoples, places and large scenic swathes of British territories stretching from Mediterranean Europe, across the middle-east with stop-offs at Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan en route to India. Tracking the hive of activity that followed the crew and passengers - British diplomats and their entourage are greeted by ground crews as well as various figures and groups of power and influence including Sheikhs and Bedouin. The film even captures a stop-off at a British Petroleum plant in the oil fields of Iraq.

Imperial Airways were a British commercial and transport airline which operated from 1924 to 1939. Imperial Airways would eventually become the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) at the dawn of WWII. In 1974 this would merge with the British European Airways Corporation to form what is now known as British Airways (BA). Often flying to the outer reaches of the British Empire; it was believed the service would facilitate overseas settlement and speed up colonial governance, administration and trade- illustrated through Clarmont Skrine’s use of the service’s eastern route.