This film is part of Free

Porte Flying Boat

Don't be fooled - she's no baby. The Porte Baby's name belies the true size of this monster flying boat!

Documentary 1917 11 mins Silent


This wonderful record of the demonstration of a Felixstowe Porte Baby Flying Boat shows off the true size of these monster machines, the largest flying boats ever built in the UK - don't be fooled by the name! Curiously emblazoned here for mail duties, these flying boats were actually used on patrols to spot enemy ships or submarines in the waters around Britain. Predictably, their size and slow speed made them far from ideal for this role, and a close call near the Dutch coastline ensured they were quickly withdrawn from defensive service so far from home. Registration 9801 features throughout and was the first of an anticipated 20 aircraft, although in practice only 10 flying boats made it off the ground.

This fascinating film is sadly incomplete, with only the final reel surviving. The first two reels would probably have shown the Baby in construction, or possibly its 1917 upgrade.