1929 Photo of Ramon Franco’s Dornier J Seaplane from HMS Eagle
  • 1929 Photo of Ramon Franco’s Dornier J Seaplane from HMS Eagle
  • 1929 Photo of Ramon Franco’s Dornier J Seaplane from HMS Eagle

1929 Photo of Ramon Franco’s Dornier J Seaplane from HMS Eagle



Product Description

A unique photograph taken in 1929 of the Dornier J ‘Wal’ seaplane, flown by Ramon Franco, when it was recovered by the British Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Eagle after its unsuccessful attempt to cross the Atlantic both ways.

The photo is in black and white (slight sepia toning) and shows the seaplane in the process of being attached, in order to be craned aboard. The reverse has written on it ‘Pilot Commander Ramon Franco (younger brother of Franco) F/G 8-11-1929 Dornier Do J (Whale) World Duration & Distance Records 21 – 29 June 1929.

The photo is a bit faded and grubby on the back, but overall good condition.

Comandante (Major) Ramon Franco was already a hero for having been the first person to fly from South America (Argentina) to Spain, in 1926. It had been achieved on a similar Dornier J, with registration markings MM-WAL. He is, however, best known as the youngest brother of the later Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco.

His attempt to cross the North Atlantic both ways ended when he was forced to land in the sea after developing a mechanical fault. Furthermore, a broken radio meant that the crew of 4 could not communicate their position or condition. The plane was feared lost at sea and an international search was coordinated. The plane was finally located quite close to the Azores, by HMS Eagle, a week later. When the plane was recovered, it was discovered that Comandante had secretly changed the registration markings of the seaplane to that of a similar Dornier: MM-WAP. The reason for this was that the aircraft was supposed to have been the first Spanish built under licence example, but Franco did not have confidence in its’ reliability. He secretly swapped it for a German/Italian example, substituting the painted markings. For this, he lost a great deal of his reputation and was discharged from the Airforce, for a while.

He was reinstated and promoted during the Spanish Republic (he had been critical of the previous Dictator government). Although a supporter of the Republic, when the Civil War started, because of his relationship to his brother, the leader of the Insurgents, he was forced somewhat to join the Nationalist side. However, distrust by his fellow Insurgent officers called for his removal. He died on a bombing raid under suspicious circumstances, a fate not very uncommon to critics or competitors of Franco.

Interesting and very rare piece.

Size: 11.5 x 8.5 cm (4 ½ x 3 ¼ inches)


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