Title ID 1422Collection ID275
Title[Spithead Naval Review; Air Display at Hendon]
Date20 May - 26 June 1937
CollectionH A Voss
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionCommemoration
ThemeWartime and Military Leisure
KeywordsAircraft Armed Forces Boats Motor Vehicles Ships
LocalSpithead Hendon
RegionalHampshire Greater London
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionH A Voss
CameraH A Voss
FormatMixed Colour and Black & White Silent
Duration13 min. 51 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Battleships and cruisers at the Coronation Fleet Review of 1937, during which the HMS Victoria & Albert III is seen, open the film, shot by H A Voss, an amateur film-maker. Biplane and Bristol Blenheim fighter planes take part in the air display at Hendon, staged and filmed in the same year.


Review of the Fleet by His Majesty The King, Spithead - 20th May 1937. Several battleships and cruisers are seen from the water (H84 HMS Brilliant & H47 HMS Blanche plus others), all decorated with bunting from front to back for the Coronation Fleet Review. A yacht pulls a dinghy behind it. Steam yachts are seen. On board, passengers pass under suspended lifeboats and three women laugh and talk together, wearing felt hats and fur coats. Biplanes fly overhead. Further battleships are seen, including the HMS Nelson, launched in 1925 and decommissioned in 1948. The HMS Victoria & Albert III is seen, replete with both masts and steam funnels, launched in 1899. 'Fireworks from the fleet' follows. Pink, white and green fireworks jump up and tumble from the night sky. The Red Ensign of The Merchant Navy is shown, blowing in the wind.

Air Display by R.A.F. at Hendon - 26th June 1937. Wide views of crowds, motorcars and tents are seen from an elevated position in black and white. Two men push a biplane across the airfield. A fleet of Bristol Blenheim are seen. They move off to the airfield, propellors spinning. The aircraft was one of the first new high performance monoplanes ordered under the RAF Expansion before entering service in March 1937. A pair of Cierva Autogyro C.30 leave the airfield to display. Biplanes fly in the sky for a crowd, seen in the foreground. Smoke billows from the airfield. A squadron of fighter planes fly in V formation overhead. In colour footage, biplanes perform loop the loops, dipping low to the ground before pulling back up. Loops of blue, white and red smoke fill the air, as planes fly in formation, circling and twisting, looping and dispersing. Parachutists descend to the airfield from a biplane. Guns fire into the sky from the field, setting fire to a barrage balloon which falls to the ground alight seen in close ups. Explosions are seen on the field, clouds of smoke billowing into the sky.

Contextual information

Fleet reviews at Spithead, Hampshire, made by the King or Queen of England, have taken place since the 14th century.

The first display at Hendon took place in July 1920, named the Royal Air Force Tournament. Biplane aerobatics teams from front-line squadrens performed at the 1920 Tournament. The Second World War halted these displays until 1947. RAF Hendon was built on the site of The London Aerodrome, founded in 1910 by Claude Grahame-White.

Related resources


RAF Museum

Historic Aircraft Collections at RAF Museum London (90 aircraft spanning century of aviation history); RAF Archive Collection (donations by individuals and organisations of personal papers, logbooks, records, propaganda and site plans); RAF Photograph Collection (1890 to modern times; Charles Brown collection); Fine Art, Film and Sound, and Medals and Uniforms Collections, Library and other collections.


RAF Museum

British Pathe: His Majesty Reviews his Fleet 1937 (newsreel film)

King George VI, Queen Mother and Princess Elizabeth on Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert, also footage from the air.

British Pathe: R.A.F. Display at Hendon 1937 (newsreel film)

Includes footage shot from plane above airfield and of the crowd at Hendon Airfield for the display in 1937.