02 July 2010

Early Aviation Images

My friend Longoff has put together a wonderfully nostalgic collection of early Ceylonese aviation photographs and trivia on Picasa, which you can look at by clicking on the picture below. They include such gems as a Chance-Vought Corsair fighter-bomber being towed to its hardstanding by an elephant, pictures of old Air Ceylon timetables and in-flight menus and some fantastic images of the RAF base at China Bay, later inherited by the Sri Lanka Air Force, where the rotting carcass of a Fairey Fulmar used to greet Air Ceylon internal flights from Colombo at the end of the runway back in the 1960s.

Early aviation in Sri Lanka

The photo of a gang of indentured native labourers building the runway at Katukurunda aerodrome tells a less agreeable tale of Ceylon, but one that was always an inseparable part of the experience. Lest anyone think Sri Lanka superior to the land of my birth in even this sorry respect, let's not forget that, right now, gangs of Chinese convicts under the supervision of Chinese warders are hard at work in the South, building the government's vanity projects for it. Meanwhile, some surveys of youth unemployment in Sri Lanka put the figure as high as fifty percent. Yes, you read that right.

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