British Civil Aviation in 1939

5-9 February
Alex Henshaw flies a Percival Mew Gull (G-AEXF) from Gravesend near London to Cape Town in South Africa and back again. He completes the double journey in 4 days 10 hours 20 minutes.

23 March
An agreement to manufacture British-designed airframes in Australia, for the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Air Force in the Far East, is reached, and plans include the manufacture of Bristol Beaufort aircraft.

26 April
The British Government announces plans for compulsory military service.

4 August
The British Overseas Airways Corporation Bill, amalgamating Imperial Airways and British Airways, is given Royal Assent.

5-6 August
The first British North Atlantic airmail service begins.

1 September
The Government issues orders that enforce ‘blackout’ throughout the United Kingdom.

3 September
A British ultimatum to Germany expires at 1100hrs, leading Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to announce in Parliament, “…. this country is now at war with Germany.”

3 September
The first air raid warning, a false alarm, sounds in the London area at 1130hrs.

13 October
Air services between London and Paris are resumed.

26 November
The British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) is established.