Short S.26 Golden Hind


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Short S.26 Golden Hind

Following on from the Empire class flying boats, Short was keen to explore the limits of the flying-boat design, while also investing in the S.32 land airliner. A number of drag and stability improvements were proved and then embodied in the enlarged version of the Empire boat named the G, or Golden Hind. class and featuring improved power and range. The intention for this design (of which three were ordered by Imperial Airways) was to implement a regular scheduled service across the Atlantic in association with Pan Am. However, World War II intervened and the three G boats were sequestered by the RAF and converted for ASW/reconnaissance use. In late 1941 the two surviving G boats were returned to civil duties, but only one example survived the war. After a brief operational period the aircraft fell into disuse.

 ENGINE4 x Bristol Hercules IV or XIV 14-cylinder radial piston engines
  Take-off weight33800 kg74517 lb
  Wingspan40.90 m134 ft 2 in
  Length31.40 m103 ft 0 in
  Height11.45 m38 ft 7 in
  Max. speed336 km/h209 mph
  Range5120 km3182 miles

Matt, e-mail, 13.09.2020 12:07

Does anybody know what became of the 5 X G class Short flying boats after the war and whether any have survived? I am interested in finding out the history on these particular aircraft as my grandfather flew in these during the war on reconnaissance missions when they were based in Lisbon, Portugal.


Quentin Heron, e-mail, 08.05.2021 Matt

Hi Matt:

Only three (3) S.26 Grenadier (or: G-) class flying boats were ever built by Shorts.

The name of the class was originally derived from Imperial's intention of naming the first example of the type "Grenadier". Likewise, it was intended to name the second example "Grenville".

In the end, this was not to be: the first S.26 to fly (on 21 July 1939) was named "Golden Hind" (instead of: "Grenadier") and was registered G-AFCI. This had a manufacturer's serial number (or "company number" or: "c /n") of S.871.

The second G-class to fly was: "Golden Fleece" (instead of: "Grenville") on 24 February 1940, registered G-AFCJ (c /n: S.872).

The third and last G-class to fly was: "Golden Horn" (no alternative original name) on 8 July 1940, registered G-AFCK (c /n: S.873).

Golden Fleece (serving as X8274 with No. 10 Squadron RAAF) crashed on landing near Cape Finisterre off the west coast of Spain on 20 June 1941.

Golden Horn was returned to BOAC, but was lost at Lisbon, being destroyed when an engine seized and caught fire during a test flight on 9 January 1943.

Golden Hind was returned to service with BOAC and alone survived the Second World War, flying on in civil service until retirement in 1947.

Golden Hind then lay moored on the River Medway near the Shorts factory at Rochester in Kent, until 1954.

Whilst being towed to a new anchorage on 31 March 1954, Golden Hind ran aground on the River Swale near Harty Ferry on the Isle of Sheppey and was damaged beyond repair. the aircraft was subsequently scrapped, very shortly thereafter.

No other examples exist of the type or have existed since Golden Hind was scrapped in 1954.

Hope this helps.



michael, e-mail, 02.08.2020 14:03

My first ever flight was in the Golden Hind, from Poole to Belfast at the age of 17, in 1947. I was allowed to stand between the pilots throughout the flight, take off and landing.


Michael Hall, e-mail, 29.03.2015 20:17

I was a passenger on BOAC Golden Hind in the spring of 1947, at the age of 11. We flew from Poole to Cairo. My first flight.


Klaatu83, e-mail, 10.02.2012 01:23

The "G-Class" flying boats were enlarged versions of the famous "Empire Boats". They were intended for operation on a non-stop trans-Atlantic passenger service, for which the otherwise-successful "Empire Boats" possessed insufficient range. If the war hadn't broken out in 1939 then Imperial Airways /BOAC would undoubtedly have ended up operating a fleet of these airplanes to Canada and the U.S.


deaftom, e-mail, 27.03.2011 19:25

It should be clarified that "Golden Hind" was not the type name but the name given to a particular individual S.26. The type was called the "G" Class by Imperial Airways, and the individual S.26 aircraft were named Golden Fleece, Golden Hind, Golden Horn, Grenadier, and Grenville.


from robin bird, e-mail, 09.09.2009 19:28

I am writing a book on MAEE Helensburgh. I know Golden Hind Golden Fleece and Golden Horn were at Helensburgh but were Cabot and Caribou before their mission to Norway?


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