England

First airmail flight from London to Windsor celebrated in picture gallery

Gustav Hamel Image copyright Royal mail
Image caption Gustav Hamel flew in his Bleriot airplane, covering 21 miles in just 18 minutes

Royal Mail has launched an online gallery marking the first airmail flight in 1911.

The collection includes photographs of Gustav Hamel, who flew the world's first scheduled flight carrying mail between London and Windsor, Berkshire.

The picture gallery also includes the earlier forms of airmail using carrier pigeons and hot air balloons.

The Royal Mail now exports to more than 250 destinations using 55 airlines from Heathrow and Gatwick.

Image copyright Royal mail
Image caption British aviation pioneer Gustav Hamel flew from the London Aerodome in Hendon to the Postmaster General's office in Windsor

British aviation pioneer Hamel was only 21 when he completed the first ever scheduled airmail delivery on 9 September 1911 between the London aerodrome in Hendon to the Postmaster General's office in Windsor 21 miles away.

He even wrote a postcard on the way.

Image copyright Royal Mail
Image caption Balloons had been used to transport mail since the 18th century

Royal Mail spokesman David Gold said Hamel was remembered as an "exceptionally brave and talented young man".

Image copyright Royal mail
Image caption In 2011, Royal Mail released a set of stamps featuring photographs of Hamel taken before his landmark flight

He added: "His legacy continues today with Royal Mail's international and domestic operations."

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