Imperial Airways pilot, Frederick F Minchin, c 1926.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Signed company postcard. Imperial Airways Limited was formed by the British government on 31 March 1924, after a government report recommended that Britain's interests in commercial air transport would be best served by merging the larger existing aircraft companies. The four companies concerned were Handley Page Transport, the Instone Airline, Daimler Airway and British Marine Air Navigation, all four of which had struggled to operate at a profit. The government's primary motivation for the merger was the need to carry mail throughout the empire. Croydon Airport was Imperial Airways main base. Minchin and his fellow Imperial Airways pilot Leslie Hamilton disappeared attempting a transatlantic flight with a pasenger, Anne Lowenstein-Wertheim, on 31 August 1927.