ONE of the world's first helicopter pilots Dick Beechener, who learned to fly the R-4B Hoverfly 1 on Portland in the 1940s, was the subject of Looking Back on August 19.

A highlight from his time in Dorset was when three helicopters flew from Portland to meet with HMS Vanguard mid-channel.

At the time, the ship was taking King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret to South Africa for the Royal Tour. This anecdote inspired Commander Keith Simmons of Lower Burton, Dorchester, to send in a photograph of the landing of the Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly on the quarterdeck of HMS Vanguard 40 miles south of Portland Bill on February 1, 1947.

The pilot was Lieutenant Ken Reed and the passenger, Captain M Thomas of the Royal Navy, then Captain of Portland Dockyard. Cmdr Simmons said: "During my time at RNAS Portland in the mid-1970s I came across a photograph of this landing and kept a copy of it."

He pointed out that if you look closely at the left of the balcony, you can see what is probably the Royal Family witnessing this historical landing .