This is a story from a bygone age recalling the most successful flying-boat airliner ever built. Designed to a specification for Imperial Airways, then Britains national airline, it carried passengers and, more importantly, mail throughout the British Empire. The airliner offered luxurious travel for the privileged few, every journey being an adventure shared by passengers and crew.Short Brothers built 42 Empires at their factory in Rochester during the late 1930s. Imperial Airways were expanding their network to the furthermost outposts of the British Empire, whilst laying down the principles of scheduled airline operation.This is the tale of the realization of a dream and the efforts of those who made it possible. During World War II, the military Sunderland version became an icon.