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Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539

Blackbushe Airport, Hampshire



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I moved to Farnborough from London in September 1949 two years after my father began work at the National Gas Turbine Establishment at Pyestock and I was very soon taken to see the flying display. One of my earliest memories of flying at Farnborough was of the Bristol Brabazon dropping rapidly as it flew in a southerly direction over Cove Green, otherwise known as The Rec and scattered me and my friends in all directions as it frightened the life out of us. We definitely thought it was going to crash. I also remember the enormous Saunders Roe Princess flying boat traversing the same route but looking rather more secure. Memory says I saw both over The Rec the same year and Alan Lathan says that if that is the case it could only have been 1952.

Grammar School boys were generally quite keen on cycling, well apart from homework there wasn’t much else to do. Many would congregate on The Rec and from there ride around aimlessly hoping that something interesting would happen. Unless we chose to ride six-abreast around the Cove one-way system and were spotted by a copper, nothing ever did. Maybe Michael Day shooting at the spokes of our wheels when we passed his house in Minley Road should have been seen as excitement but he was a menace. Just once I lost my temper with him and took part in my one and only F.G.S. fight. I laid into him in a blind rage and against the odds got the better of him to the amazement of the ring of onlookers who always surrounded such breaks in the monotony of life. He never shot his air-gun at me again.

One reason to be cycling along Minley Road was that it led to one of the few places providing free entertainment, the airport alongside the A30 road. Several ex-F.G.S. lads have mentioned this mainstay in their lives and spoken fondly of their time spent at Blackbushe. Alan Lathan says he often lurked in what passed for a Departure Lounge. I remember it myself but he went one further than most, he saw Douglas Bader in there and cadged free flights and looks around the control tower. Lucky beggar!

All I did along with David Brimelow, Alan Parkes and Lin Pratt and others was point my camera at passing aircraft. We took a big telescope up there once, a big brass thing we in ignorance thought had been nicked by someone’s uncle as a memento from some warship or other. We mounted it on its stand and pointed it at a plane the other side of the field. All we saw was black, the damn thing didn’t appear to work. However we eventually discovered it was black because by chance the telescope was pointed at the wall of one of the aircraft tyres. It wasn’t a naval telescope, it was an astronomical one with some crazy degree of magnification.

Alan Lathan is one of a small number who have asked to see my old Blackbushe photos. Unfortunately they are rather rubbishy, including as they do the very first film I ever took and processed in the half light of my parent’s dining room in Cove using totally inadequate equipment. They are displayed below, warts and all, for Alan’s amusement; he is still involved with aircraft. With him looking over my shoulder I am not going to name the aircraft, even though in most cases I think I could. I can put approximate dates on them because each of my processed films was marked with the date of development and the display below is in chronological order. To me it is interesting to see it confirmed that I carried on cycling to Blackbushe after moving to Church Crookham in November 1958. I remember that the hill on that route just before Blackbushe was much steeper than the one in Minley Road.

Alan Lathan has provided the descriptions and the date beyond the colon is generally the date which the film was developed not taken.

Photographs not taken at Blackbushe and are marked accordingly.

Malcolm Knight : February 2011

Lockheed Neptune

141249 Lockheed P2V-7 VP-11 Sqn US Navy, coded LE : Between February and May 1958

Lockheed Neptune

141249 Lockheed P2V-7 VP-11 Sqn US Navy, coded LE : Between February and May 1958

De Havilland Dove

VP961 De Havilland Devon, later civilianised as G-HBBC : Between February and May 1958

Vickers Viking

Vickers Viking - Independent Air Transport : Between February and May 1958

Handley Page Hermes

G-ALDO Handley Page Hermes : Airwork London : Between February and May 1958

Vickers Viking

Vickers Viking - Eagle Airways (note Silver City car loading ramp) : Between February and May 1958

Lin Pratt

Lin Pratt breaking the rules : Between February and May 1958

Douglas DC-3

YA-AAC Douglas DC-3 Ariana (Afghan) noted by Alan Lathan 29/11/58. Came from Zürich. It had a metal plate near the door bearing the registration number and fixed by two screws which Alan witnessed doing a disappearing act! : May 1958

Douglas DC-3

DC-3 - Ariana YA-AAC rear view : May 1958

Vickers Viking

Vickers Viking of Hunting-Clan, starboard wheel immersed in puddle! : May 1958

Argonaut

G-ALDK Handley Page Hermes - Britavia : May 1958

Avro York

G-ANTK Avro York, Dan-Air, lovingly restored over 20 years to static exhibit at Duxford : May 1958

Douglas C54

0-72566 Douglas C-54 USAF Rescue : Noted by Alan Lathan on 4 Aug 1958

Douglas R5D-2Z

50856 Douglas R5D-2Z in front of the US Navy hangar : August 1958

Douglas R4D-8

17108 Douglas R4D-8 at the other end of hangar : August 1958

Beech 51054 and FT109 R4D-8

51054 Beech SNB-5, plus 39109 R4D-8, both of FASRON 200 : Based here August 1958

Vickers Viking

Eagle Airways Viking lined up for take-off to the West : August 1958

Vickers Viking

Vickers Viking of Eagle Airways. A quick dash to other end : August 1958

Handley Page Hermes

G-ALDG Handley Page Hermes - Airwork : August 1958

7C 39112

39112 R5D-2 US Navy, coded 7C ‘Columbus’, later civilianised to Eastern Airlines

Vickers Viking

G-APAT Vickers Viking - Eagle Airways with upper fuselage in red : August 1958

Auster

G-AJEI Auster J/1N Alpha : August 1958

Convair CT-29A

91910 Convair CT-29A, formerly an XT-29 (rather special) - electronics (possibly Wiesbaden-based) : August 1958

Convair CT-29A

91910 Convair CT-29A departing : August 1958

Vickers Varsity

Vickers Varsity T.1 RAF Cranwell? : August 1958

Douglas DC-3

G-ANTD Douglas DC-3 - Derby Airways : August 1958

Vickers Viking

G-AJBP? Vickers Viking - Eagle Airways : August 1958

Vickers Viking

G-AJBP? Vickers Viking Eagle Airways ready for take off : August 1958

Vickers Viking

G-APAT Vickers Viking - Eagle Airways : August 1958

Gloster Meteor

WS728 Gloster Meteor NF-14 coded N. Sold as scrap in 1961 : August 1958

Vickers Viking

G-AHPR Vickers Viking - IAT : August 1958

Bristol Freighter

G-APLH Bristol Freighter - Dan-Air : August 1958

Vickers Viking

G-AIXR Vickers Viking : Airwork : August 1958

Vickers Viking

Eagle Airways Viking departs : August 1958

Handley Pages Hermes

G-ALDC Handley Page Hermes - Airwork : August 1958

Vickers Viscount

Vickers Viscount - Airwork : September 1958

SNB-5 US Navy

Beech SNB-5 76773 SNB-5 US Navy. Based at Blackbushe : September 1958

SNB-5 US Navy

Beech SNB-5 76773 SNB-5 US Navy. Based at Blackbushe : January 1959

Vickers Viscount

G-AODG (or H) Viscount 736 - Airwork : September 1958

Douglas DC-6

G-APOM Douglas DC-6 - Eagle Airways : November 1958

De Havilland Mosquito

TV958 De Havilland Mosquito T.3 : November 1958

Vickers Viscount

Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways : January 1959

Douglas R5D-2

50863 Douglas R5D-2 US Navy VR-24 Sqn. Blackbushe based : January 1959

Auster

G-AOHZ Auster J-5P Autocar, owned by a firm in Crewkerne Somerset : January 1959

Auster

G-AOHZ Auster J-5P Autocar, owned by a firm in Crewkerne Somerset : January 1959

Auster

G-AOHZ Auster J-5P Autocar, owned by a firm in Crewkerne Somerset : January 1959

Auster

G-AOHZ Auster J-5P Autocar, owned by a firm in Crewkerne Somerset : January 1959

Handley Page Hermes

G-ALDX? Handley Page Hermes Britavia, possibly on delivery : January 1959

Percival Prince

G-ALWH Percival Prince, Sperry Gyroscopes, lived in Airwork’s hangar : January 1959

Vickers Viscount

BEA G-AOHG Viscount 802, diversion or crew training? : January 1959

Douglas DC-6

G-APON Douglas DC-6 - Eagle Airways : January 1959

Vickers Viscount

G-ANRS Vickers Viscount - Hunting-Clan : January 1959

Vickers Viscount

G-ANRS Vickers Viscount - Hunting-Clan : January 1959

Douglas DC-4

HZ-AAW Douglas DC-4, Saudi Arabian Airways, became G-ASRS with Eagle, ended up as a café in Darmstadt, scrapped at nearby Lampertheim : March or April 1959

Handley Page Hermes

G-ALDG Handley Page Hermes - Airwork, then Falcon, then Britavia : March or April 1959

BOAC Argonaut

G-ALHR Canadair DC-4M North Star. BOAC named them their ‘Argonaut’ class : March or April 1959

Percival Proctor

G-AHGA Percival Proctor

Vickers Viscount

Vickers Viscount V.798D North East Airlines, on delivery 28 February 1959. (Likely to be N6599C according to Alan Lathan) : March or April 1959

Handley Page Hermes

81 Handley Page Hermes - Airwork : March or April 1959

De Havilland Heron

G-APKW De Havilland 114 Heron, no livery, possibly just arrived for Eagle Airways : March or April 1959

Douglas DC-6

G-APON DC-6 - Eagle Airways delivered September 1958 : March or April 1959

Vickers Viking

Pegasus Viking G-AHPL was originally with BEA, sold to Rhodesia in 1953 and was restored in December 1958 to Claydon Aviation trading as Pegasus. They went into receivership in 1961 and the aircraft sat around (in Blackpool) until 1965, when it went to Invicta, Manston for four years : March or April 1959

Curtiss C-46 Commando

N4086A Curtiss C-46 Commando Super 46C, L.B. Smith Aircraft Corp, noted by Alan Lathan 16 February 1958 : March or April 1959

Curtiss C-46 Commando

N4086A Curtiss C-46 Commando Super 46C, L.B. Smith Aircraft Corp, noted by Alan Lathan 16 February 1958 : March or April 1959

Douglas R5D-3

56526 Douglas R5D-3 US Navy, coded 6F, noted by Alan Lathan on 5 May 1959. Made VR-6 Sqn’s 5000th Berlin Airlift during 1949 : March or April 1959

Miles Gemini

G-AJTG Miles Gemini registered December 1958 to North Perrott Estates, Crewkerne, Somerset : March or April 1959

Miles Gemini

G-AJTG Miles Gemini : May 1959

English Electric Canberra

In August 1957, English Electric Canberra B.2 WK163 captured the world altitude record. Fitted with a Napier Double Scorpion NScD1/2 rocket motor WK163 achieved a height of 70,310 feet. Seen here coming out of Farnborough : August 1958

De Havilland Rapide

G-AHXW De Havilland Rapide, went to USA and restored in Kings Flight colours as G-ADDD : August 1958 (probably Farnborough)

Avro Vulcan

XA891 Avro Vulcan, Farnborough : August 1958

Hawker Hunter

Hawker Hunter T7, Farnborough : August 1958

Heathrow

General view including Vickers Viscount on the left London Heathrow Airport : June 1959

Heathrow

Douglas DC-7 - Swissair London Heathrow Airport : June 1959

Heathrow

Douglas DC-4 : Air France London Heathrow Airport : June 1959

Heathrow

London Heathrow Airport : June 1959

Heathrow

London Heathrow Airport : June 1959


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