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Author Topic: Pre war flying clubs and fields  (Read 10991 times)

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Offline peterchall

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 20:48:27 »
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jael

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2012, 20:19:33 »
There has always been confusion over these 2 sites RAF Manston was a military airfield from 1916 (now KIA) Ramsgate airport was opened as a civil operation in 1935, during the war it served as sattelite to Manston and was known as RAF Ramsgate. it is now an industrial estate.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2011, 12:14:25 »
From "Aircraft & the Air"  E Sargeant 1936/38  
Cinque Ports Flying Club Lympne                      Government assisted
Kent Flying Club Bekesbourne                          ""                ""          
Malling Flying Club  W Malling                           ""                ""      
Malling Aero Club W Malling                       Not  ""                ""
Could the “Government Assisted” statements refer to the Civil Air Guard (CAG), formed on 23 July 1938 as an additional source of reservists for the RAF?

The RAF’s pool of regulars serving on the reserve after discharge was diminishing due to men extending their full-time service at the time of the RAF's expansion, and the only other reserve was the Auxiliary Air Force (AuxAF), the RAF’s equivalent to the Territorial Army, represented in Kent by No 500 (County of Kent) Squadron.

So the RAF Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) was formed in 1936 to train aircrew to operational standard on a part-time basis and be available for posting to units as individuals on mobilisation. Represented in Kent by No33 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School (ERFTS) at Rochester.

It was then recognised that in the event of war there would be the need for pilots for ‘non-operational’ flying, so the CAG scheme was launched in April 1938 in conjunction with local flying clubs, membership being open to any persons between the ages of 18 and 50. There were variations but basically members would receive flying instruction for the subsidised rate of 5s/hour. (In today’s money that is about £12.50 per hour – how does that compare with the cost of flying lessons today?). Those gaining their ‘A’ Licence, or those joining the scheme when already holding it, received a grant of £50 (£2500 today), and £15 (£750 today) each time the licence was renewed.

By December 1938, 30,000 applications for membership had been received, the number of ‘A’ Licence holders was approximately 1000, including about 80 women, and the number under training was 531. Not all flying clubs were able to participate. (Hence the “Not Government Assisted” for Malling Aero Club, perhaps?)

Many of the men within the appropriate age range transferred to the RAFVR on the outbreak of war (then the only means of entry into the RAF), or the Fleet Air Arm, for training to operational standard. But many others, and many women, transferred to the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) that ferried aircraft from factories to RAF units. Some, who had shown above average talent, received further training to become flying instructors.
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seafordpete

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2011, 10:54:37 »
I flew to Beauvais from Lympne several times in the 1960s (Hawker Siddley 747s?) really bumpy grass runway (presumably summerfield track underneath) always seemed worse landing.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2011, 23:51:36 »
A footnote states "until the end of 1939 one RAF aerodrome per fortnight will be opened"
Lympne was probably taken over by the RAF in 1936 as an ‘Expansion Plan’ airfield, and it seems they didn’t know what to do with it, not surprising in view of the fact that it, like all the bomber and fighter airfields in the south-east, it was in the wrong place (Note 1), and the RAF was going through its greatest ever peacetime upheaval (Note 2). It was first used to house Nos21 & 34 Bomber Squadrons until they left in the summer of 1938. It then re-opened as the ‘School of Clerks, Accounting’ in October 1938 before becoming the Naval Air Station HMS “Buzzard” in July 1939, as the shore base for HMS “Ark Royal’s” aircraft until September 1939. Then it became a naval Air Mechanics’ School as HMS “Daedulus II”, and its next flying units were those evacuated from France in 1940. It eventually passed to Fighter Command and into wartime history. Civil flying had continued, but ceased on the outbreak of war.

Note 1: Until the Nazis took power in Germany, defence planning had been on the assumption that the next war would be against France, with defences disposed accordingly. Imagine the situation had we planned for war against Germany – most of our air defences would have been in the east and north-east of the country. Could we then have won the Battle of Britain?

Note 2: In 1934 the RAF had 29 Regular and 13 Auxiliary Home Defence (Bomber & Fighter) squadrons, out of a total of 75 at home and overseas. The ‘Expansion Schemes’ (I think they ranged from 'A' to 'F' between 1934 and 1939!) were just getting under way in 1936. By September 1939 our home defences had grown to 55 bomber squadrons and 39 fighter squadrons (including 14 Auxiliary) out of a total of 159 at home and overseas, resulting in a force in which about half its personnel had less than 3 years experience. What makes Fighter Command's performance even more astonishing is that there were 44 under strength single-seat fighter squadrons in Fighter Command in July 1940, compared to the 52 that were considered necessary under the ‘Expansion Schemes’ to defend the UK against unescorted bombers flying from Germany.

Sorry if that went off topic, but I thought it deserved mention to illustrate just what a close run affair the Battle of Britain was.
‘Action Stations, Vol 9’ & ‘Royal Air Force, 1939-1945’.
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Glen

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2011, 22:54:35 »
There was a flying school in Horton Kirby for a few years between the wars. Flew from a grass field. Some of the pilots who learned to fly there served with the RAF during the war.

Glen

Offline mmitch

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2011, 20:53:17 »
Headcorn (Lashenden) was a private airfield before WW2.
mmitch.

seafordpete

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2011, 20:04:47 »
it mentions Lympne in the RAF staions list in the book along with Eastchurch, Hawkinge,Leysdown, Manston.
 A footnote states "until the end of 1939 one RAF aerodrome per fortnight will be opened" I gues that must have be added to the 2nd edition dated April 1938

Offline peterchall

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2011, 18:11:38 »
Pre-war Lympne was a customs airport with a wireless station and 30-mile aerial lighthouse, and was a reporting station and emergency LG for the London-Paris air route.

It was the venue of annual Air Ministry Light Aircraft Competitions but, with the DH Moth series of aircraft stealing the market, they were rendered superfluous and the last was held in 1926.

In 1924 Short Bros took hangar space as their landplane test flight base, continuing until 1929 when they found other airfields closer to Rochester (Where? – PC).

Lt Pat Murdoch, SAAF, started from Lympne to beat Alan Cobham’s UK-Cape record in 1928, to begin a series of such attempts from Lympne: Duchess of Bedford (1930); Jim Mollison (1931); Amy Johnson (1932); Capt W.N. Lancaster (1933), who disappeared over the Sahara. The last attempt was in 1936 when Flt Lt Tommy Rose beat Amy Johnson’s (now Mollison) record, and also gained the Cape-UK record on the way back.

The RAF took over in 1936.

From 'Action Stations - Vol 9
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 17:02:58 »
There was an Advanced Landing Ground at Lydd from June 1943 to early 1945 but, apart from a single Nissen hut that was the COs office/living quarters, it has now completely reverted to agriculture. So it was not on the site of the present Lydd airfield. For those with a map of the area, its ref was TR011033.
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seafordpete

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2011, 15:00:31 »
Think Lydd started as a wartime ALG, I recall a mention of it in a book possibly Closterman's Big show (I think that was the title).

Offline peterchall

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Re: Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 14:57:44 »
There was an airfield at Ramsgate - NOT Manston: http://oldramsgate.blogspot.com/2007/02/out-of-town-and-miscellaneous.html

Was Lydd a pre-war airfield, or was it specially built for the Silver City car ferry to France?
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seafordpete

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Pre war flying clubs and fields
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 11:01:27 »
From "Aircraft & the Air"  E Sargeant 1936/38   
Cinque Ports Flying Club Lympne                      Government assisted
Kent Flying Club Bekesbourne                          ""                ""         
Malling Flying Club  W Malling                           ""                ""     
Malling Aero Club W Malling                       Not  ""                ""

 

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