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Author Topic: Eastchurch Aerodrome  (Read 43069 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #90 on: March 18, 2017, 14:33:43 »
The Women's Royal Air Force at Eastchurch 1918 to 1920.

Recently two photos of WRAF's at Eastchurch were posted on the Sheppey History facebook page. Link here
I am not on facebook so I have posted my comments here.

The Royal Air Force was formed on the 1st April 1918, combining the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, and their respective women's counterparts into one service.
In the WRAF the members were employed in a wide range of trades but not aircrew or any combat role.
The uniform could be in either khaki or a pale blue grey and was often a mix of Army, RNAS and RAF.

The first photo in the link above shows May Newman wearing a flap-over type jacket with cap and RAF cap badge. The sleeve badges show that the photo was taken between late February 1919 and April 1920 when the WRAF was disbanded. The I indicates that she belongs to the Immobile Branch, she was recruited locally and served at the nearest RAF station.

The second photo shows, at front, a Sub-leader, (one chevron), wearing a single breasted jacket. Sub-Leader, a rank below that of Section Leader, Section Leader being the WRAF equivalent of the RAF Corporal.

A good source of information on WRAF uniforms is British Air Forces 1914-1918 (2) by A & P Cormack. No. 351 in the Osprey Men-at-Arms series.

My grandmother, Edith Record (as then) was in the WRAF at Eastchurch. I have a photo  of two WRAF members signed "with love. May". One of the members, wearing Section Leader chevrons, looks very much like May Newman in the first photo in the above link. Unfortunately I do not have the means to post it online.

Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) 1918-1920 http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/online-exhibitions/women-of-the-air-force/womens-royal-air-force-wraf-1918-1920.aspx
Herr Holger  Garmarna


Offline conan

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #88 on: August 17, 2016, 00:15:29 »
It's more than possible that the photograph was taken elsewhere, possibly whilst on the round the world attempt. I must admit that I just assume that most of my father`s archive come from Eastchurch as he inherited it from his father who was based there as a WO gunnery instructor during the 20s. On the other hand it's a nice photo anyway :)
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #87 on: August 16, 2016, 22:06:05 »
I am fairly sure that the Vickers Vulture photo was not taken at Eastchurch. The ground seems dry and sandy, note the dust cloud at right kicked up by the turning propeller, and the chap on the left seems to be wearing shorts and a topee.
See also page 74 of R.A.F. Eastchurch 1921-1936. :)
Herr Holger  Garmarna

Offline conan

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #86 on: August 14, 2016, 22:01:13 »
A Vickers Vulture at Eastchurch.This aeroplane was to try to fly around the world.



https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1924/1924%20-%200172.PDF

and the story

http://www.wingnet.org/rtw/RTW001C.HTM
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #85 on: August 14, 2016, 14:32:23 »
conan. Very interesting, especially Lt. Gerrard getting his wings in about 6 weeks training. Pity it didn't say what the record was that he set in that Short Biplane No.34. I assume both the Navy & Shorts were using Eastchurch at that time. I concur with you re the suit, must have had his Winter thermals on, but still rather chilly! Of course, being an officer he would have had to be dressed "correctly"..

Offline conan

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #84 on: August 13, 2016, 23:32:33 »
Another one from the collection,I love the pilot,E L Gerrard flying in suit and tie whilst the passenger is muffled up to the eye balls



http://www.flyingmarines.com/biographies/1911-1920/Gerrard.htm

E.L.Gerrard went on to have an illustrious career in the R.A.F.

http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/Gerrard.htm

To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #83 on: August 13, 2016, 17:24:10 »
Princesses go Flying.

Some remarkable aeroplane flights were recently carried out at Eastchurch (Eng.) by naval airmen on British-made Short biplanes, carrying Royal passengers. Lieutenant Gregory took up Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Prussia, Lieutenant Sampson took up Prince Louis of Battenberg, Lieutenant Longmore took up Princess Louise of Battenberg, and Lieutenant Gerrard, of the R.M.L.I., took up Miss Kerr, lady-in waiting to Princess Louise. The machines used were those lent to the navy by Mr. Maclean. The airmen rose to a height of about five hundred feet, and carried out flights of about fifteen minutes' duration.

From the Sunday Times (Aus) 24 September 1911.
Herr Holger  Garmarna

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #82 on: July 28, 2016, 13:13:09 »
Aeroplane Comedy.

A little group of naval officers watched an aeroplane at Eastchurch with expressions of impatience and despair. The airman was flying high and in wide circles, occasionally dipping and swerving and obviously enjoying himself immensely. It was excellent flying, and the gloom of the observers was difficult to understand. It was nearly one o'clock, and still the airman flew.
It was past lunch time in the little tin bungalow where the officers take their meals, and the table was not even laid. The minutes dragged on, the airman's engine hummed steadily, and he began to fly in a straight line away from the ground.
This was too much. Expressions of annoyance broke out. "What's the matter?" said one of the officers, in reply to a sympathetic question, "why hang it, that chap up there is our cook. How do you suppose we are going to get our luncheon while he's fooling about up there? I told him, he could go up for a few minutes, and he's been flying for half an hour, and won't come down."
When the first cook who has ever flown (they teach everybody to fly at Eastchurch) did finally descend he wore a smile of triumph; but a few, swift, well-chosen words struck him like an electric shock, and he vanished, almost at flying speed, in the direction of his kitchen.


From the Examiner (Aus) Sat 28 December 1912.
Herr Holger  Garmarna

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #81 on: December 08, 2015, 22:59:45 »

The largest aeroplane ever to land at Eastchurch was a Junkers g38 of the German airline Deutsche Luft Hansa.
Wing span 144 ft, length 76 ft.
In Sep 1932, the aeroplane was forced to land at Eastchurch due to bad weather on its then daily trip between Amsterdam and Croyden. The journey was resumed the next morning, the pilot having been a guest of the RAF, while the crew and passengers spent the night at the Crooked Billet.
Source, The Sheppey Light Railway, Brian Hart.

It would have been quite impressive to watch this giant, for the time, aircraft land and take off from Eastchurch.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=iVotprX0XIY
Herr Holger  Garmarna

Offline Desbrow

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #80 on: March 09, 2015, 23:51:09 »
Sadly, I don't think that particular building was listed Conan.
 
Looking through Appendix 10.3 published as part of the HMP Stanford Hill Wind Energy Development (the .pdf file that Sheppey Bottles posted a link to on 13 August 2014) it appears that the 'cowshed' building that's been removed was not one of the listed hangars.
 
If I'm reading the plan in that appendix and cross referencing to Trikeman's photos correctly the building is referenced as number 159 - the 'cowshed hangar'.  That building dated back to WWI, whereas the four listed hangars were already in place by 1913.  These looked to be still standing when Trikeman was overhead in January.  Still, a real shame to see a part of our aeronautical heritage dating back to WWI disappear.
 
The wind farm development appendix has exterior and interior photos of what's gone, including a 1950's colour photo with the hangar retaining a camouflage paint scheme.
 

Offline conan

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #79 on: March 08, 2015, 07:58:58 »
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline Trikeman

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #78 on: March 07, 2015, 19:19:36 »
EASTCHURCH AIRFIELD

Here are a couple of recent pictures showing the few remaining structures circa WW2
Trikeman
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Offline Trikeman

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #77 on: March 07, 2015, 19:16:08 »
WW1 HANGAR DEMOLISHED

I flew over Eastchurch in January and was dismayed to see that the large WW1 hangar had been demolished - it stood on the large expanse of bare concrete visible in picture. I thought it had a preservation order.

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Offline CDP

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Re: Eastchurch Aerodrome
« Reply #76 on: February 21, 2015, 12:26:04 »
Way back in 1977 a group of us decided to start up a new club (Fiat Lux 8895). Two of the other founders were Cooper, the Warden of Eastchurch Prison and Gerry Luxon? the Education Officer.
We always met at Eastchurch Prison and Gerry had a lot of photographs he would show us of the old Aerodrome, the planes,and its buildings.
Years later Gerry decided to " go it alone " and went to live in a little French village and became the local handyman there and doing these odd jobs paid for his living expenses.  .
I wonder what happened to his collection of the Aerodrome photos ??
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

 

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