View Full Version : Herts & Essex Aero Club

11th Dec 2006, 11:32
I am seeking pictures of Herts & Essex Aero Club (Broxbourne Herts.) although that was the offical address, it was in fact formed on a Frogley Bros. farm field in Nazeing Essex in 1931, where it remained until 1953 when it moved lock stock & barrel to Stapleford Tawney.

Any Pictures of the aircraft, buildings, etc etc. would be greatly appreciated.

11th Dec 2006, 12:25
I think there was an article on this subject in an old DH Moth Club magazine, which had a number of photographs. If I can find it I'll let you know.

My daughter lives in Broxbourne and I've often wondered where the airfield might have been as there seems to be few indications left.

I spent many hours at Stapleford in the late 50's watching the comings and goings of their Tiger Moths. I believe Neville Browning was CFI at the time and I once stood about six foot away from where he taxied a Tiger Moth (I think it was G-AIDS) into the fence at the edge of the car park.

Those were the days!



11th Dec 2006, 14:46
There is a significant history of the Herts & Essex club in our old friend of a book, Tony Merton-Jones' "History of British Independent Airlines" under the Thurston Aviation heading.

Eric Thurston is still very regularly at Stapleford.

12th Dec 2006, 11:44
Thanks for your reply Southender
G-AIDS is still around in the Southend area, & was with the club for sometime.
The old airfield was on the left hand side of the corner of the Rd, leading down form Broxbourne Station, the entrance was just around the corner of Lower Nazeing Rd., it is now a large boating lake.


12th Dec 2006, 11:54
A bit more Gen on Broxbourne during WW2, it was used as a 'Repair & Maintainance Depot' for RAF training A/C. mostly Percival Proctors, Miles Magisters, & a few other sundrie types, (one being the famous Gull Six flown by Jean Batten on her pre-war record breaking flights) & later for conversions on Harvards until 1945.
One of the Frogleys ('Buster') was the test pilot throughout the period 1940/45 on all A/C. except the Harvards, he always wore a brown trilby hat, & never wore a parachute.


12th Dec 2006, 12:02
There was an article about Broxbourne in Aeroplane several years back, which included a photo of poor old G-AIDS lodged in the top of some local trees!

I'll see if I can locate the issue...

12th Dec 2006, 12:32
I'm surprised to hear Eric Thurston is still around at Stapleford as, to my teenage perception, he appeared to be middle aged in the 1950's.

Congratulations to him then.

I recall him sweeping into Stapleford in his Bentley on occasions and parking in front of the Thurston Aviation hangar, where he kept an immaculate Miles Gemini (G-AIHM I believe).

On the subject of G-AIDS, having not seen her since my Stapleford days, I was very pleasantly surprised to see her over South Essex a couple of years ago in a beautiful blue and silver colour scheme.



12th Dec 2006, 12:37
I know that area of Broxbourne very well and will try to picture the airfield next time I am up there.

Unfortunately, my magazine is in store, but I will try to retrieve it and let you have a copy of the article.



12th Dec 2006, 13:41
It would be great to see the copy you have Southender, my thanks for your offer, My friend has written two books on Broxbourne aerodrome which were published a couple of years ago, but I am still seeking pics., I would love to get a few of the clubs Proctors as well.
I grew up in Stanstead Abbotts, worked at Broxbourne aerodrome & lived in Hoddesdon until Dec.1998, now Nr Clacton airfield where I was able to look over G-AIDS a couple of years or so ago. After 60 odd years she was in fine form.


12th Dec 2006, 14:03
....Eric Thurston....

Here's Eric (http://www.flysfc.com/new/meettheteamcommercial.html)

12th Dec 2006, 16:21
A slight correction to my siting of the airfield entrance, I note that I sited it as being on the left of old Nazeing rd, that should be NEW Nazeing Rd. so to recap :- Take New Nazeing Rd. from Broxbourne station, then over the river bridge, further along the road bends to the left, the area to the left inside the bend was once the airfield, the entrance was a few hundred yards around that bend in New Nazeing Rd.
Over recent years that corner has been made less sharp & runs over what was a corner of the field & there used to be a 'T' junction to turn right into Keysor estate.


16th Dec 2006, 11:01
I did my flying RAF scholarship at Herts and Essex in 1958. Tiger Moths G-AIDS (on which I soloed) and G-ANKU, if I remember right.
During the Christmas hols the CFI was John(?) Lamb, I think, who left that winter and later drove hovercraft in the early days of those machines. He was replaced before the Easter hols by the unique Neville Browning, whose flying career started on Sopwith Pups on the Western Front. He started us on aerobatics as soon as we (there was another guy with me whose name I have forgotten) had soloed.
I remember the intense cold as we used to get up early to fly before the wind got up and cook ourselves breakfast in the kitchen after an hour or so each in the circuit.
A great experience for a 17-year old lad.

John Eacott
16th Dec 2006, 20:09
Neville Browning: now there's a name to remember :)

Anyone else have the pleasure of flying with him? Inverted low passes in the Chipmunk? His infamous encounter with Fred's Five (IIRC) at Farnborough?

And Schiller, we were still up and cooking breakfast in 1965, with Eric appearing a venerable old man in those days: I was pleased to meet him again a couple of years ago, when Flying Lawyer took me on a trip out to Stapleford :ok:

20th Dec 2006, 22:32
I found the copy of Aeroplane I referred to above - the article was actually about an Engineer who started life at Broxbourne in the late 40s; it was the September 2002 issue. PM me if any of you would like to know more...

John, I know it's off topic but I'd love to know more about Neville Browning's encounter with Fred's Five (Sea Vixens?)



John Eacott
20th Dec 2006, 23:31
Neville vs Sea Vixens, sometime mid/late 60's:

Nice man from CAA (they do/did have some)

Neville, were you flying last Saturday about 5nm west of Farnboro'


Did you happen to see some RN aircraft, in formation?

Yes, bloody things nearly ran into me, don't know what the world's coming to, no lookout, etc etc

Did you happen to read the NOTAM about Farnboro' Air Show?

No: did you send me a copy?

Please don't do it again, it rather spoilt the Sea Vixen's day, and put the programme a bit off schedule at SBAC

:p :ok:

13th Feb 2009, 17:30
Like you, I was fortunate enough to win a Flying Scholarship with the CCF and obtain my PPL at Herts & Essex. My logbook includes Peter Ayles [CFI], S. Parker [who was very short and always arrived at the aircraft with a huge stack of cushions so that he would be able to see out of the cockpit], and Jim McMahon. Aircraft were G-AIDS and G-ANKU. First solo 24 March 1957 at 17 years. Started me off in a 36 year career in aviation, the first 25 flying.

1951 student
29th Aug 2009, 00:56
I was doing a search for certain events during 1952. At that time I was working at Hawkers. It was a very interesting time.
Presently I am a volunteer at the Western Canada Aviation Museum. The museum recently had a 2-day visit by a Lanchester. It certainly brought the crowds out.
I learnt to fly at Broxbourne. Peter Ayles was C.F.I. then. I later heard he was flying an aircushion vehicle at the Montreal Expo.
There were a number of air cadets, male and female, who were on scholarships also learning to fly at Broxbourne.
There was a Dart Kitten and a B.A. Swallow in the hangar at the time I was there but they did not fly while I was there. Once I got my Privat Pilot's licence I joined the R.A.F.V.R. and flew Chipmunks at Redhill and Fairoaks.
The aircraft I flew at Broxbourne were the following: Taylorcraft, Piper Cub and Tiger Moth. At that time a deadstick landing from 3,000 ft and also spin recovery was required for a PPL. There was also an Annual Dinner and I do have photos from that time but so far I do not know where all my aircraft photos are.
I flew an "anti-aircraft tracking" exercise with an Australian in a Gemini but I do not remember his name nor the registration letters of the aircraft. I was a deep blue colour I believe. I also went on an similar tracking exercise in an Oxford.
I wonder if anyone is still around that remembers anything from those days.
The move to Stapleford Tawney was in progress the last time I was in the neighbourhood but I did not know that Broxbourne airfield was now a lake!
The people who have been reminescing have later dates than mine but they still have good memories.
Thank you all.

29th Aug 2009, 06:33
1951 student
I have in my book collection, one written by Harry Smith called "One foot on the ground", and in it, he has quite a bit about his time at Broxbourne, plus photographs.

29th Aug 2009, 12:51
Eric Thurston did my PPL GFT 15 years ago. Great man.

Best bit of advice I have ever been given came from Eric:

Any pilot who thinks that he is a good pilot is actually a dangerous pilot.

Sir George Cayley
29th Aug 2009, 19:33
Didn't the Chickens roost at Broxbourne too, before Tapleford Stawney?


29th Aug 2009, 20:22
There was a two volume series of books on Broxbourne airfield history published in 2003 ,unfortunately I do not have the author/publisher's details at present.
Broxbourne had a disasterous hangar fire in 1947 losing several aircraft mostly Tiger Moth and Proctor.

9th Sep 2009, 10:33
The two volume book 'Wings over Nazeing' was written by my late friend Les Kimm who sadly passed away last October.
I helped him with the facts etc. as in our early years we worked together for the Min. of A/C Production at Broxbourne on the Repair & Maintainance onProctors - Q6 Petrels - Vega Gulls Miles Magisters etc. ---after the war he stayed with the club for a while before moving on to D/H at Hatfield.

Although the airfield was called Broxbourne, Herts. it was actually in Nazeing Essex, just across the border. --- hence the title of the book.

The Hangar fire on 23/6/ 1947 was a disaster & destroyed some fine A/C, but the club lived on & prospered under the direction of 'Buster' Frogley who together with his brother Roger formed an airfield on a field on the family farm in Nazeing in 1931 (Both were famous speedway riders in the late 1920s & 1930s)

It would be great to hear from anyone on this subject


9th Sep 2009, 13:17
Back in 1962 my brother won an RAF Flying Scholarship at the age of 17. This was carried out at Stapleford Tawney, to which he hitch-hiKed every day in his CCF uniform.

After the requisite tuition he was sent solo, did a circuit and then landed back. He was somewhat chastened to see a large gathering of people at the dispersal as he taxied in, thinking to himself that he had committed some grave error or other. As he completed the checks, the hood on the AirCoupe (G-ARHB) was pulled back by the CFI and my brother was informed that he was the 1000th student to go solo from the club! He's still got the tankard they presented to him and a few more hours in his logbook now.

9th Sep 2009, 20:03
Is it true that one of the Frogley brothers was fined for low flying and went to Australia ? I was an apprentice for Thurstons in 1971 . Mr Ollis was my boss, busy days with Islander G-AWNU. Apaches G-ASMY and G-ATOA,Aztec G-AXFA. Got the odd ride in Cherokees . I got dermititus of my fingers caused by dunking cylinder heads in TVO(tractor vaporising oil). Had to pack up as I could not hold a pen or knife /fork as my fingers split . Happy days and wish I could have carried on . John Chicken ran the Stapleford Flying Club using Condors,the Aircoupes had gone by then. Remember Bob Batt of Aviation Traders coming to collect Prentice G-AOKL which had lain in the long grass derelict . He worked on it all day and ferried it to Southend that evening.

10th Sep 2009, 09:38
There were two Ercoupes at Stapleford RHB & RHC both of which recently flew in a fly-in at our local airfield-- in fact a chap I knew worked on them at Stapleford & was recently present at the fly-in hoping to see them both arrive --- they did -- & it made his day to see both of them arrive, & talk with the owners --- soon after that he was sadly killed when his Taylor Monoplane spun -in only a spot only a few yards away from where those Ercoupes had been parked a few weeks earlier.


10th Sep 2009, 09:51
Hi T
Prentice OKL is currently under restoration at Old Warden

Are you thinking of the fine imposed upon 'The Mad Major' for flying the Herts & Essex Auster G-AGYD under most of the Thames bridges in the 1950s.

Both the Frogley brothers died in the UK

John Chicken married Buster Frogleys daughter --- the airfield at Stapleford was/is stilled owned & run by them.


17th Nov 2009, 09:34
I did my ATC flying scholarship at Stapleford too. June 1966 - 26 hours on the Forney Aircoupe and 2 hours a piece on the Chipmunk and a Cherokee 140. Neville Browning did most of my training as did Ted Clack and Mike Kennedy share the other half. Eric Thurston did my final handling flight test. Neville took me on a cross country down to the Freeman's strip at Headcorn, Kent and we landed in a field nearby on the way back to get some fresh village bread for the Herts & Essex clubhouse. I bought a large custard tart which I balanced on my lap in the Aircoupe. Near the Stapleford circuit Neville spied someone he knew and took over and bounced the bloke in the Auster. Net result was a most unusual series of attitudes in an Aircoupe and bits of custard tart all over the place. Neville apologised and shouted me a flight in his Zlin to make amends. Now that put a tart to really good use! My best memory of Neville was his method of teaching spin recovery in the Chipmunk. After correcting the spin it was his preference to do a loop in order to not waste any of the excess speed from the dive. On my last flight with him in the Chippie I managed to hit my own slipstream on completing the loop. I got a bit cocky and shouted out it was perfect. His dry reply was "Now do one to the left". Priceless.
The following year I got a job with Thurston Aviation doing odd jobs around the place, including putting out the gooseneck flares for the night ops, where Eric would take I/R candidates for grand tours around Stanstead and other 'airways' places. At this time I was earning a few bob washing aircraft and helping in the hangars to keep my PPL hours current. One of the most delightful private owners was Marion Wilberforce who owned a lovely silver Hornet Moth. She had ferried all sorts of wartime aircraft in the ATA and took me up twice in it for cleaning and sprucing up her Moth. A really charming lady. Sometimes she would share an ale with Neville in the bar of the Herts & Essex, when young lads like myself would sit spellbound listening to two very special characters talk casually about early British aviation and their wartime fun. The barman was normally John Chicken who had married Roger Frogley's daughter Tania. Roger still lived on the airfield in his house next to Eric's hangar. I used to take Eric's German Shepherd 'Sabu' for a run now and again around the perimeter track looking for rabbits. I remember a crop spraying outfit along the right hand peri track - 'Laddy Marmol's? outfit maybe? Along the left in front of the Thorn lightbulb factory was the caravan I used to stay in next to the old Airspeed Horsa glider nose section. I wonder what ever happened to that? I recall in 1967 it (The Horsa) was used to shelter Bill ?'s (can't recall Bill's surname - he used to run the Link Trainer for Eric) dog's litter of pups. She was a black labrador called Quibber and her pups were a motley collection of black lab/German Shepherd, so Eric Thurston's dog Sabu was the likely suspect. Another character from that era was Tony Osbourne who amassed a collection of aircraft at Southend. He was a regular visitor to Stapleford in his Miles Hawk Speed Six. His beat ups were quite impressive.

That's all I can think of at present.

Barry Gillingwater, Auckland New Zealand (ex CPL).

17th Nov 2009, 23:28
John actually married Roger's daughter Tania.

16th Dec 2009, 23:10
I am enjoying this thread about the Herts and Essex Aero Club. I also did my flying scholarship there in 1959 and went solo on G-ANKU and Neville Browning was my instructor. There was also a younger instructor there whose name I cannot remember. I was lucky enough to also get some free flying in the Hornet Moth which was owned by a family friend and also the Gemini. Has anyone got a picture of Tiger G-ANKU which I believe crashed in Ireland a few years ago and is now off the register.
I went on to join the RAF and retired as a Squadron Leader so I owe a lot to the clubs training. I also remember Eric Thurston as he used to let us taxi the aircraft over to the front of the club house first thing in the morning. I no longer fly as the eyesight is not so good but I am in Australia at the moment and my son has arranged a miclolight flight for me this Saturday, that will be my first.

20th Dec 2009, 09:31
I am another who was lucky enough to learn to fly with Neville Browning at H & E in the early '60s.
There are so many wonderful stories about that wonderful man, and one I recall, similar to the one above, is worth repeating.
He took me up over the Essex countryside, and pulle the Aircoupe throttle, so I could practice a forced landing procedure.

I thought I was doing OK, and found a reasonable field, but with no smoke around I had to guess the wind. Got on finals, before Neville took control and we powered up again.
'Not bad' he told me, but asked why I chose a certain field, and not the one he pointed out. We swept down to inspect 'his' landing field, and I saw a thin strip of grass, with a windsock at one end.
It belonged to a farmer friend of his, and so we promptly landed, and walked accross to the pub in the village of Fyfield.

A quick half of bitter, and after collecting some stale bread for his courseing greyhounds, did a short take off procedure (needed to be), and we headed back to Stapleford, mission accomplished in every sense.

On the day of my 'first solo', he told me my landings were crap, but he got out anyway, and told me to do 1 circuit. If I saw the red light, do a full stop and park the aircraft. If I see a green light, go round again.

I did what I thought was a prettygood circuit and landing, but no light signals of any kind.
Obviously, I could not take off again, so a bit disappointed, I parked the aircraft, and went to the clubhouse, where Neville met me with a pint and a slap on the back.
'You are still alive then?', or words to that effect, and that was another milestone, done the Browning way.

I heard some time ago, that he died back in the 1970s while flying at an airshow.

Does anyone know if that is fact.

Sir George Cayley
20th Dec 2009, 19:11
Neville Browning and his Zlin.

As a lad I remember his display at a SSFA Display at RAF Finningley. I was into jets, noise and size, not light a/c then, but I remember his display so it must have caught my eye.

One of his tricks was a bunt from a seemingly impossible height with the pull ( or should that be push) out just above ground level. No safety committees then.

My recollection is that at a subsequent display the ground rose up somewhat higher than usual with tragic results.

Sir George Cayley

31st Dec 2009, 04:00
Thank you Sir George.
Very sad, but for Neville, perhaps, the way to go.

31st Dec 2009, 22:46
For photo and accompanying commemorative poem, see this from the Flight archive. The poem goes.....

To think that I should ever see
A Tiger Moth up in a tree..............

tiger moth | western air | 1951 | 1552 | Flight Archive (http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1951/1951%20-%201552.html?search=tiger) moth tree

5th Jan 2010, 22:48
Does anyone remember my dad? His name was Harry Goddard, and he worked at Broxbourne in 1945. He passed away 2 years ago at 93yrs. thanks.

7th Jan 2010, 08:56
In the mid 70's Tiger Moth G-AIDS and Auster G-APLG were both stored in the workshop at SRV Motors, a garage which used to be opposite The Bell pub at Rettendon on the old A130.
I believe they were both moved to Southend airport probably early 1980's.

30th Jan 2010, 22:04
To Greenviewpark et al

I have a photo of the tiger IDS in my collection that I took during the mid late fifties and probably have one or two more, if anyone can supply a list of registrations, I will have a check through and sent a copy of the shots to one of you on email.

I cannot remember at the moment how to post to the thread, but its probably best sent to a private email anyway. There are a total of about 900 photos in the collection which I am still working on (scanning), but approx 300 are now up on abpic, go to www.abpic.co.uk (http://www.abpic.co.uk) enter Brian Doherty, chose photographer, then search. Please PM me if any match - there is no charge, I am not selling anything.

Mods - I hope that I am not breaking any rules with this - could you please PM me if there is a problem. Thank you.

Cheers Entaxei. :ok:

6th Feb 2010, 21:25
Eric has been reading these threads with interest. He is now 90 years of age and still often up at Stapleford. He spends most of his time at his factories in Ongar - and goes to Stapleford most Saturday mornings to meet his old friends.

26th Feb 2010, 18:17
Good to hear that Eric Thurston is still with us. I did my flying scholarship in July 68 on Aircoupes and Cherokees, names in the log book are G.Calvert, Dilly Grey-Fisk and of course Mr T himself. I remember the caravan and the Horsa glider.
I remember having difficulty with the roundout and having a trip with Eric to sort it out..we bounced down the grass from left wheel to right wheel with himself saying...the ground is just here son, can you feel it....bounce, bounce.
I also remember Dilly flying in a bikini....ok cadet start checks....blank!
We did our spinning at Stanstead and I got to land the apache with Eric in the other seat. Wow!
I have found that G-ARHB the aircoupe I did my solo in is still flying and looking good too...
All the best to Mr T thanks for the memory
Andy Loosemore

28th Feb 2010, 10:39
G-ADMT, a Hornet Moth, was based there sometime around 1946-'47 (Wings over Nazeing by Leslie Kimm). The owner is listed in Kimm's book as being 'unknown'. Does anyone have any memories or information on this Moth being there?

Lister Noble
28th Feb 2010, 11:45
I remember Eric from his son,a delightful person who if I recall died tragically whilst young,they lived at Theydon Bois.
We had several parties at his house, and if we wanted to smoke we had to go outside!
Also remember Neville Browning,they had a farm at Stapleford which his brother John shared.
Neville used to drink in the King William pub at Chigwell,I lived a few doors away where we had a small automobile garage,this would all be in the early 60's.
Neville used to meet a BOAC pilot who flew 707's but I can't remember his name now.
I used to go to the Stapleford clubhouse and knew Johnny Chicken and Tania well,later I lived in a big white house at Lambourne End ,next to the aerial at the top of the airfield.
The Herts and Essex Auto Club still going strong and run car sprints at ex RAF Debden airfield several times a year.
Also remember going to car hillclimbs maybe late 50's, run on the perimeter track,where Laddy Marvell kept his aircraft,a Pilatus I think?
I used to fly in the 60's as a passenger ,pilot Alan Bennett, in an old Prentice,from Biggin Hill,we did the Anjou wine rally in it one year,quite an adventure.I wonder if it's the same Prentice.
I also flew in many others at the time and developed a real love for flying,now all these years later I got my PPL on my 63rd birthday.
Sorry if this is all a bit rambling,but good memories for me.

14th Apr 2010, 21:33
I was sorry to learn from your posting of the 9th. September 2009 that Les Kimm passed away in the previous month. I got to know Les only during the time he was researching his book. I was able to supply him with a little information on some old speedway riding friends of my parents who were members of the Essex and Herts Aero Club before the war. I do have the two volume account of the history of the Broxbourne Aerodrome that Les produced. The year before Les died I lent him a book on the DH60 Moth that was written by Stuart McKay of the DH Moth Club and Les still had this when he died. I would like to be able to get the book back but would hesitate to perhaps contact his widow. I do know where Les lived as I visited him on a number of occasions. As you were a friend of his I am wondering if you could give me some advice on what approach I should take in this matter. I will be grateful of any assistance you can give.


19th Apr 2010, 05:50

Greenviewpark who has posted on this topic may be able to help you.


12th Feb 2011, 22:12
Hello Sir George,

Neville's accident was approximately 1968. He was performing at an airshow at one of the East Anglian USAAF bases. I think it was Bentwaters or Mildenhall but not too sure.

He started his show with a take-off, held it low for a while to build up speed then rolled inverted. He would have normally continued in this attitude (very low) down to the end of the runway before a push through and climb into the first half of an outside loop.

unfortunately on this day he experienced a total power failure inverted just above the runway and simply collided with the ground before he had a chance to do anything like recovering. He died instantly.


Dr Jekyll
13th Feb 2011, 16:38
I used to live around Broxbourne and there was an interesting story in the local paper back in the 70's.

It told of a German man who joined the Herts and Essex aero club as a student before the war and amazed the instructors with his aptitude. After the war it transpired that he had been a qualified pilot all along and was taking the opportunity to carry out illicit reconnaissance flights.

Unfortunately the story turned out to be total fantasy, but does anyone know how it started?

6th Jan 2012, 21:57
I have just come into possesion of a copy of " The Complete Flying Course" by N.Roy Harben D.F.C It was issued to a student named Lionel Gordon in May 1936.
It states that it was issued by " The Essex and Herts Aero Club " Broxbourne Herts.
The chief instructor is shown as Charles Spinks.
The insructor for Lionel Gordon was instructor number 4, Edward.R Martin.
The machine was a " Puss Moth "
I am not an aviator but I came across the posting regarding the Essex and Herts Aero Club.
At the same time I also aquired a book titled " British Air Forces " The Royal Airforce abd The Fleet Air Arm Completely Illustrated and Described Also Aeroplanes of The U.S.A., Germany and Italy, published by " The Illustrated London News 1941.

7th Jan 2012, 08:14
Neville Browning accident was at Seething airfield in Norfolk August 22 1971 in Zlin G-ASIM. He had also flown the Messenger in 633 Squadron film picking up an agent filmed in a field near Elstree.

15th Jan 2012, 13:30
I have just come across this thread - so many memories and names from the past. I too completed my PPL at Stapleford Tawney on a Flying Scholarship in March 1964 - the start of a career in aviation whcih is still continuing though age must cease the commercial flying soon. The enthusiasm and dedication of the instructors there led me into a wonderful career in aviation.

Neville of course and also Malcolm Eggleton who I (much later) met when he had joined the CAA - I believe he left Stapleford to fly CL44's and B707 freighters before joining the regulator.

I will always remember the early morning arrival of the CFI (Neville) from his farm - (we cadets had to be there at daybreak) as you never know from whence or in what attitude he would arrive. Usually after some interesting airborne convolutions he would park either the Messenger or Zlin outside the clubhouse, let the Greyhound out for a pee and start business.

First solo - off you go Old Boy - don't break it please.

After PPL I took my father and Grandmother - Granny had never flown before - for a ride in the Cherokee having had a check ride and a lecture from Malcolm. Grandma loved it and subsequently we all went to Madeira on a holiday after my mother died - TAP L1649 Super Constellation to Porto Santo and a diversion to Las Palmas but that's another story.

Flew the Chippy and the Prentice as well as the Ercoupe and then got involved in Tigers at Biggin Hill and Denham - took the Tiger into Stapleford a couple of times.

I have lost count of the number of pilots I have since interviewed who have been checked out for their ratings by the great Eric Thurston; all of whom remember him with fondness.

My own recollection was his innate fondness for Baked Beans and their subsequent effect when airborne - If you read this forum Eric, I am away at the moment - home in March and will try to get to Stapleford on a Saturday morning.

21st Dec 2012, 10:33
Were there ever any twin engine aircraft at Broxbourne?

21st Dec 2012, 11:36
Further to your post in 2006 did you receive many pictures of Broxbourne aerodrome?
My grandfather was employed there by Buster Frogley I believe during the war. My uncle Geoff was the first and possible only pilot to land a twin there. An Airspeed Oxford.
Would love any more info or even pictures?

18th May 2013, 21:24
From childhood memories of being an avid spectator at Broxbourne on Summer evenings, I'm sure there was often a DH89 Dragon Rapide flying there, although in retrospect it could have been simply a frequent visitor rather than based there. Chris.

17th Dec 2013, 17:29
Would anyone have any pics or info on William Catton who was a member of the club in 1936, he lived at Dane Street, Bishops Stortfod and got his club licence on 14/3/1936 no 13669

He crashed a plane in Belchamp St Paul sometime after that time while trying to take off in a small field but didn't clear the trees and hedge....

Any info would be appreciated

best wishes
Ratrod Pilot

Moth Man
14th Jan 2015, 10:30
I have been the co-owner of ex-Herts & Essex Tiger Moth G-AIDS since 1981 and have only recently spotted this thread. It has had two major restorations during that time, the first from April 1981 to May 1984 and the second from November 2009 to July 2013.

Following the second restoration it was awarded the status of "Best Moth" at the 2013 LAA Rally. If anyone has photographs or log book entries for G-AIDS at any stage in its career I would be very grateful if you'd be prepared to share them with me so that I can add them to the the aeroplane's history portfolio.

Leslie Kimm and Harry Smith both provided us with photos and information on G-AIDS' early days with Herts & Essex at Broxbourne. Les did his first solo in the aeroplane and a painting of the event adorned the cover of the second volume of his work "Wings Over Nazeing".

Harry very kindly presented us with an album containing the complete set of photographs from its recovery after a coming together with a may tree at Broxbourne in June 1951. As recently as yesterday evening I met a chap who showed me his log book entry from June 1960 when he had flown the aeroplane at Stapleford.

To the best of my knowledge it was withdrawn from use there in August 1960 but if anyone has any more accurate information I'd love to hear from you. I've also been trying, without success to locate a photograph of G-AIDS in military service as T6055. Again, if anyone can help I'd be very grateful.

14th Jan 2015, 13:47
No photos I am afraid, but I did see G-AIDS at Stapleford Tawney on 6 August 1958 while I was on a qualifying cross country for my PPL. I was flying Tiger Moth G-ALTW from Marshalls, Cambridge.

14th Jan 2015, 14:14
Sometime in the 50s Flight Magazine published a picture of G-AIDS after colliding with a tree along with an accompanying poem commencing "To think that I should ever see, a Tiger Moth up in a tree......."

I failed to locate this in the FlightGlobal Archive but it is reproduced together with more photos of the wreck and its recovery in the book Wings over Nazing mentioned earlier in this thread. This can be accessed via Google Books


Moth Man
14th Jan 2015, 14:54
Many thanks for that. The Flight Global link is actually earlier in this thread. I have a full set of the photographs, they were taken by Harry Smith and referred to in his book "One foot on the Ground".

Moth Man
14th Jan 2015, 14:55
Thanks for that info Laurence, it all adds to the file.

14th Jan 2015, 19:10
I do have a couple of photos of IDS which I took at Stapleford in the late 1950's, together with a number of other Stapleford residents at the time.

My technical expertise is not great, so I don't think I will be able to post them here but I will share them with you if I can.

Incidentally, I did see IDS flying over south Essex some years ago resplendent in silver with blue registration. If I recall, at Stapleford it was silver with green registration letters.

Co-incidentally, the Southend branch of the Royal Aero Society had a talk on Monday on the restoration of a Tiger Moth and I wondered if that was IDS and if so was that you giving the talk?



Moth Man
14th Jan 2015, 19:29
Ah yes, it was me giving the talk! The aeroplane has been in a colour scheme of midnight blue fuselage with white wings since 1984. The registration letters under the wings are in dark blue outline. If you take a look at the aeroplane's entry on G-INFO you will find me as one of the owners. I will try to send you a Private Message wth my e-mail address so we can liaise re the photos. Many thanks.

15th Jan 2015, 15:39
From my logbook:

16 Apr 1958 Tiger Moth G-AIDS Self FIRST SOLO .10 mins

I still remember it, even though it wasn't actually my first - that
had been in a glider a year earlier.

My instructor was Neville Browning.

It was the start of a career in aviation.

Flying Palm Tree
17th Jan 2015, 18:02
Is there any connection between the Herts & Essex Aero Club and the Essex Flying Club which was based at Loughton Air Park in the 1930s?

3rd Feb 2015, 11:30
The reason the H & E field is now a boating lake, is that is became a gravel pit..
I, lived in Broxbourne from 1950 to 1968 and knew several people who flew there. I also met Neville Browning later in Norfolk and clearly remember his fatal crash. The weather was a bit claggy and he wanted to give the crowd a show as the cloudbase was a bit low for most. A pilot friend was there and thought he lost it from lack of a horizon. Was the engine failure from the accident report?

23rd Aug 2018, 17:35
My dad, Mr. J. B. Bayas, did his first solo here between July 1 to July 15 1936, and became a flying member of the Club. He then joined Govt. of India as a civil servant. I would like to get any information on him.

fauteuil volant
2nd Sep 2018, 08:58
Crikey, Bayas, that's a heck of a long time to be airborne on your first solo! :hmm:

Nina Muller
7th Nov 2020, 08:53
Would anyone have any pics or info on William Catton who was a member of the club in 1936, he lived at Dane Street, Bishops Stortfod and got his club licence on 14/3/1936 no 13669

He crashed a plane in Belchamp St Paul sometime after that time while trying to take off in a small field but didn't clear the trees and hedge....

Any info would be appreciated

best wishes
Ratrod Pilot
Hello Ratrod Pilot,
William Catton was my father and he and my mum Eunice came out to Australia in 1950. Any information that you have about him would be appreciated. I think you know my cousin Paul Chummy Cousins.

7th Nov 2020, 13:14
Good to hear from you Nina. I hope your information will be helpful to the enquirer.

It's also good to see this thread revived. I have a question. My third cousin was Arthur Charles Geary, DFC, RAFVR and I have recently been researching his aviation career. Arthur was born in Edmonton, North London, in 1909, son of a well-known baker. He was a radio engineer and for three years from 1929 was a radio operator on SS Silverlarch. In the 1939 register of the population he is listed as a member of the Civil Air Guard, which was formed in 1938 to subsidise pilot training in the difficult years just pre-war. Suitable volunteers were trained at civilian flying clubs for their pilot’s A licence in exchange for undertaking to serve in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR). Arthur gained his R Ae C certificate dated 18.3.39 at the Herts & Essex Aero Club on the (quote) "D.H.60g, Gipsy,85". (I don't see what the "85" refers to). Indeed the Club did use Gipsy Moths from its early days and there is a picture of a line-up of them at https://www.ukairfieldguide.net/airfields/Broxbourne

I wonder if anyone can throw a little more light on the Club and its equipment in 1939, and the fate of its aircraft during the war. I understand some were impressed, but cannot find details.

To complete the story, Arthur indeed joined the RAFVR in 1940 and was posted to 211 Squadron as wireless operator/air gunner on the Blenheim I, first in the Western Desert then in Greece. He was awarded the DFC in March 1941 “For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations”. Sadly the award was to be posthumous as Arthur died during the infamous Easter Sunday operation in April 1941 when six Blenheims, attacking German troop movements in the Monastir gap, were destroyed by Bf109s.

Thanks to anyone who can help me find out more about the Club at that momentous time.

fauteuil volant
7th Nov 2020, 15:57
I understand some were impressed, but cannot find details.

Have you consulted 'Impressments Log' by Peter W. Moss? If not, let me know and I'll try to do it for you tomorrow.

7th Nov 2020, 16:02
Thanks FV. I can't get at my impressment logs any more (you know why!) so if you could look I'd be most grateful.

fauteuil volant
7th Nov 2020, 16:52
Moths operated by the Herts & Essex Aero Club, at the outbreak of war, which were impressed [source: 'Impressments Log']. The first column is the civil registration, the second the impressment date, the third the military serial number and the fourth the Moth variant. Here goes .....

G-AAAO 01.11.39 X5019 DH.60G
G-AAEX 01.11.39 X5021 DH.60G
G-AAPH 03.06.40 X5020 DH.60X
G-AAYG 06.12.39 X5126 DH.60M
G-ABHN 06.12.39 X5130 DH.60M

8th Nov 2020, 07:17
Brilliant. Thanks!


fauteuil volant
8th Nov 2020, 10:04
So have you, Laurence, yet deduced on which one your late third cousin gained his Certificate?

The photograph, to which you referred in your post of yesterday, appears to shows seven Moths (if one assumes that to be the identity of the aeroplane, whose undercarriage alone is displayed, beyond the Stinson). However without any indication of when, in the thirties, it was taken, one cannot aver that there were another two Moths in the Club's fleet at the outbreak of war. The photograph only offers a clue as to the identity of one of those Moths depicted. That appears to be G-EBVK, a DH.60X Moth that crashed (for the third time!) at Broxbourne on 06.07.37. It is recorded as having been damaged beyond repair in that crash (registration cancelled by the ARB the following year). So presumably that phtograph was taken not later than July 1937.

fauteuil volant
8th Nov 2020, 10:31
I've identified another three Moths operated by the Club. These were:

G-EBOT DH.60 Crashed 13/12/31 Broxbourne
G-EBWT DH.60X Crashed 24/03/34 Nazeing
G-EBZZ DH.60X Crashed 22/06/34 Stansted Abbots

I suspect that for a definitive list of the Club's fleet in the thirties, one could do worse than look to the first volume of 'Wings over Nazeing', by Leslie Kimm, which covers the history of the Club and Broxbourne Aerodrome in the period 1929 to 1945. Unfortunately I do not have that in my library.

8th Nov 2020, 13:53
I think I see only 6 Moths in that picture, of which the second appears to be G-EBVx (maybe K, but not sure). The first one could be the G-ABHN that you mentioned, but might not be! Which one our Arthur used, I don't know. Maybe several of them. They seem to have had a mix of DH60 subspecies. The differences are marginal to my eyes. But his RAeC certificate mentions specifically "D.H.60g" with a mysterious "85" added. It is mentioned that the poster "took this picture in the Science Museum" - a comment that I don't understand. The colour scheme looks rather attractive.

Having myself had a bit of a problem with Tiger Moth slats many moons ago, I note with interest that the first Moth appears not to have them whereas the second does - unless it's just the graininess of the photograph.


fauteuil volant
8th Nov 2020, 14:27
I think I see only 6 Moths in that picture

You're right, Laurence. I merged the low wing monoplane (seventh away from the camera - perhaps a Miles Hawk?) with the Stinson - and thought that I could see a pair of undercarriage legs, below and behind the latter, which I attributed to another Moth. Six moths it is!

13th Nov 2020, 18:20
When Pobjoy went 'Power' (from gliding) in 1972 it was by way of a 25 HP Turbulent (based at Redhill). This was pre mobile phones and the interweb so information on old airfields was rather scarce, and certainly out of date. However it soon became obvious that many 'old airfields ' were indeed still potentially usable for a non radio ultralight, and so it was great fun finding these places from air or ground to see if using them was possible. In the case of Broxbourne in the 70's it was most decidedly not usable unless you had a boat !!, as the gravel boys had changed it beyond recognition.
Fast fwd to 1994 and i am reading (ATA Pilot) Diana Barnato Walker's excellent book 'Spreading My Wings' when on page 71 Broxbourne appears in the text. So as not to spoil the complete tale here is the 'taster'. 8 th Dec1942 DBW has to drop off a Miles Master in Wales and then pick up a Spitfire Vc for delivery to Hornchurch. True to form it is getting late, and upon arriving north of London it is getting 'murky' with failing light and forming fog. Hornchurch is 'out' and N Weald fogged in. DBW scans her map and see's a red dot with BB marked on it. Not knowing this is only a small grass airfield surrounded by fields she is running out of options when she spots a small 'red doped' machine on a concrete base. Two approaches later she 'squeeze's into the field and brakes to a halt before hitting the hedge. After taxying towards the red doped machine (Proctor) a mechanic greets her with the classic 'we have never had a Spitfire in here before' !!. Being close to the London tube Diana is soon off to London for a night club and party plus gets the brief on 'how to get a Spit out of a small field'. Next morning with the 'tail in the hedge', stick back, and 4 airman on the tail area she gives EE743 as much power as she dares,nods her head and releases the brakes as the airman tumble off. The Spit shoots forward, clears the telephone wires and Diana delivers it to nearby Hornchurch. Great book, fantastic pilot, and as Diana says 'Thank you BB for being there when I needed you'. ISBN I 85260 473 5 treat yourself to a great read.