View Full Version : RAF Bovingdon - 1960s

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15th Dec 2008, 16:48
Does anyone know of any photos of general RAF activity at Bovingdon in the 1960s? Nostalgia has hit me hard in my fifties, and I’d love some visual reminders of an airfield I often spotted at when I lived nearby as a boy between 1965 and 1967 (yes, bad timing, missing out on filming of two Mosquito movies).

For me, Bovingdon was Ansons, Devons, Pembrokes and Bassets. Okay, not as exciting as living near a fighter or bomber base, but fascinating nonetheless. During school holidays, I’d cycle up between the ATC-controlled traffic lights on the road by the south-west of the base, lean my bike against the fence and crouch down facing the main runway to enjoy the take-offs right over my head. I can still hear the skylarks during the quieter moments…

I recall some unusual visitors, including a Shackleton. In hindsight, I’ve wondered if its presence was anything to do with Coastal Command top brass at (relatively) nearby Northwood. Can anyone confirm? Then there was the occasional appearance of a Fouga Magister. I have recently read that it lodged at Bovingdon for the use of French air attachés from their London embassy. Again, can anyone confirm? I also remember the excitement one summer Saturday morning (15th July 1967) when the Reds brought their Gnats to Bovingdon for lunch prior to performing at the Elstree air show.

I always had the impression Bovingdon was a happy station, well placed to enjoy London and the local countryside. Anyone here who was stationed there in its twilight years? Perhaps you’ve got a pic or two to satisfy my nostalgia!


15th Dec 2008, 17:19
There is a very good feature on RAF Bovingdon in the October 1968 copy of Aircraft Illustrated.Several photos including US Navy Martin Mercator and Italian Air Attache SM.102.Would be happy to copy it and send it to you if you E Mail me.

15th Dec 2008, 18:11
I was posted to the Fighter Command Communications Sqn at Bovingdon in April 1956, but only spent a couple of months there before being posted to FEAF at Changi.

In 1956 RAF Bovingdon was a busy station. In 1956 it housed both the Fighter Command and Coastal Command Communications Squadrons equipped with Avro Ansons and DH Devons. Servicing was carried out by civilian contractors with only a few RAF ground staff.

In addition the USAF 7531st Air Base Squadron had a detachment based here to service the frequent flights with personnel and freight to the USAF HQ 3rd AF in Ruislip from various USAF bases in Europe. USAF C47s and C123's were regular daily visitors. Also attached was a communications detachment from HQ 3rd AF in Ruislip to provide long-range ATC communications for the USAF.

The USAF departed in 1962 and the RAF left the airfield in January 1969. What used to be the airfield is now occupied by The Mount Prison.

Whilst I was there many of the pilots posted to desk jobs at the Fighter and Coastal Command HQs (RAF Stanmore and Northwood respectively) kept up their flying hours by flying the Avro Ansons based at Bovingdon.
The rather smart DH Devons on strength were used as VIP transports to the flying stations in their commands by the C in Cs, AOCs etc of Fighter and Coastal Command and were not available for casual hours building flights.






And here's a view of nearby Berkhamsted in 1956. The LMS main line to Birmingham and the north can just be seen as it passes through a cutting and tunnel in the centre top. Also visible is the Grand Union Canal which runs part of its course alongside the railway.
I took this photo for my then girlfriend who lived in one of the large houses at the bottom of the photo.

15th Dec 2008, 18:37
Thanks very much for the information, pictures and offer.

Come to mention it, I do recall seeing a few RAF staff cars with top brass in the back pulling into the main entrance - no doubt off in a DH Devon to some far-off airfield.

15th Dec 2008, 21:39
XV490. This thread brought back some memories!!!. I used to do the same as you on many occasions. I remember being at the traffic lights, watching a Meteor 7 landing too long, failing to get airborne again, swerving off the runway in a huge cloud of dust across the eastern skyline, and coming to rest minus it's port gear. I was young at the time, and my parents disbelieved me, until they saw a small report in next days 'Daily Telegraph'.I also saw a USAF A26 Invader, a T.33 C119, and of course the resident C.47s. I was allowed round the hangars on one occasion, in one of which was a 'Skyways of London' Constellation. I was approaching the airfield on one occasion, and saw nothing less than a B.45 Tornado climbing away to the west., Happy days!!.

15th Dec 2008, 21:46
I was an Air Cadet in the 60s and we had a number of Wing Parades there. I remember having a great march past when the Battle of Britain fleet were based there - Heinkel III and the Mitchell film aircraft.

In 1968 my Gliding school moved to Bovingdon and I did my first solo there.

I overflew it recently en route to Duxford. It is still there, just..

15th Dec 2008, 21:56
Great website with photos of aircraft at Bovingdon. Official Bovingdon Village Website (http://www.bovingdon.org/) click on history then Bovingdon airfield ,scroll down script click on the blue "more" to access the airfield web page.

avionic type
15th Dec 2008, 23:05
Is there anyone out there who worked at the airfield in the middle 40s the days of American European air transport E.A.T.S. Lancashire Airways ,B.O.A.C and the R.A.F. Comm Flt which had the World air speed record Meteor EE??? on charge the airfield had over a dozen H.P Halifax/ Haltons there of B.O.A.C /Lancashire Airways .B.O.A.C left about 1947to go to L.H.R. the things that sticks in my mind was the cold winters it was warmer outside than it was in the hanger first thing in the mornings and living in ex service duffle coats , naval sea boot socks and wellingtons:hmm::hmm::hmm:

16th Dec 2008, 10:02
Thanks for the links. I did hear someone was planning a book on Bovingdon's history, but it's yet to materialise...

It seems my time locally ('65 to '67) meant I missed out on the Fighter Command Comms Squadron days, when there was a Meteor or two at Bovingdon. In my time, it was the piston twins of the RAF Southern Communications Squadron, which presumably had combined the fighter and coastal comms units (for brass hats at Stanmore and Northwood). Daily flying seemed incessant in those days - there was always something in the circuit over my village (Ley Hill).

Given how small it was, it amazes me that Bovingdon played such an important role in WW2 for the US 8th Air Force's technical team - for example, in developing drop-tanks for fighters. I'm surprised there's not a memorial nearby to mark its wartime roles, including the B17 missions flown from there.

Earlier this year I embarked on a small crawl of the local pubs (one Diet Coke in each) to see if any had any commemorative photos of the base. Unless I missed a hostelry, there were none. Shame - here in East Anglia, many pubs near old airfields have at least one reminder on the wall; one went the whole hog and called itself The Flying Fortress (near Rougham).

Which raises the question - has there ever been a thread here devoted to pubs with photos/memorabilia associated with local airfields? While 'modern' landlords might see fit to clear history from their walls, some are happy to celebrate it anew. For example, a couple of years back, the owner of the Thatcher's Arms at Mount Bures (near Wormingford airfield) asked me to source photos of the USAAF's 55th Fighter Group for a permanent display. The late, great Roger Freeman was happy to help me, supplying some previously unpublished shots.

Off the beaten track, I've found quite a few photographic gems - for example, the huge photo mural in the Chequers pub (near Matching airfield) of a B26 dropping bombs - hardly PC, I'd have thought, among the contemporary decor in such a cosmopolitan establishment. But bless 'em for keeping it there.

Anyone got any more worth visiting?

16th Dec 2008, 13:00
has there ever been a thread here devoted to pubs with photos/memorabilia associated with local airfields?

A brilliant idea for a thread XV490!

The honour of making the opening post for it is yours. My chart and pencil are ready to take notes!

The Mods

16th Dec 2008, 14:19
T-21 - thanks for the link. After a bit of messing about on that site, I found a great collection of photos during the RAF's tenure of Bovingdon at: http://www.bovingdon-airfield.co.uk/

16th Dec 2008, 14:23
Evileyes - might this quest merit a new thread to itself?

I'd say so, and might be deserving of a sticky too!

Back to Bov, didn't they film "The War Lover" there? Excellent shot xists of John Crewdson bring a B-17 across the airfield at height which made Don Bullock look quite conservative...

16th Dec 2008, 14:31
New to this lark, so I don't know what a sticky might be. Doubtless I'll be put right soon.

Yes, the War Lover was filmed at Bovingdon. I've today found a few colour shots of the movie's B17s on location: go to http://www.bovingdon-airfield.co.uk/ and select aircraft gallery/USAAF/more (and more!).

16th Dec 2008, 17:27
At moderator Evileyes' suggestion, I'm going to open a new thread to continue gathering details of relevant pubs. Thanks for your contributions so far!

16th Dec 2008, 18:38
I was deputy Satco at Bovingdon 67 to 69 and while there I worked closely with the MOCA civil Fire Crew who had been there for years previous. They told me that before the USAF left they buried tons of spares in the grass areas as well as burying a complete Lightning aircraft adjacent to the fire ground. I never got to excavate, but there will be some interesting finds if ever it is dug over. When the Battle of Britain filming finished the film company buried their dummy bombs in the grass adjacent to what was the underground avaition fuel storage facility. The fuel tanks were removed in 69 by flooding the gravel pits in which they were buried, then the empty tanks floated to the surface for removal. The largest aircraft that visited when I was there was a DC6 which came in to have seats fitted by a local firm. The Fouga Magister was resident as were Bassetts Ansons Pembrokes & Devons. The Ansons were sold off from Bovingdon in 68 and two went to Biafra flown by some intrepid pilots from Elstree who did their tail dragging conversions with the RAF before departing. Another Anson set off in the hands of a PPL accompanied by an air hostess from Luton for the States and on the first leg to Prestwick ended up in Ireland. I don`t know if they ever crossed the real pond. My time at Bovingdon was interesting as 3 films were made there during my time these being Mosquito Squadron, Battle of Britain & 633 Squadron. Mitchell, Messerschmit, Spitfires and Hurricanes were all mustered by Grp Capt Hamish Mahaddie as needed.

Will Hung
16th Dec 2008, 20:48
I remember my Dad taking us to Bovingdon in what must have been the late sixties. A whole bunch of a/c had flown in, one of which was an orangey/red thing, a bit like a Lanc as I remember, and my Dad told me that a camerman fell out of it, obviously, to his untimely death !!.

Incidently, XV490, you will obviously know 'The Swan' in Ley Hill. Did you know that the pub scenes in 633 Squadron were filmed there ?

Anyway, now I live in Chesham, just down the road from Bovingdon. A lot of Chesham girls ended up moving to the USA, because Chesham was the main town where the 8th Airforce boys spent their dosh.

I fly out of Denham, and generally return there via Bovingdon thanks to it's VOR. Many others use it too, and on a saturday or sunday when the weather's good aircraft are like the proverbial flies round a cows a*se, so I always transit the area at an irregular altitude. (Not that I can hold regular one !!!!!!)

16th Dec 2008, 21:23
A whole bunch of a/c had flown in, one of which was an orangey/red thing, a bit like a Lanc as I remember, and my Dad told me that a camerman fell out of it, obviously, to his untimely death !!.

That sounds like the B-25 "Psychodelic Monster" used in BoB - camera man who fell out of one was John Jordan who fell out of a B-25 around the same time filming Catch 22 in Mexico.

17th Dec 2008, 08:26
Hi. WiILLHUNG. As you say,BNN VOR was like bees round a honeypot. Like you, I used to fly at 2337 feet, 'cos nobody else does. Sad fact is that one did. Miserable day, looked up, blue Cherokee at same height and head on very close. I banged the throttle and turned hard right, he banged the throttle and turned, yes, you've guessed it.......HARD LEFT. VERY close. Taught me to talk to radar that did!!!.Happy days.

17th Dec 2008, 08:30
WILLHUNG Slight thread creep. I married a delightful girl from Chesham Bois. Her mother worked in the Post Office there.

17th Dec 2008, 08:46
Will Hung - I know The Swan at Ley Hill well. But according to the landlady of the The Three Compasses at Aldenham, it was her pub that was used in 633 Squadron. See <h2>The Three Compasses</h2> (http://www.thethreecompasses.com)

As for the wartime Bovingdon GIs, I once read that a 'Propyhlactic Station' was provided in Chesham for their benefit. I had to look that one up in a dictionary.

Will Hung
17th Dec 2008, 08:59
There's only one way to settle this. Visit both pubs !!

17th Dec 2008, 09:00
As you say,BNN VOR was like bees round a honeypot

As seen from ground level, rather than as a dial in the cockpit.



17th Dec 2008, 10:59
Heathhurn - might that mean inmates from Bovingdon's Mount Prison claim finders' rights when they're trying to tunnel their way out?

Will Hung
23rd Dec 2008, 08:15
Out of interest, what does the 'D' stand for in DVOR ?

23rd Dec 2008, 08:51
Try this: Air Traffic Engineering (http://atcsl.tripod.com/atc_engineering.htm#DVOR)

This thread invoked memories of when Radlett/Hatfield/Leavesden had runways and aprons with aircraft parked on them.

I can still recall the idents GAR and WAT piping away in my headset too.

Kieron Kirk
23rd Dec 2008, 09:08

Doppler VHF Omni Directional Range.


23rd Dec 2008, 14:59
The local village hall is dedicated to the memory of the USAF C-47 unit that flew from Bovingdon and has a plaque depicting the unit's number etc. Someone local would know more. If your into conspiracy theories, Glen Miller is supposed to have landed here and picked up another passenger on his ill-fated flight. Going back many years, during renovation work on a local pub, a false wall was found behind which was a German WW2 radio (or wiireless receiver/transmitter) and which is/was put on display. Would be grateful for more details if anyone has them.

5th Jan 2009, 16:16
I was on Coastal Command Communications Flight at Bovingdon in 1961/2.
CCCF was the smallest unit with four Ansons (3 Mk19 and a 21) plus the AOC Coastal Command's VIP Valetta (VX504).

Fighter Comm Sqn was larger with about ten Ansons, 1 Varsity, 1 Devon, 2 Meteor T7's and a Meteor NF14 equipped for air to air photography. The French Embassy's Fouga Magister lived in our hangar and rarely flew.

The Engineers from Short Brothers, who maintained the RAF aircraft, kept them all in pristine condition.

The USAF operated half a dozen C47's, but we didn't have much contact.

You are right, Bovingdon was a very happy station and a close knit community.

Columbia Pictures filmed The War Lover at Bovingdon in 1962 using 3 B17's, with Robert Wagner, Steve McQueen and Shirley Ann Fields to add interest for the film buffs.

BTW. The north side of the airfield was a great place to pick mushrooms.

This photo of a CCCF Anson was taken during an open day after I left.


12th Jan 2009, 23:14
To XV 490

regarding your request for photos etc. of Bovingdon during it's Operational days, perhaps I could help you.
I used to go flying from there regularly as a cadet in the ATC with several other pals. It is with great happiness that I look back on those days which I count as some of the happiest of my life.
My first flight was in an Anson navigational trainer and the pilot was an unforgettable character, Flight Sergeant Bob Sloane. He treated us all - I was 14 at the time - as "his boys". As well as the photographs I have many anecdotes of that halcyon period of my life.
Pics. include Hastings, Shackleton, Gemini, Lockheed T-33, Meteor T7, Hawker "Sea Hawk" which took off from there to break the London-Amsterdam speed record, Mosquito, Fairchild C-119 "Packet" and what I believe is the only Gruman Albatross to land at Bovingdon. There is also an American 'plane of which I'm not sure of it's type.
Several stories, such as the Wing Commander who crashed a Percival "Provost" which was I think a high speed conversion aircraft. The T-33 which ran out of runway and ended up with it's nose wheel between the main undercarrage legs. I could go on - it really was afabulous time and it saddens me deeply to see that state of the dear old place now.

13th Jan 2009, 10:31
Thanks for the fascinating replies.

Brakedwell - I remember cycling up to the airfield one afternoon after a Spitfire had done a few circuits over my village. I recall talking about it to a sergeant, who was just inside the fence. He said he was picking mushrooms! I thought my memory was playing tricks, so thanks for the confirmation they grew there!

19th Jan 2009, 15:59
BovingdonBoy - are you by any chance connected with the planned book about Bovingdon I've read about elsewhere? If so, I'd be fascinated to know when it's published, as I'll doubtless be among the first buyers.

20th Jan 2009, 12:33
Prior to 617 GS arriving from Hendon in the late '60s, 613 GS from Halton operated detachments there at various times, mostly (but not always) when Halton was waterlogged in winter. I did the very first launch there on the first detachment in a Mk 3 with Mike Duncombe (he'd been aerotowed in from Halton) and I also got the first Air Cadet Soaring Certificate there about a year later.

Union Jack
20th Jan 2009, 14:32
I found a great collection of photos during the RAF's tenure of Bovingdon at: http://www.bovingdon-airfield.co.uk/ (http://www.bovingdon-airfield.co.uk/)

..... including a very fine contender, on the fifth page of the USAAAF/USAF gallery, for the Four-engined Class in the Low Pass Stakes! I think even Alain de Cadenet might spotted that one coming ....:ok:


20th Jan 2009, 14:44
I remember going to an open day when the Battle of Britain film was being shot it was a Saturday in 1969, all the Spanish airforce HE111 plus 109s and the B25 with that bird in hot pants!

20th Jan 2009, 14:49
I used to fly at Halton with the Duncombe brothers!!!! Wonder what they are doing now. Bernard Newman was my instructor at Halton.

21st Jan 2009, 03:44
Ben Newman retired shortly before I started my training ; Phil Plows was CFI. To avoid thread creep, I flew with Mike on my introductory lessons and with Paul just pre solo (Jacko did the solo checks on Pauls recommendation).
My log book reveals the first det to Bovingdon was on 21 Jun '65 and my soaring took place on the next det (we took the aircraft by road this time) on 19 Sep '65. My log book records the day before I'd flown an aerobatic trip with Paul at Bovingdon in Sedbergh XN150!!

Will Hung
23rd Jan 2009, 11:10
Thanks for posting that link UnionJack. Absolutely superb. :D

23rd Jan 2009, 16:06
Two other films at Bovingdon but both early 70s: Hanover Street with B25s and a scene from The man with the Golden Gun involving a car with detatchable wings (Ford Pinto I think)

28th Jan 2009, 20:42
During one detachment (65 or 66) we did evening AEF for local squadrons. On one evening, we arrived to find a Devon in 'our' hangar on the back of a large trailer. Apparently, there was a slight 'hump' in the main runway (22) close to the threshold, and the Devon pilots usually touched down after this hump in order to avoid the embarassment of the hump launching them back into the air. Inevitably on this occasion, the pilot had touched down after the hump, only to find he had no brakes, and ended up on the Chesham - Hemel Hempstead road having taken off the undercarriage on the boundary fence. But on another evening, the SDO turned up just as we were preparing to start gliding operations; he mentioned he was taking a Devon up for some C/T, so we volunteered ourselves and the AEG cadets as 'cargo'. Honey Monster was also a staff cadet on 613, and he noticed an empty seat on the last trip, so quickly leapt back on board for his second ride of the evening!!

4th Feb 2009, 12:31
I have downloaded a 8mm film clip of Col John Glenn's space capsule leaving Bovingdon in 1962 after being on show in the Science Museum. The C124 Globemaster was carrying it on a world tour.


5th Feb 2009, 10:46
I had been an ATC cadet for about a year when they started filming 633 Squadron. Along with a mate, Mike Cobb, we went to Bovingdon one sunny day in the school summer hols, and were rewarded with being able to get really close behind the camera for the filming of two scenes of dialogue involving Donald Houston and Cliff Robertson. We were also able to closely examine the Mossy which was to do the crash landing scene; even from a few feet away those bullet holes looked genuine rather than just pieces of painted plywood stuck on the fuselage.
There was a total of 12 Mossies at Bovingdon but only 4 or 5 were in flying condition; one other was just a fuselage used for cockpit scenes.

Will Hung
14th Feb 2009, 20:50
[QUOTE][WILLHUNG Slight thread creep. I married a delightful girl from Chesham Bois. Her mother worked in the Post Office there./QUOTE]

Would that have been the old post-office opposite what is now the best Butchers in Bucks ? Try their Bangers !

Oh for the days of a local PO. When I need to, I now queue up up for 20 mins at the main one in town. That's progress I guess !!!!

(Gives me an excuse to resurrect an excellent thread)

15th Feb 2009, 06:37
Trouble is Will, people on here but not from the Chesham/Amersham area NEVER pronounce 'Chesham Bois' properly!!

15th Feb 2009, 06:38
Yes, Will Hung, you are correct.Drove past Bovingdon the other day [stayed at the 'Bobsleigh']. Brought back many memories of interesting aircraft, and Bovingdon was instrumental in my passion for aircraft that continues to this day.

15th Feb 2009, 06:44
Will, My wife lived above the Butchers shop before I married her!! Her name was Teresa Zastempowski just in case you knew her or her Mum.

Will Hung
15th Feb 2009, 10:53
Well it's not the sort of name one would forget, that's for sure !

Sorry, Jem, I'm from Croxley originally, so wouldn't have known your wifes' family.

15th Feb 2009, 11:44
Will Hung - Did you see the query (here (http://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/361024-filming-title-scenes-prisoner.html)) as to whether Bovingdon was the location for the opening sequence of The Prisoner?

15th Aug 2009, 23:34
Hi Mellywell

I've just, belatedly, picked up your message posted in Jan. 2008 regarding pics. in Aircraft Illustrated.
I used to go flying from Bov. very often in the mid-50s whent I was in the 23f Bushey and Oxhey Sqdn of the ATC. There were a number of us kids, all aged about 14yrs, who used to cycle out from Watford at every opportunity.
I am particularly interested in the pic.of the SM102 which I remember very well. It had wicker seats in it with oxygen masks hanging above.
I remember also that we used to climb inside this aicraft to eat our packed lunches in the flight deck. It was only after some time that we learned that the airplane belonged to "the Italian Embassy".
I often think to myself if the crew ever wondered where all the egg shells were coming from!
I have a number of photographs that I took at the time. If you would like copies I could email them to you.

16th Aug 2009, 06:52
I once worked with an engineer who was ex Bovingdon and worked on Yorks
He came from Hemel Hemstead , and if my memory serves me right was called Bill . He joined Euravia, then Britannia as the flight line boss, !960's onwards .
One of the memories he recalled was when the Americans left Bovingdon, they dug a large hole and filled it with loads of redundant tools, alot, brand new snap-on etc and they had strict orders not to touch them . They must have cried in their beer.

17th Aug 2009, 16:18
Ah, the hole-in-the-ground story again. Has anyone actually ever found one of these fabled dumps on any former US airfield? I'd read that one at Stansted had been raided, but the diggers swore to keep mum about what they'd found. :ooh:

Just read a nice story about how US servicemen from Bovingdon turned out in force to help at the site of a nasty train crash at nearby Bourne End in September 1945.

Apparently, a USAAF pilot spotted the incident just after t/o and alerted the tower.

avionic type
18th Aug 2009, 04:26
yes we were given tools ect and snap-on tool chests by the Americans before just befor they went in the "hole " and if you look with a mine detector in the area by the cross roads you may find it but it was very deep , I still have a 2 stacker chest and a few tools after all these years

18th Aug 2009, 05:28
If you go to British Pathe (http://www.britishpathe.com/results.php?search=bovington) ( note the incorrect spelling of Bovingdon) there is an interesting newsreel clip on the Aldbury air disaster in Hertfordshire. This aircraft in question had just departed Bovingdon when it crashed killing 16 passengers and crew.

24th Aug 2009, 15:35
LTNman: Thanks for the link. What a tragic story for the Service. I wonder if there's a memorial at Aldbury.

25th Aug 2009, 06:41
Ah, so the Bovingdon Hole story was true and not a joke . thanks for the proof.
An ex Bovingdon person in the York days, I worked with at Brits had a nickname "Jeb"

avionic type
25th Aug 2009, 15:32
yes merve also not in the hole but scrapped were 3or 4 tractor tugs, 2 fork lifts,and other ground equipment, and last but by no means least a complete Dak minus its engines which was destroyed by bulldozing over and crushing it, all motorised stuff was drained of oil and the engines raced at full throttle till they siezed solid That bought tears to the eyes as they were practicly brand new .
we lived on number 2 site in Shantock Hall Lane where I believe people were still waiting for housing in the middle 50s, we left in 1947/8for L.H.R.:{:{:{

26th Aug 2009, 02:53
WRT 'holes in the ground'; at the risk of thread creep:
My 2 i/c at Marlow ATC was an erk in the late 50's early 60's. He was posted to North Coates to re-open the station when it was selected as a Bloodhound site. An SNCO took him and others to a locked Robin hangar to see what was in it; on cutting off the padlock, they found it was stacked full of Beaufighter toolkits*. As they were not in the inventory and thus would need to be 'explained', the SNCO told the erks to dig a hole and bury them!

*I was told 'toolkits' but did toolkits for specific types exist? Could he have meant spareskits?

Lima Juliet
26th Aug 2009, 20:55
I went to Bovingdon with my old boy in the 70s and there were half a dozen or so Mitchells on the taxi-way. I believe they were part of the film Hannover Street and I remember having a good look around them (inside and out). I've just found this picture on the internet and the memories of a very excited 10-ish year old boy have come flooding back!


27th Aug 2009, 00:14

Jeb was the hanger foreman for Skyways in my days there as an apprentice on the last York and all of the Hermes.

Speedbird 48.

27th Aug 2009, 06:37
Speedbird 48
Yes that is the same Jeb and also another ex Bov /Skyways was Bill Atkins
Jeb went on a P and W JT8D course with me to Hartford Conn, prior to the first arrival of Brits 737's

28th Aug 2009, 14:56
Yes it was Hannover Street; never seen it myself but the B25s were the subject of a documentary (B25 Mitchells do fly in IMC) and they ended up at Blackbushe amongst Doug Arnold's collection - whether he actually bought them I don't know but I do know he already had problems with customs for importing some T28s as they were classed as 'munitions of war'.
They're actually parked on an apron, it was much wider before that bulldozer got to work on it!(Photo taken from the old Control Tower.)

28th Aug 2009, 15:09
B25 Mitchells do fly in IMC
Thanks for the reminder - still got it on tape, must transfer it..:D

28th Aug 2009, 16:59
...over the other day and there seems to be some clearing work going on around the old control tower. All the old shrubbery has been removed and you can now see the tower quite clearly.

Anybody any idea what (if anything) is going on?

Nav Rad
14th Feb 2010, 13:31
Very nice to see that aircraft. TX195 was the first Anson that I flew as a Navigator on the Coastal Command Comms Flight on 25 April 1962. Others flown were; 858, 859, 981 and 987. Correct me if I am wrong but I make that 5 Ansons not 4. Maybe that last one was added after you left? I flew it on 23 May 1965. I left the Comms Flight on 19 June 1965 to go and fly Valiants. Agreed there was a VIP Valetta as well.

14th Feb 2010, 15:21
Nav Rad, your first trip was with me! My logbook shows: April 25th 1962, Anson 195, Bovingdon-St Mawgan-Bovingdon - 1.30 Day each way. I left CCCF for Argosies in Sept 1962. My last Anson flight was to Leuchars- Stornoway-Prestwick-Bovingdon on Sept 19/20 in 815, a Fighter Comm Sqn Anson. P/O Piper, the Nav, was filling in time on FCS, so I must have helping them out. While I was on CCCF the fleet consisted of 3 Anson 19's, 195,858,859 and a Mk21, 981. Our Valletta was 504. I do regret not entering full serial numbers in my log book.

14th Feb 2010, 15:27
Was the VIP Valetta red and blue?? I was spectating at the Chesham end one day, and it damn near seemed to take the fence down on take off. I seem to remember that Sir Anthony Eden was on board, going to a conference somewhere, or my memory may just have faded.

14th Feb 2010, 15:35
I don't remember any red on 504, I think it had a plain blue stripe along the side. However, there was a lot of dark red mahogany in the passenger cabin!

21st Feb 2010, 12:42
My introduction to aeroplanes came in the early 1950s when as an infant I was taken to play on the hulks of the old civil Halifaxes that were dumped on a dispersal just off the lane to Whelpley Hill. Several years later we moved to Ashley Green, a couple of miles from the airfield. I remember lying in bed in the mornings listening to the lovely sound of a fleet of C47s being warmed up across the valley before the day's flying.
School holidays were mostly spent perched atop the remains of the fenced hedge at the Chesham Road end of the runway. My pal David was usually with me - his dad had been a skipper at Bovingdon on Halifaxes and Yorks with LAC. We were always full of anticipation when the traffic lights turned red, we munched on our baked bean sandwiches and wondered what would turn up next. It could be very busy. I recall Globemasters (always a thrill), C54s ,C130s, once a B50, Packets, Providers ,Noratlas, Samaritans, Hastings, Shacks, Neptunes, Devons, Herons, Pembrokes, Varsitys, Valettas, Meteors, Vampires including one that overshot and ended up astride the Chesham Road, T33 and the Fouga Magister.
One foggy morning, much to our glee, a Shackleton landed short in the field before the runway. It roared snorting like an enraged bull over the Chesham Road and swept the fence away with its tailwheel up the runway.
What else do I remember? The squeaks of taxying C47s, the Pilots waving to us, the squeals of tyres on landing and the smell of newly mown grass blown on warm slipstreams. The song of Skylarks and the gargle of an Anson climbing up into the clear blue sky.

21st Feb 2010, 18:22
Goodness me, you made it sound like yesterday, all those lovely memories. Did the same thing as you, cycling from near Aylesbury to stay on the same bit of road. Meteor T.7 landed long, swerved off the runway, slid across the skyline in a big cloud of dust, and a collapsed port main u'c. C.47s by the ton, and yes, I even remember a B45.Tornado. I saw it shortly after it had taken off, and was heading west as I was between Wendover and Great Missenden on my push bike.!! Only time I ever saw one flying. No point in me posting same types as you. The sun always seemed to be shining on silver aeroplanes in those days. Happy times, started my lifelong interest. Cheers, John.

22nd Feb 2010, 08:12
How much more exciting the 1950s were to those of us in short pants at the time. So many different aeroplanes to be seen, both civil and military, dozens of RAF bases scattered around the UK - and steam trains belting along the main lines in defiant mechanical fury. There were still the quiet little branch line services as well....the sun always shone in summer and it always snowed in winter.

There was no health and safety nonsense, you accepted risk and acted sensibly.

And your father would still be able to find a long enough empty road where he could try to max the family Zephyr up to 100 mph.

I despair at the ruination nuLabor has brought to the UK....:mad:

22nd Feb 2010, 08:35
... and as an air cadet in 1968, travelling alone from Watford to Bovingdon for a day's gliding.

Great days. Cr*p weather as I recall, but great days.:ok:

Nav Rad
22nd Feb 2010, 11:22

You will see from my private message to you the odd story I've included. I note that you feature a number of times in my logbook. Great days!

Nav Rad

Steve Bond
22nd Feb 2010, 13:46
Oh, me too! First stop was always the "customs pan" to see what exotic visitors there might be. It was always worth going "round the back" to walk along the footpath behind the USAF hangar, bound to be a nice C-47 of some sort to point the camera at.

Yes, the spot by the traffic lights was best; any long term visitors would taxi right past you anyway to park on the opposite side of the airfield from the hangars.

Anyone else remember the South African Air Force Shackletons?

I never did find the Swift on the fire dump though.

David Rayment
5th Aug 2010, 08:59
This is a long shot but somebody may have been there. April 10th 1951. LAC Halifax G-AGZP takes off at 07:17 (a bit early for casual watchers). Shortly after take off and loses (literally) number one engine. Shortly after that it loses number two through oil starvation caused by the loss of number one. Lands back at Bovingdon 07:42. What I would like to know is where did the number one engine land. I have heard accounts (a) that it landed in a Farm called 'Deadmans Farm' and (b) it landed near the place where he was killed (in G-ALDV) in 1958. Anyone have any recollections of the Halifax.

Oh Thank you OUAQUKGF Ops - I remember those times well !

5th Aug 2010, 09:34
brakedwell; two of the Ansons were PH858 and '859; if I could find my 3822 I could possibly give more on the others. The Valletta as far as I recall was 'standard' white top/natural metal undersides with broad blue cheatline. If Honey Monster sees this post he would be able to enlarge as he scrounged more than I did.
There was a pilot (Flt Lt Colbourne?) with a badly burned face. His takeoff technique in the Ansons was full throttle down the runway, tail up, then retract the undercarriage without rotating!

5th Aug 2010, 10:06
I only recorded the number part of the serial numbers in my log book. The other two CCCF Ansons I flew when stationed at Bovingdon was a Mk19 TX195 and a Mk21 ** 981. The Valletta serial number was **504.

Dickie Colbourne was badly burnt in a Mosquito accident when both engines stopped due to fuel starvation after a night take-off. He was awarded the George Medal for rescuing his navigator from the burning wreckage. I flew with Dickie a couple of time and remember him being an over cautious pilot. which doesn't tie up with your description of his take off technique.

5th Aug 2010, 10:26
This must have been a 'one off' then. The intercom conversation went something like 'ah well we should be airborne by now, undercarriage up'.

6th Aug 2010, 05:54
Anyone remember the 'At Home Day' at Bovingdon in 1966? Or was it 1967? IIRC, there was an impressive fire-fighting demonstration.

6th Aug 2010, 20:28
In those wonderful ATC years managed to scrounge a flight to Bovingdon in a Devon from Northolt.
The idea was then you "scrounged" another flight to somewhere else and eventually made it back to where you started from even if it meant a night stop and a meal ticket (1 shilling)
However our plans all went to pot when we landed to find camo netting over the control tower and the remains of a Mosquito still lying on the grass.
It was just after "633 Squadron" with lines of Ansons a couple of Pembrokes and some american "prop" jobs.
In fact Bov was just like Kenley (a time warp) but Bov still had its aircraft.
We missed our return to Northolt due to wandering into the hangar to find "two more" complete Mosquito's with the cockpit doors down and steps in place.
A couple of hours and several missions later we wandered back to the tower to be told that another aircraft was going to Northolt if we wanted a lift back.
Many years later whilst working in the area for a day i went back to find the builders busy building a prison.
The control tower was still nearly intact at that stage so i stood on its balcony (of "you cant kill a squdron" fame) to look across where the ghost of the mossie lay.
BOV still survives though in the odd "Avengers" repeats.
Would have thought the control tower would have made a good ATC HQ for a local squadron (no vision in England)

7th Aug 2010, 08:39
Didn't Bovingdon GCA have a weird VHF frequency? 140.58 springs to my aged mind.. London Approach used to do the first bit, just like Northolt inbounds off airways then hand off to GCA.

7th Aug 2010, 12:23
Hello Ray - do you remember that old photo that you had of your dad's Halifax after it lost its donk? I think you showed it to me about forty years ago. Any chance you can scan it and post it on this thread? (Don't ask me how!). Cheers Tom.

13th Aug 2010, 11:09
XV490: the only Bovingdon 'Open days' I recall were when the yanks were still in situ ie prior to 1963; the 'usual' refuelling demo with a B50 'towing' an F100 and a B66, clearly visible from my home in Chesham.
HD: there was a 'standard NATO VHF frequency 142.29 which may have been used in those days.

David Rayment
13th Aug 2010, 13:54
Hi Tom - Good idea - I will work on it!


13th Aug 2010, 14:50
Hanover Street.

Shortly before fire in starboard engine.:)


13th Aug 2010, 16:36
I took this 8mm movie when I was on Coastal Command Communications Flight. Colonel Glenn's capsule was being loaded into a C124 for the continuation of it's world tour.

YouTube - Glenn Capsule (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mfHj7ZtzLU)

David Rayment
14th Aug 2010, 09:46
Further to my earlier posting here are some pictures of 'GZP

The first shows 'GZP after landing (obviously) and in the words of Andre Jeziorski, the co-pilot, ' that’s actually where we taxied towards the very end of the main runway and we turned left into a large runup area we turned and stopped'. Anyone recognize the location?


The second picture shows what is left of no1 after it fell off near Dagnall, near Whipsnade. The best information I have is that it fell at '. . .Mrs Deadman's Farm . . .' The loss of the engine was caused by a piston seizure. This picture was taken professionally and signed by the crew. The underwriters were so pleased that the aircraft was not a complete loss that they gave my Father a gold cigarette case, which the Bank subsequently mislaid!


14th Aug 2010, 10:17
That's a potentially dangerous looking hole under the leading edge of the wing :eek:

14th Aug 2010, 10:39
The houses in the background of the first picture would possibly indicate it is parked near Whelpley Hill, but this is nowhere near the end of the main runway; it is however near the end of runway 28 which is shorter. On the other hand, if the fence in the background denotes the main road to Chesham rather than Whelpley Hill, then it could be the large parking area at the southern end of the disused north/south runway which if I recall, was the main USAF pan up to '62, and the main parking area for the comms sqdn aircraft after the merger of FCCS, CCCS and BCCS (which moved in from Booker when it closed as an RAF airfield).

14th Aug 2010, 13:07
Bad timing! I was in the area on Thursday, checking out the Royal Oak near Bovingdon Green. I'd have had a look for the houses in the second photo if I'd known...

I'd heard the Royal Oak displayed some airfield photos etc. - alas not. It was very close to the base's WAAF site, hospital and main communal area during the war. Does anyone know when these were cleared? I know the gym/cinema building survives on the Ley Hill road near the Bovingdon Brickworks.

David Rayment
15th Aug 2010, 08:08
By 21/4 the fitters at LAC had repaired 'GZP and my Father took it to Abadan via Malta and Cairo. At Abadan on 23/4, (TO 04:38) the hydraulics went u/s. Total airborne time for that flight was 6 minutes. Same day, TO at 15:56 from Cairo they had a no1 engine failure! They arrived back at Bovingdon on 24/4 at 19:02.

Sorry its a bit off thread. I will see if I can find some pictures from the '60s!

15th Aug 2010, 11:56
David Rayment
Anyone recognize the location?


This photo of Bovingdon is as it was in 1956 with Rwy 22/04 running diagonally right to left.

16th Aug 2010, 08:28
No 28 is bottom to top. I believe the main runway was 04/22 running diagonally right to left.

17th Aug 2010, 06:13

I believe the main runway was 04/22 running diagonally right to left

Having had a look at a map of Bovingdon I think you're right. Hempstead Road ran almost parallel with the main runway and according to the map Hempstead Road runs a good South-West to North-East.

I was stationed at Bovingdon in 1956 - memories obviously fade!

18th Aug 2010, 22:50
XV490 - just re-read your post; isn''t Bovingdon Green near Marlow? Bit of a long way from RAF Bovingdon.

19th Aug 2010, 07:27

Bovingdon Green, where the village cricket club play, is the name of a road. Its junction with Water Lane, Middle Lane and Long Long is where the Royal Oak's situated (postcode HP3 0LZ).

I've just been sent a wartime plan photocopy of the airfield and its environs by the RAF Museum, but it's largely illegible - as, I was told, is the original. Shame.

19th Aug 2010, 08:23
When I was stationed at Bovindon in the early sixties we used to wander down and stagger back from the Royal Oak! A very young Shirley Bassey and her husband Kenneth Hulme who lived nearby were regular visitors the pub.

19th Aug 2010, 08:55
This map (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10268225/BOVmapMOD.gif) shows the Royal Oak and the original airfield-related sites nearby.

Shirley Bassey and Kenneth Hulme presumably lived nearby?

19th Aug 2010, 09:43
Shirley Bassey and Kenneth Hulme presumably lived nearby?

Yes they did. She told me where they lived, but I can't remember where it was.

19th Aug 2010, 10:02
Bovingdon Green is a road ah that explains it. I was too young and innocent to frequent the pubs in the area when 613 GS were operating there, but I'm pretty certain it's also the name of a village near Marlow - how it got that name so far from the real Bovingdon I don't know!
For years I had a copy of the Bovingdon crash map but sadly no more.

19th Aug 2010, 10:16
As a member of the Watford Grammar School CCF I flew from Bovingdon on several occasions during 1956 -1958,usually in an Anson but also twice in a Devon.There were also two Meteors on strength,one a T7,the other a NF variety.The RAF also had a Dakota fitted out with a VIP interior although I never saw it fly,I was told the RAF had kept two on strength the other being based in Scotland.I can also remember visiting Shackletons and once a Neptune.Of course the Americans were also present with their C47s and I can remember a B26 Invader taking off.My last visit was to the Officers Mess bar in about 1963 with a school friend who was a new P2 on Vulcans.

19th Aug 2010, 19:28
There is a jolly good aerial shot of Bovy taken by the RAF in 1946 and reproduced in Roger Freeman's 'Airfields of the Eighth - Then and Now' Quite where those houses are or were in the Halifax photo is a bit of a mystery - I've battled with Google Street and satellite photos show things like swimming pools at Whelpley Hill which were unheard of in my boyhood.
I'm inclined to agree with Chevvron that Capt Rayment parked his aircraft near to the end of the old south eastern runway. That photograph must have been taken minutes after their arrival - the tyre appears to be wet, perhaps from the fire extinguisher discharge. Keep 'em coming - super thread.

7th Jun 2011, 08:38
I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of broadcaster and Cantabrigian Keith Fordyce (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/8422224/Keith-Fordyce.html), who lived close to Bovingdon in the mid-60s. One of his daughters was at my primary school. I never knew he was ex-RAF man who, with a passion for planes, went on to run an aviation museum in the south-west.

I wonder now if, in choosing the farmhouse he moved into in Ley Hill, he didn't simply ignore the constant low-flying of Ansons, Pembrokes and Devons, but positively sought it out.

7th Jun 2011, 13:36
You may be interested to see a shot of present day Bovingdon in this thread:

16th Oct 2012, 13:08
Can anyone dig out some old photos or dredge up a few memories which have yet to be aired about Bovingdon? Not really interested in Drag Racing, Massive Market or Her Majesty's Rest Home.

17th Oct 2012, 03:41
Keith Fordyce was often seen shopping in Chesham, my home town.
There was a rumour that shortly after he moved into the farm in Ley Hill, he opened up a barn which had not been opened for many years. Inside in pristine condition was a 50 odd year old Ford car, with practically no mileage on it. Story was the previous owner of the farm had bought two, meaning to drive one until it 'died' then use the other, but he himself had died and the second car was forgotten.

22nd Oct 2012, 09:38
The only good thing that I can remember about my Prep School,where I was incarcerated in 1955, was the sight of a Handley Page Marathon departing from Bovingdon. How I wished I was on it! I recall a year or so later alighting from the green 353 bus at Ashley Green after another terrible day at school to be welcomed home by the sight of a C47 downwind for Bovingdon with nav lights aglow and undercarriage down,disappearing into the gathering winter dusk. It was a sight and sound that is as fresh to me today as it was all those years ago.

We lived in a tiny cottage under the downwind leg of R/W04. My poor father dreaded the arrival in the sky of any strange, unidentified aeroplane for I was a spoilt brat and pestered him mercilessly to ring up ATC to find out what it was and where it had come from. I think it was this constant badgering that resulted in a tour of the airfield which included the control tower and various aeroplanes. I marvelled at the wicker seats in the Italian Air Force SM102 which lurked in the corner of one of the hangars and seldom flew. Finally I was driven out to the GCA Caravan close by the runway where a bored gum-chewing American peered into a very blank scope and attempted to impart the intricacies of radar to my equally blank and uncomprehending brain.

Suddenly one wonderful day there was an unfamiliar rumble and three B17s were distantly seen flying in formation under the afternoon sun - The War Lover had arrived. A month or so later I was shocked to see the wreck of one of these old bombers being carted away for scrap along the Chesham Road on the back of a couple of huge Queen Marys.

At one time I had a crush on a pretty girl, a passion which was not requited. All was not lost however for although romance was out of the question her father was the Producer of 633 Squadron. Thus on a fine hot summer's day I found myself on location at the side of 04. I was not much interested in The Stars who were sitting around sweating heavily under layers of seemingly impenetrable make-up. My eyes were on the Mosquitoes as time and again they roared off down the runway and tore round the circuit. What a sight and sound! The excellence of Location Catering proved to be another revelation.

Mention of grub reminds me of an Open Day at the airfield when there were plenty of aeroplanes to see but sadly nothing flying. It was on this wet day that I discovered Hot Dogs and sampled Salami for the first time.

Well the years passed and one evening my pal David and I clambered over the airfield gates at the Bourne End end of the runway. We had never been to this end before. We settled in the grass near the threshold to watch a lone Devon performing circuits and bumps and wondered idly whether the pilots would report our presence to ATC. The airfield had always been a great place for watching desk-bound pilots performing circuits and bumps in order to keep their hands in but now it was becoming a shadow of its former self. Nearby on this high ground were the woods where one night in 1948 a civil DC3 had crashed with its cargo of French fruit and all aboard had perished.

In its twilight years the airfield became, to me, less interesting. It was difficult to summon up any great enthusiasm for the newly arrived, strangely named Bassets. By this time I was working in the Ops Room of Autair at Luton. What a pity, I thought, that we couldn't divert an Ambassador or two into Bovingdon when Luton fogged out instead of sending them to Stansted or Heathrow - that would liven the place up a bit - but in reality it was just a fantasy.

One day after the airfield closed David and I wandered over the dispersals on the western side. Here we found fragments of Ansons and bagged a section of elevator to take home as a souvenir of many happy years of watching. Incidentally there is a very fine example of a Bovingdon Anson VL349 in The Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton.
My last visit to Bovingdon was a year or two later. The place was completely deserted and I set off to walk the main runway. I was about halfway down when a distant helicopter suddenly changed course and dived towards me. The Jet Ranger nearly took my head off but I stood my ground. In truth it was more Billy Bunter than James Bond and I expect the bastards laughed their socks off.

I've never been back but I sometimes still dream about Bovingdon and there I am by the traffic lights and the airfield is stuffed with aeroplanes, many weird and unidentifiable and the place hums with activity.

22nd Oct 2012, 11:56
OUAQUKGF Ops let slip......

"All was not lost however for although romance was out of the question her father was the Producer of 633 Squadron."

Cecil Ford, gentleman and Producer of note! Which daughter was it? Such a nice family.

"one night in 1948 a civil DC3 had crashed with its cargo of French fruit and all aboard had perished." Including the fruit presumably..... sorry!

Another gem.

I so wish that Producers with the skills of Cecil Ford were still around instead of some of the pen pushers/accountants we have today.

We had 4 Mosquitos for Mosquito Squadron [not the greatest movie!] and we were at Bovingdon with 4 Mossies and our camera plane, the Farnborough Shackleton when the Battle of Britain Aerial Unit arrived plus gaudy B-25 and we were all parked together. Sadly an ex wife destroyed the only pics I had of the Bovingdon apron.

If anyone has a picture of that time I would love to see it posted - hint, hint.

22nd Oct 2012, 12:53
I was a pilot on the Coastal Command Comm Flight when the War Lover was being filmed at Bovingdon. Of the three B17 used in the film only one was destroyed when it was used to film a wheels up landing after being badly damaged during a bombing sortie. The other two B17's were flown back to the USA.

22nd Oct 2012, 12:59
John Crewdson flew the really low level one in the movie I gather. Solo too if his engineer wasn't telling fibs! Just in case......

22nd Oct 2012, 13:07
Here it is:

B-17 low pass - YouTube

22nd Oct 2012, 13:43
I've just found an excellent short history of Bovy: www.watfordwayfarers.org.uk (http://www.watfordwayfarers.org.uk/) and try and find 'Bovingdon - The Post-war years.' If that doesn't work just Google the title.


22nd Oct 2012, 14:01
Thanks Brakedwell I've made a correction- I'm a bit hazy these days! I think you will find that only one B17 made it back to America. Cheers Tom.

22nd Oct 2012, 14:16
They had problems with all three aircraft on the eastbound ferry flight after adding the wrong type of engine oil in the Azores. Several engines had to be shut down due to frothing and I seem to remember they diverted into Lisbon. Both remaining B17's were due to fly back together, but due to one being badly unserviceable John Crewdson flew the good B17 back to the USA, leaving the other one behind. I understood it eventually left a month or so later, but I could be wrong. Memory is a fickle thing, but I recall a story about the rudder falling off one of the B17's when it was taxying at Manston!

22nd Oct 2012, 18:25
Martin Caidin wrote a book about the recovery from the desert and the delivery of those Flying Fortresses entitled "Everything but the flak." Since he actually participated in the flight, it's possible that the story is not quite as embroidered as his other "historical" works.

27th Oct 2012, 14:57
Hello all you brave flying souls. I wonder if you could help me.
I am very keen to pinpoint the exact location of where anything was buried at Bovingdon Airfield. Somebody mentioned a Lightning, I didn't know if it was a P38.
Did the Americans dig a big hole in 1947 or on their second leaving in 1962? And what is definitely there?
I live in the area and am prepared to spend time and money resurrecting the past and honouring all the servicemen involved. Obviously I have just retired and wish to pursue a long held dream.
Please excuse my ignorance as I have only just started researching the history in earnest.
Any stories or contacts on either side of the Atlantic would be gratefully received.
Many thanks.

28th Oct 2012, 08:48
Mid 50s I was travelling to Hemel Hempstead on the 'Rover' from Chesham and there was a fighter type (US markings) with tricycle undercarriage parked on one of the circles adjacent to Whelpley Hill. All the adults on the bus seemed to remark about it.

28th Oct 2012, 18:56
I remember a double-decker on that route being knocked over close to there by the the 04 threshold. Was the early fifties. I don't remember the type of aircraft, but it was a nasty accident, fatal I believe. Went up there in the Standard Vanguard to ghoul. I recall they put traffic lights in after that and went back to GS single-deckers.

29th Oct 2012, 02:40
Been trying to remember the number of the London Transport bus which did this route; was it 335 Amersham to Hemel Hempstead? It alternated with the Rover Bus service although the Rover went along Whelpley Hill to the caravan site and back which the LT service didn't. It wasn't the 336; this was Chesham to Watford in special 'low' double deckers as there were one or two bridges on the route which weren't high enough for 'standard' RTs.
Corrections thanks to OUAQUKGF Ops for sending me a link about London Transport:
It was service 316 Amersham to Hemel, and the special low double deckers were RLH.

17th Mar 2013, 16:50
Hello there! How on earth did I miss this chunk of interesting gen and pics on the LAC/Bovingdon era ! Strangely I discovered it, not directly through a Pprune hunt but by entering Andre Jeziorski on Google! The longtime Chief Hostess in LAC/Skyways was, as you probably know, Kate Fewings. Kate is now 98 and looking fine. A couple of days ago I visited her and discovered that she had lost contact with Andre who we last saw at her 90th birthday party. First question is do you know the current whereabouts of Andre who lived in the West End at one time? And the second question is - do you have any gen on copyright covering the three/two engined landing G-AGZP? The other day I had an exchange with Eagle Aviation elements in the matter of dear old Pancho Villa - it's great that some of these earlier pilots are still remembered which is what I am seeking to ensure, in a small way, through my book. If it's easier, my email is [email protected]. I really do look forward to hearing from you having a high regard for your Dad Ray. Kind regards John W E Newby.

avionic type
18th Mar 2013, 01:47
In 1947 the bus you were trying to think of was the 316 green London Transport double decker that ran every hour from Hemel Hempstead to Chesham the other bus was the blue "Rover" single decker that ran the same service half an hour later sharing the route
sorry it has taken so long but have not seen the thread for years .
my father worked for BOAC at Bovingdon and got me an apprentice post with them and we left Bovingdon in the middle of 1948 when we transfered to London Airport taking our converted Halifaxes [Haltons] with us .:):):)

2nd Apr 2013, 20:35
I served at Bovingdon as a National Serviceman from 1957 to 1959 working in the Fighter Command Communication Squadron. I was able to take flights many times with several pilots based there or from Fighter Command HQ in different types - Anson, Chipmunk, Varsity, Meteor, Devon and Pembroke.

The only photograph I have is of a Meteor that overshot the runway and finished up across the road.

We were billeted a mile or so away down a lane by a pub. We used the village cricket ground in the summer and often went to another pub in the village. I enjoyed my 18 months there.

USAF was very busy there in those days and I have a list of the numerous types I saw plus other air forces, RAF and civilian aircraft. I still have some RAF maps and the famous RAFAC.

3rd Apr 2013, 16:27
When I was kid in the fifties we lived in Eastcote - for some reason I remember going to pick plums in an orchard that bordered on Bovingdon airfield

4th Apr 2013, 15:09
Living as I did in Chesham, I well remember the USAF activity at Bovingdon as many departures flew over Chesham to route via the Beacon Hill fan marker. As well as Dakota's there were regular C119s, C123s and C130s plus the occasional C54 and USAF Stratocruiser (can't remember the number of that one!), occasionally even a C124 Globemaster. During the annual 'Open Days' we were treated to the usual re-fuelling demonstration with a KB50 towing an F100, F101 and B66 simultaneously!

4th Apr 2013, 18:31
When I was a kid in the fifties I remember picking cherries from the boughs hanging over the hedges of the orchards near to the airfield. I was on horse-back at the time!

4th Apr 2013, 18:43
Like Chevvron, I remember Bovingdon well. Living near Great Missenden, I would frequently see c.47s doing circuits in the distance. Curiosity ruled, and my cousin and I cycled there in our early teens. This will amuse Chevvron. We went via Berkhamsted and then up the hill, approaching from the East!!!!!!. Only did that once, then found a better way. Saw a Meteor T7 overrun the runway, ending up with a collapsed port undercarriage etc. My parents disbelieved me, until they read it in a small news item in the next days Telegraph!. As Chevron says, all those aircraft, plus a B.66, an A.26 Invader, T33 Shooting Star, Skyways of London Connies and Hermes, even got flown over by a B.45 Tornado!!. Very much stimulated my interest, and [like Chevvron, I believe] I joined the ATC, became a Staff Cadet at RAF Halton, 613 Gliding School, went on to PPL and Skydiving, married a very pretty girl from Chesham Bois 42 years ago, still together, and still retain my aircraft interest, visiting museums and shows at diverse places such as Venezuela and South Africa. etc. though not so much now. She wants to Cruise these days!!!/ Regards, John.

5th Apr 2013, 15:01
JEM, I started my A & B/Proficiency course at 613 in Sep '66; were you there then? I got taken on as a staff cadet when I completed the course.

5th Apr 2013, 21:01
CHEVVRON. I was there before your time. 1958 to 1960 or thereabouts. Like you, I was taken on as Staff Cadet after completing the A and B. In the days of Ken Bayliss, Jacko, Duncombe twins, Robin Miller, S'Ldr Topsfield, Phil Plows, and Phil Purchase et al. I used to live a few doors away from Tony Wicks, and Dickie Bird [whom I'm sure you know!] was a partner in my Driving School in Aylesbury. I remember he and I on the flight deck of a Boeing 707/ 320 over the French Alps going to Greece. Crowded, but very interesting!!. Good days!!!!!!. Great fun, with great responsibilities for a 16 year old. All a bit different now!!
Always pleased to read your posts. Regards, John Maxwell.
P.S. USAF Stratocruiser was a C.97:)

5th Apr 2013, 21:14
I started my A & B/Proficiency course at 613 in Sep '66; were you there then? I got taken on as a staff cadet when I completed the course.

I was there with 617 after we moved from Hendon in 67/68. Corrupted me for the rest of my life......

8th Apr 2013, 11:22
Further to my 'Ramble' about Bovingdon I have been searching the net for more information about this accident. I was incorrect in stating that all on board had perished for the First Officer survived the accident. Here is an extract from a local paper:

'May 21 1948.

A Dakota freight aircraft, carrying a load of strawberries and cherries from the South of France crashed in a wood barely a quarter of a mile from Bovingdon Airport in the early hours of yesterday.

Three members of the crew were killed instantly, and the fourth is in the West Herts Hospital with severe injuries.

Although the crash was heard about 2.45a.m., an extensive search failed to reveal the whereabouts of the wreckage. It was subsequently spotted from the air by a pilot just taking off from Bovingdon at about 8a.m. (who saw wreckage in the treetops).

The plane,a freighter belonged to Channel Isles Air Charter, and was on a normal night run with soft fruit for the London market.

Staff at Bovingdon Airport heard the crash, and emergency crews were turned out immediately.They were reinforced by Herts and Bucks Police and the whole area surrounding the airport was combed, but it was not until relief searchers had been turned out that the plane was found.

Searchers, directed by Police Constable J.D.Lord were led to Bourne Grove Wood, where they found the mangled wreckage. It had been spotted by the pilot of a plane immediately after taking off. He wirelessed the airport the location.

The tail of the plane and rear fuselage remained reasonably intact. The plane had broken its back, the front portion of the fuselage having turned over. The landing wheels, presumably all ready for landing, were pointing upwards.

It was from this portion of the wreckage that the bodies of two members of the crew were recovered after part of the plane had been hacked away. The third body had been thrown almost clear of the wreckage.'

Here is a summary of the subsequent Accident Report from Flight Magazine July 14th 1949:

'The Chief Inspector of Accidents, Air Cdre Vernon Brown,reports that he has been unable to determine the cause of the accident involving
Dakota G-AJBG that occurred at 01.45hrs on May 20th 1948.The aircraft was owned by Air Transport (Charter) (C.I.) Ltd and was on a charter flight from Valence,France to Bovingdon with a cargo of fruit.

While making a circuit of Bovingdon beneath a cloud-base which had lowered to 300ft, the aircraft flew into a wood about half a mile from the airfield and was wrecked. Fire did not break out, but Capt Boalch, R/O T.G.Young and F/E H.Spencer were all killed. The First Officer G.Castellain, was seriously injured.

The Inspector was unable to find evidence of pre-crash failure in the aircraft or its equipment and at the time of the accident the undercarriage was down and the airscrews in fine pitch. The pilot had not requested or obtained clearance before entering I.F.R. conditions in the vicinity of Bovingdon and he had been informed that the cloud-base was 400ft. This height was below the minimum recommended for the approach procedure adopted by him.

The pilot had not been informed that the cloud-base was in fact 300ft at the time of his arrival, nor that it had been as low as 200ft earlier. The Inspector considered that control of the aircraft from Bovingdon was not carried out with a high degree of efficiency.'

Bourne Grove Wood was can be found just next to the north-western perimeter of the airfield.

17th Jan 2015, 11:37
Hi Chevron, we must know each other. I was a staff cadet/instructor at 613 GS Halton from 1964 - 1968 and a member of 2204 Cesham Squadron ATC, who are you?

18th Jan 2015, 01:45
Hi Chris. Well put it this way. You were instructor i/c the evening I pranged VX275; also I remember your first car, a Morris Minor with bald tyres in which you occasionally gave me a lift home.
I stayed with 2204 Sqdn until late 1983, when they gave me command of 1811 (Marlow) Sqdn. and still remained connected with 613 GS as Wing Gliding Liaison Officer.

Dr Jekyll
18th Jan 2015, 07:37
There was a 1965 episode of the Avengers on TV the other day that was filmed at an RAF base, and according to IMDB it was Bovingdon. The only aircraft shown was a Mosquito, perhaps to do with filming 633 squadron.

18th Jan 2015, 15:02
Yes that would have been the Mossie that was left behind after 633 Sqdn was filmed. On occasional detachments from 613 GS Halton, we shared the same hangar.
It was flown out in about 1967, after they had drilled a small hole in the tail and drained a large amount of rainwater out, then it returned in '68 for the filming of 'Mosquito Squadron'.

27th Jul 2016, 07:58
Hello to all!

I worked in the Physics industry for most of my life but now I am a full-time writer. I occasionally publish books on aviation and/or WWII history. I am researching one now and came back to my home area of Bovingdon. I have some questions for all you experts on this great forum (which I didn't know existed until yesterday)!

I grew up in Chesham, just down the road from Bovingdon a few miles (born in 1960) and have been fanatical about aircraft all my life. I studied Aeronautical Engineering at Queen Mary College (as it was called then), although I would love to have been a pilot, if my eyesight had been better. We moved to Ley Hill (much closer to Bovingdon) in 1968, although I remained completely oblivious to the fact they had actually filmed The Battle of Britain a few months before.

When I was at Ley Hill Primary School, there were persistent rumours of a Spitfire wreck in the woods somewhere near Bovingdon. I put it down to 'tall tales' at the time because I could find no evidence. But recently I found an entry by a woman who grew up around Bovingdon:
BBC - Beds Herts and Bucks - Entertainment - The Glenn Miller mystery (http://www.bbc.co.uk/threecounties/content/articles/2005/04/20/glenn_miller_at_twinwood_feature.shtml)

Search for the miss-spelled word 'wooods' and you will find it.

Here is her comment in full, if you can't find it:

carolynn langley
although i was born at the end of the war april 1945. i can remember playing in crashed spitfires and lancasters that were left in the wooods surrounding Bovingdon airdrome, there used to be in the groove cherry trees that grew from an italian plane that crashed there. my aunt was the first anglo american wedding at the church at bourne end.sadly my uncle died last year just before what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary

She is probably referring to the Vickers Valetta that crashed there in 1954, when she talks about a crashed Italian aircraft. However she is correct that cherry trees are abundant in the area and may well have grown through the wreckage or been there and had wreckage strewn around them.

Lancasters and Spitfires were not based at Bovingdon, as far as I know, but her comment resonated like a bell in my head with what I heard at school. One thing I have learned from 20 years of researching books is not to discount any rumour or myth as possibly the truth, no matter how crazy it sounds!

I wonder, could there be any truth to the rumour that a Spitfire crashed there?

I see from another reply here from chevvron that a 'crash map' existed of the area around Bovingdon. I wonder, does anybody still have a copy of this map or does anybody know chevvron, and could you ask him/her?

I am, unfortunately, unable to contact members directly as I am new here, but I eagerly await any replies. I would love to know anything about any knowledge people have of crashes and wrecks around Bovingdon, except the vegetable carrying Dakota and the Vickers Valetta, which are well documented.

27th Jul 2016, 11:35
Many years ago I read in the 'Bucks Examiner' that Glenn Miller's aircraft made an intermediate stop at Bovingdon to pick up anther passenger. I've seen no evidence elsewhere to support this.
The 'Crash Map' I referred to was for the use of the airfield fire service and showed the airfield in great detail together with a grid system for locating 'incidents' in poor visibility.
Sorry it didn't details crashes in the vicinity like you thought!

27th Jul 2016, 12:49
Thanks Chevvron for such a swift reply.

Yeah - I am a bit confused too about the Glenn Miller (possible) stop over at Bovingdon. I read that in several places but can't verify it.

I thought the 'crash map' might be too good to be true ;) No probs! I'll keep searching.

If anybody knows of any WWII, 50s or 60s crashes/wrecks in the area, I would be very interested in hearing about them.

27th Jul 2016, 12:56
Heck, tears of nostalgia - brought in Eastcote but recall going plum picking at Bovingdon and family picnics at Ley Hill Common. More than 60 years ago now, so much will have changed.

27th Jul 2016, 13:03
Ley Hill common has hardly changed at all Wander00. The Swan pub has taken down the photos of Clark Gable, James Stewart et al (who served at Bovingdon) but the golf course and Harman's woods are just about the same. I think the other pub might have closed, but not sure.

27th Jul 2016, 13:43
I used to pick mushrooms on the airfield when I was stationed there in 1961 /62. The north west corner was best.

28th Jul 2016, 03:59
T-21 - thanks for the link. After a bit of messing about on that site, I found a great collection of photos during the RAF's tenure of Bovingdon at: index (http://www.bovingdon-airfield.co.uk/)
Under the list of films made at Bovingdon, 3 have been missed out, one in the '50s starring Lana Turner, (haven't got a clue about the title) 'Mosquito Squadron' made at roughly the same time as Battle of Britain and 'Hanover Street made in the '70s using B25s. I remember one visit in about 1968 where the aircraft from both B of B and Mosquito Sqdn were parked alongside each other in a long line.

28th Jul 2016, 06:57
one in the '50s starring Lana Turner, (haven't got a clue about the title)

"The Lady Takes a Flyer". Sounds rather like she nicked a aeronautical magazine from W H Smith...

28th Jul 2016, 07:36
I took these photos not long after the the film Hanover Street was made there or maybe it was before?

http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w504/nospamuk1/JM1_zpszz0sgblw.jpg (http://s1079.photobucket.com/user/nospamuk1/media/JM1_zpszz0sgblw.jpg.html)

http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w504/nospamuk1/JM2_zpsq1lyrl1z.jpg (http://s1079.photobucket.com/user/nospamuk1/media/JM2_zpsq1lyrl1z.jpg.html)

http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w504/nospamuk1/JM3_zps1hhrtqnx.jpg (http://s1079.photobucket.com/user/nospamuk1/media/JM3_zps1hhrtqnx.jpg.html)

28th Jul 2016, 07:58
I recall watching part of Hannover Street being filmed in the centre of Brackley, which had been transformed into a German occupied French town

3rd Aug 2016, 12:25
#134, S 1: "the Italian a/c" may have been the long resident IAF Attache SM-101 MM61781 junked here, still visible as a burnt hulk in a puddle, 10/61.

3rd Aug 2016, 15:36
[quote=LTNman;9454371]I took these photos not long after the the film Hanover Street was made there or maybe it was before?

http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w504/nospamuk1/JM2_zpsq1lyrl1z.jpg (http://s1079.photobucket.com/user/nospamuk1/media/JM2_zpsq1lyrl1z.jpg.html)

Well before I would say. The earlier photos of the parked B25s filming Hanover Street (posting #57) show the apron in the second picture has been partially dug up leaving just the taxiway on the left.

6th Aug 2016, 05:25
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c275/ksmithltn/b25-10_zps32istlkv.jpg (http://s29.photobucket.com/user/ksmithltn/media/b25-10_zps32istlkv.jpg.html)

I can see where you are coming from but I am 99% certain that actually the apron was still there but just covered in a light covering of earth held in place by thin strips of wood for the film set, as this was the location of the Nissen huts that were erected as part of the film set.

I bunked off work to take these.

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c275/ksmithltn/Photo0022_zpsdoz3b77v.jpg (http://s29.photobucket.com/user/ksmithltn/media/Photo0022_zpsdoz3b77v.jpg.html)

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c275/ksmithltn/Photo0010_zpspbxc6gwu.jpg (http://s29.photobucket.com/user/ksmithltn/media/Photo0010_zpspbxc6gwu.jpg.html)

When the film was made the tower was given a makeover with glass being put back into the window frames but it didn't take long after the site was vacated for the vandals to pay a visit to the tower once again.

6th Aug 2016, 14:55
See what you mean; I never realised they did that, although having recently seen 'Reunion at Fairborough', in the sequences filmed at Fairoaks there are some Nissen huts behind what is actually London Transport Flying Club which were erected in what is now undergrowth purely for the film.
As I was working at Farnborough when Hanover Street was filmed, I was no longer living at my parents' place in Chesham hence I was unaware of the B25s at Bovingdon until it was mentioned by my dear old ATC Warrant Officer at Chesham Squadron. He had worked at Bovingdon for Shorts who provided handling services for the RAF aircraft until the day it was 'closed' by the RAF.
There was another short sequence filmed there in the early '70s involving a replica of a Mizar Aircar (Ford Pinto with wings) for 'The Man with the Golden Gun'.

15th Aug 2016, 05:20
Nav Rad, your first trip was with me! My logbook shows: April 25th 1962, Anson 195, Bovingdon-St Mawgan-Bovingdon - 1.30 Day each way. I left CCCF for Argosies in Sept 1962. My last Anson flight was to Leuchars- Stornoway-Prestwick-Bovingdon on Sept 19/20 in 815, a Fighter Comm Sqn Anson. P/O Piper, the Nav, was filling in time on FCS, so I must have helping them out. While I was on CCCF the fleet consisted of 3 Anson 19's, 195,858,859 and a Mk21, 981. Our Valletta was 504. I do regret not entering full serial numbers in my log book.
'858 and '859 were prefixed 'PH' My ATC log book records a flight in PH859 and another in Anson VL337, presumably a later arrival after FCCS and CCCS were amalgamated along with BCCS from Booker. I remember seeing an Anson at Booker in about 1962 shortly before the RAF moved out so maybe that was '337.

17th Feb 2017, 08:42
Hoping someone from the 7531st USAF squadron stationed at Bovingdon at around the time of 1954 to 1956/7 can help me trace my father, Richard Cushing. I believe he was an engineer and came from New Hampshire, USA.
He may have come from Concord NH, but I'm not sure on that detail. He would have been about 20/21 years old at the time. He met my mother, Jean Amor (maiden name) from Shenley/Watford area. They had a child...me. I was born in 1956. Sadly, my father went back to the States and I have never met him. Research, as far as I can go, informs me that he may have passed away, but I cannot confirm whether this is the correct Richard Cushing.
Thank you in advance

21st Feb 2017, 13:46
The 7531st moved to Mildenhall in '62 or '63; maybe there are records there.

21st Feb 2017, 15:43
I think there is at least one organisation in the US that helps children fathered by US servicemen in UK find their family history

20th Oct 2017, 09:08
Middle East Airlines Hermes G-ALDY at Bovingdon in 1956 which was flown by a Skyways crew. Seen here as OD-ACC


21st Oct 2017, 09:29
Amazing co-incidence. I switched on the telly last evening (20 Oct) and there was an episode of 'The Persuaders' (Roger Moore/Tony Curtis) showing. Only saw the last 10 min but a car and a minibus drove along a road and turned into an airfield, small guardroom at the gate and newish looking T2 hangar in the background.
There were one or two other shots amongst the hangars and then some out on the airfield which was pretty obviously Bovingdon. All 4 T2s were re-clad with new unpainted corrugated iron in the mid to late '60s just before the airfield closed so that gives a rough date. This reminded me that I'd also seen a scene at Bovingdon (only 10 or 15 seconds) in one episode of 'The Prisoner'.
I dare say the studio shots for both these series were filmed at Elstree which isn't too far away from Bovingdon.

21st Oct 2017, 09:31
Middle East Airlines Hermes G-ALDY at Bovingdon in 1956 which was flown by a Skyways crew. Seen here as OD-ACC

Looks like the west side of the airfield near Whelpley Hill.

3rd Nov 2017, 14:10
According to Wikipedia, in 2012, Dacorum Borough Council confirmed that the remaining 650m of runway 08/26 'remains a legal active airfield for light aircraft operation'.

2nd Dec 2017, 16:28
Some splendid photos here (https://youtu.be/nudS9jwBTlg), supplied by one of the USAF team resident at Bovingdon (notwithstanding the misidentified Lincoln and Swift).
Herb's other videos are very nostalgic too.

2nd Dec 2017, 21:20
When I was at Bovingdon (FCCS) in 1956, apart from regular twice-a-day USAF Dakotas flying in from Paris Orly (NATO HQ was in Paris at that time) there was a daily USAF C-123 that flew in from Wiesbaden. C-123 take-offs were remarkably short compared with other aircraft visiting or based at Bovingdon.

2nd Dec 2017, 21:44
When I was at Bovingdon (FCCS) in 1956, apart from regular twice-a-day USAF Dakotas flying in from Paris Orly (NATO HQ was in Paris at that time) there was a daily USAF C-123 that flew in from Wiesbaden. C-123 take-offs were remarkably short compared with other aircraft visiting or based at Bovingdon.

Used to see all of them plus the odd C54, C124 and C130 from my then home in Chesham. Departures from runway 20 would turn right towards Princes Risborough/Beacon Hill fan marker and pass straight overhead!

Steve Bond
3rd Dec 2017, 18:04
Me too, I used to cycle to Bovingdon frequently from my home near High Wycombe, picking up my mate in Chesham on the way (small world).

9th Dec 2017, 11:23
Me too, I used to cycle to Bovingdon frequently from my home near High Wycombe, picking up my mate in Chesham on the way (small world).

Didn't you go to Booker? Until I joined the ATC aged 13 I wasn't aware that there was an airfield at High Wycombe (didn't know about the caves until a couple of years previously) even though my parents used to take us to Wycombe on shopping trips occasionally.
A couple of us, having failed to scrounge at Bovingdon, the other guy said 'come on let's try Booker' so we hitch hiked there in time to see the last flight of the day land. Bomber Command Communication Squadron were based there (BC HQ being at Naphill a short distance away) until it closed as an RAF station the following year ('63) flying Ansons and possibly Pembrokes.
Funny that the nearest HQ Station, Signals Command at Medmenham (just outside Marlow) didn't operate from Booker because the used a Valleta which was presumably too big.

18th Dec 2017, 17:56
I too used to go to Bovingdon as an Air Cadet, I was in 1187 sdn in Hemel Hempstead and the school i went to was right under the final approach flight path, which made for an interesting day. Yes I used to bunk off school to get trips up in the Ansons and also got in to see The War Lover being filmed. Also used to hitch hike to Booker to get trips too .

Many years ago I had a map with all RAF airfields on it but lost over the years . Used to stand on the Chesham -Hemel road right under the flight path as the B-17,s were landing. So in Jan 63 I became a Boy Entrant, 48th entry at RAF Hereford and many years later worked at Gatwick Airport as a head loader.

19th Dec 2017, 16:10
I too used to go to Bovingdon as an Air Cadet, I was in 1187 sdn in Hemel Hempstead and the school i went to was right under the final approach flight path, which made for an interesting day. Yes I used to bunk off school to get trips up in the Ansons and also got in to see The War Lover being filmed. Also used to hitch hike to Booker to get trips too .

Many years ago I had a map with all RAF airfields on it but lost over the years . Used to stand on the Chesham -Hemel road right under the flight path as the B-17,s were landing. So in Jan 63 I became a Boy Entrant, 48th entry at RAF Hereford and many years later worked at Gatwick Airport as a head loader.

Did you fly in any of the Coastal Command Comm Flight Ansons ?

20th Dec 2017, 14:47
Did you fly in any of the Coastal Command Comm Flight Ansons ?

After the creation of 'Southern Communications Squadron' with Ansons from Fighter, Coastal and Bomber Command (ex Booker) Comms Sqdns. it was difficult to know which was which.
I flew in PH859 and VL337 and I don't know who they originally belonged to.

20th Dec 2017, 17:44
Just wondering, I might of flown avro63 when I was an Anson/Valletta pilot on the CCCF in 1961/62

PH859 was one of the four Ansons we had on the CCCF.

21st Dec 2017, 10:37
Anyone know who owned TX219, an Anson and first aircraft in which I ever flew, I think at Bassingbourn, in about 1957 or 58

27th Dec 2017, 13:45
To brakedwell, to be honest I really don,t remember what squadron it was , I do know that the flights I got were mainly in the Ansons but did very few in the Valetta, as always the aircrew looked after us boys which was appreciated.

27th Dec 2017, 21:41
Many years ago I had a map with all RAF airfields on it but lost over the years . Used to stand on the Chesham -Hemel road right under the flight path as the B-17,s were landing. So in Jan 63 I became a Boy Entrant, 48th entry at RAF Hereford and many years later worked at Gatwick Airport as a head loader.

I remember going to Bovingdon in summer '62 and meeting a lot of cadets from other squadrons who like me were there to scrounge flights. The following year doing the same thing I recognised one of these cadets, but by then he was an ex-cadet and was wearing an RAF uniform with either apprentice or Boy Entrant insignia (which I knew because my brother was on 44th Entry A.R.M. at Cosford); he had joined up, but still went to Bovingdon to scrounge.
Was that you Avro63 I wonder?

28th Dec 2017, 08:58
XV490 Very many thanks for posting Herb's photographs of Bovingdon. So very nostalgic. I thought other old timers from the Chesham Road days would enjoy his images of the Globemaster, surely one of the most spectacular aeroplanes to visit the aerodrome.


28th Dec 2017, 10:58
I shot this 8mm movie of the Capsule leaving Bovingdon. (Plus PH195!)

Apologies in advance for the poor quality!


28th Dec 2017, 15:41
OUAQUKGF Ops and brakedwell

Fascinating videos - TVM.
A year earlier (1961) I was one of the two crews from 99 and 511 Sqn that crewed a RAF Transport Command Britannia that was on static display at Paris (Le Bourget) Airshow (24th Paris Salon Aéronautique) in May 1961. One of my better trips with 99 Sqn IMHO.
The flying display programme was long, lasting (with a lunchtime interval of an hour-and-a-half) from nearly ten in the morning till after six in the evening and had something for everyone. But the star of the show was Al Shepard's Freedom 7 space capsule (the first American in space). On 25 May just three weeks after it had been recovered from the Atlantic, Freedom 7 went on display in Paris. By the end of the show some 650,000 fascinated attendees had taken the opportunity to view Freedom 7 up close. I remember seeing it there (as exhibitors we were at the show before it opened so beat the enormous crowds queuing up to see it).
From Paris Freedom 7 went on to Rome for an exhibition at a show there. It drew more visitors than in Paris with 750,000 people lining up to inspect it.

...but why Freedom 7 and Friendship 7 as titles for these spacecraft?

28th Dec 2017, 18:58
...but why Freedom 7 and Friendship 7 as titles for these spacecraft?

The "7" was the number of astronauts that took part in the Mercury programme (Carpenter, Cooper, Glenn, Grissom, Schirra, Shepard, Slayton) though Slayton didn't actually fly until the Apollo/Soyuz mission in 1975.

Each pilot was invited to come up with a name for his mission - the six that flew were Aurora 7, Faith 7, Freedom 7, Friendship 7, Liberty Bell 7 and Sigma 7.

28th Dec 2017, 22:15

Thanks for the explanation. And with apologies for the thread creep here's a view of the static park at Le Bourget in May 1961 with our Brit alongside a Vulcan and Argosy.


3rd Jan 2018, 09:52
I was an Air Cadet in the 60s and we had a number of Wing Parades there. I remember having a great march past when the Battle of Britain fleet were based there - Heinkel III and the Mitchell film aircraft.

In 1968 my Gliding school moved to Bovingdon and I did my first solo there.

I overflew it recently en route to Duxford. It is still there, just..


3rd Jan 2018, 10:15
Trouble is Will, people on here but not from the Chesham/Amersham area NEVER pronounce 'Chesham Bois' properly!!

'Boys' in England
'Bwah' in France

3rd Jan 2018, 10:21
...over the other day and there seems to be some clearing work going on around the old control tower. All the old shrubbery has been removed and you can now see the tower quite clearly.

Anybody any idea what (if anything) is going on?

A bit late in the day after local landowners were allowed to destroy it.
During the early 80s we used the crash tender garage below to store our hang gliders and microlights. The building was in pretty good shape then and a very representative example of that style of Tower.

3rd Jan 2018, 10:24

Thanks for the explanation. And with apologies for the thread creep here's a view of the static park at Le Bourget in May 1961 with our Brit alongside a Vulcan and Argosy.


In 1963 I was on the crew due to take and man a static display Argosy from Benson. Shortly before the show Whitworth Gloster decided to take a factory aircraft and as a consolation prize we flew a load of SBAC publicity brochures to Le Bourget, taking our wives with us for lunch at a popular restaurant near the airport.

3rd Jan 2018, 10:41
...over the other day and there seems to be some clearing work going on around the old control tower. All the old shrubbery has been removed and you can now see the tower quite clearly.

Anybody any idea what (if anything) is going on?

A bit late in the day after local landowners were allowed to destroy it.
During the early 80s we used the crash tender garage below to store our hang gliders and microlights. The building was in pretty good shape then and a very representative example of that style of Tower.

8th Jun 2019, 18:47
Vickers Viking of Hunting Air Transport on arrival at Bovingdon from Copenhagen sometime in 1953.

10th Jun 2019, 08:26
These photographs will stir pleasant memories in those of us who used to watch the aeroplanes from Chesham Road.

Click on the first image....


10th Jun 2019, 11:35
I made many trips to Bovingdon from Watford sometimes as a member of Watford Grammar School CCF and sometimes to the Chesham Road.My trips were made between 1954 and 1958.I had several Anson flights and one in a DH Devon.There were 2 Meteors,a T7 and a NF?? in use plus several Ansons plus 1 or 2 Devons.There was also a RAF Dakota with a VIP cabin.Shackletons were regular visitors and I can remember 1 Neptune in RAF colours.
The USAF traffic was mainly C47s and an occasional Packet.One surprise was an all black B26? Invader.My other trips from Watford were mainly Heathrow and Northolt.

11th Jun 2019, 10:56
Does anyone know when The Three Horseshoes pub (on the Ley Hill road, close to Shantock Hall Lane) shut? It featured in a wartime series of Life magazine photos of black GIs having a beer (https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-5835554065ff530b07a0948dbe750cc3) outside the front.

The pub, which was close to the airfield's MP post and one of the billet sites, was not open in the mid-1960s, so I wonder if it survived the war.

There was certainly no shortage of boozers for Bovingdon personnel to choose from, even without going into the village: three were virtually part of the base.

14th Jun 2019, 16:48
https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/640x490/6898249415_218f056319_z_halton_bov_2571558924d634387c23049b4 2902788a2b1204d.jpg
British American Air Services Bovingdon 1948. Humber car boxed and mint underslung.
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1037x530/imgexec_5204_bovingdon_airfield_de6d2d3578742c21216f7bc650c8 354604066424.jpg
The USAF returned to Bovingdon in 1951. Maybe someone can date this postcard from the cars in the car park?
https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/600x400/hu01788_bovington_york_1950_fd98126eaa4a10e1afd0afb7cb80a762 43f5c446.jpg
G-AGNY Avro York Eagle Aviation at Bovingdon 1950. Photo - The late Arthur Huswitt.
https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1024x661/1022310_large_tudor_b886a9ed35afbc290b2b16160ed7083bc8a6b92b .jpg
G-AKCC Avro Tudor 5 William Dempster Ltd. On arrival at Bovingdon from Tripoli Libya 26 October 1951 the aircraft ran off the side of the runway after its second approach. No fatalities. Photo-the Late Frank Hudson with thanks to Mike Hudson.
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1024x683/1022311_large_crash_2031d271dfc45e6dbfe5e879c2ec687b8496462e .jpg
https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1024x673/1022313_large_tudor_crash_722cc7f266dfc8cb704e17185b6f6ab12f c1e8ea.jpg
https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1024x680/british_nederland_e50fe61acc41ac2f1a824c76793109f7dea0a968.j pg
G-AJZD Douglas C47a Dakota. British Nederland Air Services. Unknown location. Photo- saadonline
https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/800x793/g_ahdx_1_alps_small_00701b82b4b7dbdca434f066570c1dd16255dc44 .jpg
G-AHDX HP70 Halton 1 Worldair Carriers. Mt Hohgant,Bern,Switzerland 16 April 1950. En-route Amsterdam-Brindisi with a cargo of Philip's Radios. No survivors. Photo-baaa-acro.
https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/600x400/hu01777_d1_better_snap_g_ahon_48defced0f785e5e041f247c45b9e4 864cc72c57.jpg
G-AHON Vickers Viking 1A Trans World Charter at Bovingdon 1950. Photo-the late Arthur Huswitt.
G-AKAD HP Halifax 8 British American Air Services.Unknown location.Delivered March 1948 w.o. May 1948 u/c collapse on landing Rennes. Photo-baaa-acro.
G-AIWT HP Halifax 8 LAMS/Payloads Charter co, location unknown. Having earlier that year tramped right around the world this aeroplane was damaged beyond repair landing Bovingdon 5.9.47. Photo - baaa-acro

In 1947 The Ministry of Civil Aviation obtained the airfield for civilian use.With its proximity to London and good road and rail links to The Midlands Bovingdon soon became the base for numerous charter companies that took part in an air transport boom which lasted until the end of The Berlin Airlift in 1949. Thereafter demand dropped off and with the State Airlines maintaining a complete monopoly on all scheduled services (although contracting some of these services to Independents) many companies cut their losses, sold their aircraft (at this time good prices were paid for C47 Dakotas) and ceased operations.
In the meantime anything that could be carried by air was. Apart from passenger flights Bovingdon imported an enormous amount of cargo particularly (when in season) fruit and vegetables from Southern Europe and The Lowlands, textiles from France and Italy. Exports world-wide included heavy machinery, Ship's and Aircraft spares - the list is endless.
Several companies participated in The Berlin Airlift and also in the lesser-known 'Milk Airlifts' of 1947 and 1948 when milk churns were flown from Nutt's Corner Belfast to Liverpool and Blackpool.
Home and Abroad the safety record of several of these outfits left much to be desired. The Chiltern Hills collected a scattering of lost souls while the 4,900 foot main runway witnessed a few spectacular runoffs. With reference to Tony Merton Jones' 'British Independent Airlines 1946-76' I've attempted to list air charter companies and their period of operation at Bovingdon. If you can get hold of a copy of this wonderful book it will give you a greater insight into these companies.

Air Charter Ltd. 1947-1951 DH Dragon Rapide, Airspeed Consul,Miles Gemini.
Air Contractors Ltd 1948 C47 Dakota. Miles Aerovan.
Air Freight Ltd 1946-1948 HP Halifax.
Air Transport Charter (C.I.) 1948 C47 Dakota.
Blue Line Airways Ltd 1949 C47 Dakota.
Bond Air Services Ltd 1947-1948 HP Halifax.
British American Air Services Ltd 1947-1950 HP Halifax.
British Nederland Air Services Ltd 1948-1950 C47 Dakota, Vickers Viking.
Eagle Aviation Ltd 1948-1952 HP Halifax, Avro York.
Hunting Air Travel/Transport/ Hunting Clan Ltd 1948-1954 C47 Dakota,Vickers Viking. Avro York.
Lancashire Aircraft Corporation/Skyways Ltd 1947-1952 HP Halifax, HP Halton, Avro York.
Skyflight Ltd 1948-1949 HP Halifax.
Trans World Charter Ltd 1948-1951 Vickers Viking.
William Dempster Ltd 1950-1951 Avro Tudor.
World Air Freight Ltd 1948-1950 HP Halifax.
Worldair Carriers Ltd 1950 HP Halton.

I might add that B.O.A.C. had a maintenance facility at Bovingdon 1946-1948.

15th Jun 2019, 00:09
https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1037x530/imgexec_5204_bovingdon_airfield_de6d2d3578742c21216f7bc650c8 354604066424_464f6cb627fe3a7fe301ebd57a2802ff67dbfc8e.jpg
Is that one of the War Lover B-17s in the background?

15th Jun 2019, 07:09
I think you are probably right. I thought the cars looked a bit dated for 1961? However on reflection our own motor is 20 years old...............

15th Jun 2019, 09:13
I thought the cars looked a bit dated for 1961? However on reflection our own motor is 20 years old...............

It's interesting to see the various cars at the base towards the end of this video.

15th Jun 2019, 10:00
https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1037x530/imgexec_5204_bovingdon_airfield_de6d2d3578742c21216f7bc650c8 354604066424_464f6cb627fe3a7fe301ebd57a2802ff67dbfc8e.jpg
Is that one of the War Lover B-17s in the background?
It's well before '61; the sign saying 'Airport Entrance' and the low fence outside indicates that (it was a 'standard' RAF boundary fence by 1961.); I would guess mid '50s before the RAF re-claimed it with the USAF Dak outside the 'terminal' building, the 2 buildings you can see at the left being linked together, one containing the Met Office..
Cars are American; I think I can make out a '49 or '50 Ford.

15th Jun 2019, 12:55
https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/600x400/hu01783_hustwitt_d276f7afc19afb23c0d542fd3bb122e31524039e.jp g
Some rather good photographs from the late Arthur Huswitt. It's the same Eagle Aviation York seen earlier in the thread.

16th Jun 2019, 09:06
https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/2000x1538/gettyimages_834518302_2048x2048_850513ac4da663a5003e5e54dcf7 c779f096fcb1.jpg
British Men's Team 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games. Skyways Avro York Bovingdon.

16th Jun 2019, 14:00

1st Jul 2019, 07:10
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/962x746/47490add00000578_5174341_image_a_42_1513162639757_bov_meteor _1960_cad8d3d9d21f23350fc9760e9bedd02fbdfc4737.jpg
Bovingdon's Meteor NF14 WS848. August 17th 1960. Medmenham Medal if you can name exact location of Windmill. Photo Credit IWM.

1st Jul 2019, 08:26
Bovingdon's Meteor NF14 WS848. August 17th 1960. Medmenham Medal if you can name exact location of Windmill. Photo Credit IWM.

Berney Arms ?

1st Jul 2019, 08:33
Berney Arms ?

Dave - You are spot on!

1st Jul 2019, 08:50
I flew Meteor 8's out of RAF Nicosia in 1958, but never managed to get my hands on the NF14 belonging to FCS at Bovingdon.when I was on Coastal Com in 1961/2. Flew some of their Ansons to help them out, but the Meteors hardly ever flew.

1st Jul 2019, 08:53
https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/700x1067/bovingdon_raf_airfield_1960_10_01_ndb_approach_chart_22_e0fd 4c72f52785330557473d00cac1b6cd006268.jpg
1960 Approach Chart
https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/900x1370/bovingdon_raf_airfield_1953_09_15_chart_47fb13e65ab8a7d42545 62962bd158728fccd35f.jpg
1953 Airfield Chart
https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/900x1369/bovingdon_raf_airfield_1953_09_15_ndb_approach_runway_22_6d3 87f928459e633e6367ff5fed6391a4818fec3.jpg
1953 Approach Chart

1st Jul 2019, 11:29
Bovingdon also had a T 7 in the late 1950s.My last trip to Bovingdon was as the guest of a school friend,a newly qualified Vulcan pilot,to the Officers Mess at Bovingdon Green in about 1962.

2nd Jul 2019, 10:03
More about former Bovingdon Anson pilot Dickie Colbourne here (http://www.peoplesmosquito.org.uk/tag/flight-lieutenant-dickie-colbourne/). The 'People's Mosquito' initiative are looking for members of his family.

8th Jul 2019, 17:24
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1331x1502/eh_724_bovingdon_1944_c19c34ebd5aeda494e8f34e8a8a49f081fcd27 6b.jpg
Bovingdon March 1944. The Aprons were laid in late 1944 ? and 1945 by the Americans after the arrival on the base of the US Air Transport Service (Europe). Credit American Air Museum in Britain IWM.

8th Jul 2019, 17:50
Training Sortie
https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1404x906/fre_000742_refuelling_c2c83e41767f381314fec5b54a76493878eea3 cb.jpg
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1258x1009/fre_000756_b17_bovingdon_b3b6b870ace5be06525d430bf8b24a33b85 60a8f.jpg
https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1417x921/fre_000744_b_17_bovingdon_15ec7133fa844b318915b667dfccf6747f 8f1064.jpg
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1424x913/fre_003714_b_17_bov_d4e468dc5313849dda25a2a8b84b594564046cfa .jpg
These photographs appear to have been taken for Press Release. Note the Censor's half-hearted scribblings over the Water Tower which stood in the North-Eastern Corner of the Airfield. Acknowledgements to The Roger Freeman Collection held by The American Air Museum in Britain IWM.

8th Jul 2019, 19:53
One of my CCF flights from Bovingdon was with a Polish pilot and I was lucky enough to have the right hand cockpit seat.I can remember priming the engines prior to starting but strangely enough I can't remember having to wind the u/c up.Take off was quite lively !!

9th Jul 2019, 09:52
Harrier force could have done with that little tracked tractor before the Unimog

9th Jul 2019, 13:48
41-9026 Baby Doll. Bovingdon based. Shot down over The English Channel 6th September 1942 with the loss of all crew. One of the first two 8th AAF B17s to be lost in combat. Credit:American Air Museum in Britain. Roger Freeman Collection held by IWM.

10th Jul 2019, 09:31
https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1080x856/screenshot_20190710_095812_1_16183f46d177e3a47c81de6a53d4b76 91c968030.png
The marks in this portion of the aerial shot (in #197) look suspiciously like bomb craters.

10th Jul 2019, 11:23
Is this Whelpley Hill? In the late 1950s a sort of shanty town of huts and caravans was on the dispersals there. I remember years ago walking from there with my Dad in the rain down the taxy track to the perimeter by the threshold of 09 and watching a C54 land and trundle past us as we waved and got a wave back. Happy Days! Be interesting if you can find out if the airfield was ever bombed. I know a Doodlebug took out a house in the village in 1944.
The definition on these aerial views is not as sharp as the originals as I have to re-scan them to load them onto Pprune.

10th Jul 2019, 12:29
OUAQUKGF – The area is just south of the end of the main runway. Running lower left to right is Ley Hill Road; the curved road off it is Shantock Hall Lane.

The site's buildings included one of two officers' messes and the base gym. I'm not aware of any specific attacks on the airfield, but it would of course have been a target of opportunity throughout the war.

13th Jul 2019, 19:07

'WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar' Contributed by Susan Nolen Article ID: A1127288 Contributed on: 30 July 2003

16th Jul 2019, 13:08
The attached appears to be a summary of the official accident report, note misspelling of Bovingdon.
This accident occurred in an area of The Chiltern Hills between Great and Little Missenden where the land rises from the Misbourne Valley to a height of between 500 and 600 feet amsl. There is no indication of time but perhaps one could guess that the crash happened in the evening. Note the traces of snow.

Click top r/h Full Screen:



https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/255x480/screenshot_2022_12_08_at_14_54_59_bl_0000619_19510309_001_00 01_pdf_eb9d57db66a4ea6e211fe10b2269122623c5e390.png

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/183x931/screenshot_2022_12_08_at_15_01_47_bl_0002490_19510907_004_00 04_pdf_dcae748be6a18fd00fb63c59dc88c83abfb36aba.png
Bucks Examiner 7 September 1951. Source BNA.

9th Aug 2019, 09:24
My first job on leaving school in 1947 was with KLM at Croydon Airport when due to weather several of their regular C47/Dak flights were diverted to Bovingdon. I can still recall the mad flurry of activity as the Croydon ground staff collected up the necessary forms and documents required and made their hasty departure by road to Bovingdon. Leaving me as the sole rep of KLM at the Croydon office.

9th Aug 2019, 09:27
I can imagine the mad flurry of activity at Bovingdon too!

9th Aug 2019, 12:34
Just wondering, having lived in nearby Chesham from 1948 (when I was born) to 1971, when was Bovingdon handed back to the Air Ministry by the Ministry of Aviation?
In my recollection, there were alway things like Meteors flying round in the early '50s; I remember them because that 'wailing ' beat of the engines used to frighten me when I was about 3 or 4 years old and I used to run indoors to hide until the day my older brother shut the back door and wouldn't let me in!

10th Aug 2019, 14:07
https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/800x507/cheshamflyer110960_cfe165d840fdda8e52989fd6c81d29be815f4a68. jpg
Sorry Chevvron cannot answer your query.

According to Graham M Simons (Airfield focus 80 Bovingdon) the Royal Air Force based communications squadrons continuously at the airfield until 1969, the first arriving from Northolt in July 1947. The USAF arrived with the 7531st Air Base Squadron in May 1951 and were present until 1962.

At the risk of massive thread drift were you lucky enough to be a passenger on 'The Chesham Flyer' when it was hauled by steam?

I can recall several such journeys on this pretty Metropolitan branch line when I was a child. No problems with Power Cuts then!

10th Aug 2019, 19:32
PLEASE it was called the 'Chesham Shuttle'!!!
I travelled on it many times prior to electrification in 1961 probably from '48 or '49 as my dad couldn't afford a car (and I remember travelling on a DMU which was tested on the line in the mid '50s) and on the last day of steam operation I was lucky enough to travel from Little Chalfont to Chesham in the cab of the loco.
I'm guessing your photo, taken from Raans Road Bridge, was on the final day as you can see the 3rd and 4th rails clearly and there are people hanging out of the windows.
Those carriages are still in use and can be travelled in on 'The Bluebell Line' in Sussex apart from one which I believe is on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway (might have been moved to the LT Museum at Covent Garden), but beware, they're not gangwayed so whatever compartment you get into, you're stuck there until the next stop.
There were 2 sets of 3 coaches and they were rotated every 2 weeks I think; converted from the first EMUs to pull and push.

Amended to say I lied.
Thinking back, I recall both sets of coaches were transferred to the Isle of Wight for their services from Ryde Pier Head (meeting the boats from Portsmouth and Southsea) and remained in service until the line was electrified in 1967 using ex LT tube trains. Four coaches then went to the Bluebell Line, one was returned to LT and one remained on the Island.

11th Aug 2019, 16:32

Short and Sweet..........

Alas I recently came across this Newspaper Cutting dated June 15th 1953:

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/282x278/screenshot_2022_12_05_at_09_05_13_bl_0000564_19530615_084_00 05_pdf_187169eee29831968303adad0efa5359955d37a8.png

12th Aug 2019, 18:34
Just come across this. Appears to be Bovingdon in 1944. With Thunderbolt and Lightning carrying out passes on R/W 35. Thunderbolt is 27921 personal aircraft of Lt Col Cass Hough. Note how he stubs his fag out before climbing into the cockpit. https://youtu.be/wwM2jYTyjyg

12th Aug 2019, 18:53
With Thunderbolt and Lightning carrying out passes on R/W 35.

Very, very frightening ...

12th Aug 2019, 19:14
In 1942 Hough dived a P38 from 43,000 feet near Bovingdon during which a speed of 525mph was indicated at 35,000 feet; this was the longest terminal velocity dive successfully undertaken at that time. (With acknowledgements to Roger Freeman author of The Mighty Eighth 1970).

12th Aug 2019, 22:32
Very, very frightening ...

Yes we could do with a good storm here in Norfolk - our Pansies are wilting!

13th Aug 2019, 13:58

Here is more footage of Cass Hough (1904-1990) at Bovingdon. He amassed over 34,000 flying hours pic before loosing his licence after heart surgery at the age of 77. He gets airborne at 0401.

22nd Aug 2019, 08:38
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vWpExXpJSowC&pg=PA3&lpg=PA3&dq=hough+boys+life+1944&source=bl&ots=4ZnUXQ64nu&sig=ACfU3U0yX5m_u2fuYTTjzvD0x6iQgho8OQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwilg_6eg5bkAhXEa1AKHWErAlwQ6AEwCnoECAkQAQ#v=onepag e&q=hough%20boys%20life%201944&f=false

Associated Press Photo August 1943. Captioned on reverse 'Faster Than Sound Pilot' Credit American Air Museum Roger Freeman Collection.

Hough, much photographed, at Bovingdon beside his P38 which sports his Skunk mascot.
One can speculate that this and the film clips were part of a small propaganda campaign centered on Hough's rapid descent from 43,000ft in a P38 near Bovingdon on September 27th 1942. Certain elements in the USAAF claimed incorrectly that in doing so Hough had broken 'The Sound Barrier'. Although dated 1944 on the titles the film footage was probably shot in 1943. Hough's featured P47d 42-7921 was written off at Bovingdon on December 20th 1943.
Several publications in the USA carried the Sound Barrier story. This one continues on page 26.

30th Sep 2019, 13:25
Hi all,
My name is Kane and I'm the events manager at Drift Limits, a driving experience company that reside on part of the Bovingdon Airfield site, at Runways Farm.

I'm arranging an event to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, on Friday the 8th of May 2020 - a special National Holiday to coincide with the date.
Considering the incredible importance of the site, I thought it would be heretical not to. The whole event will also be raising money for local charities including Community Action Dacorum and The Willow Foundation who arrange incredible experiences for persons over 18 who are critically ill. The day is also in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council's HERTFORDSHIRE YEAR OF CULTURE 2020, a year long celebration of people, art, creativity and history through the whole of Hertfordshire.

I'm reaching out to all persons with knowledge, connections and with any media of the site in it's active years as a military base.
On site we will be showing continual slideshows of photos from personal collections that people have been courteous enough to share on our multiple television screens and offering a room with presentation facilities for those with knowledge to talk, display and share information and memories with visitors. We're also hoping to show videos, have opportunities for talks and presentations, which may be transmitted on radio, if agreed to!
We're planning food and drink, music, dancing, period dress, decoration, artists, vintage vehicles and hopefully passenger rides in our supercars. Gearing up to be an amazing day.

Obviously there's absolutely loads of content in this thread, which would be perfect for us to share. It's going to be a mammoth task but if you read this and have posted some pictures and can give permission, please do. I don't want to be a content thief and obviously want to make sure that anything utilised is given the right respect and due formality.

If you are in the area and can give up a small amount of time on the Bank Holiday Friday, we'd absolutely love for a few people to stand up and talk and educate, or simply attend and talk with people.
It'll be a great day to attend anyway so why not be part of it?

If you have absolutely anything that could be shared with our visitors, please do get in contact. You can use this forum to message me, I have turned on emails from members.
Anything shown will of course be credited and as it is a charity day, entirely not for profit. All our proceeds on the day will go to charity, vendors will be donating too.

Thanks so much for reading.

1st Oct 2019, 08:40
Kane - As the originator of this thread, I wish you well with the event.

It's a credit to PPRuNe members that the thread has become such a rich source of information and memories, which show no sign of slowing up.

1st Oct 2019, 09:25
Hi XV490,

Thanks so much for your reply and kind remarks.
I must say this is a truly incredible forum and I've been amazed at the scope and quality of the replies.
I'd say with the members here alone we would rival a

I do look forward to hearing from all parties in due course and am thoroughly excited about the day.
Please note that the best way to get in touch with me directly, is via email / forum message.
I move around a lot and may not always be in our offices, however always have access to my emails!

Kind Regards,

Drift Limits.


Until you have a posting history you don't have access to private messaging and adding urls.

India Four Two
7th Nov 2019, 21:27
Having just watched the video showing the Sunderland "touch and go" at Wellington Airport, I was reminded that the first airshow I ever attended was at Bovingdon in the early 50s when I was about five.

My mother used to tell me that a Sunderland did a flyby, but unfortunately I don't remember that. The only thing I do remember is a dummy parachutist suspended from the roof inside a hangar. Obviously I must have been traumatized by the sight, in order for it to be imprinted on my memory for so many years. Luckily PTSD hadn't been invented then! ;)

8th Nov 2019, 09:02
Very interesting India Four Two. I was a pilot on Coastal Command Com Flight Ansons and Valetta at Bovingdon for just over a year in 1961/62, awaiting an Argosy course after completing a two year tour on Twin Pioneers and Pembrokes on 152 Sqn in the Gulf. My first ever flight was in 1955 when we went down to Pembroke Dock on a two weeks CCF camp and flew almost every day in the Sunderlands based there, which made up my mind to join the RAF in 1955.

9th Nov 2019, 11:53
I flew from Bovingdon several times in 1956/8 as a member of the CCF,once in a Devon and several times in an Anson.The Communication Flights also had 2 Meteors,a T 7 and a NF??.There was also a RAF Dakota with a VIP interior which I never saw fly.Coastal Command visitors I saw were a Neptune and a Shackleton.I used to live quite close to Northwood. The USAF C47s were in and out all the time and I also saw a black Invader take off.Very noisy.


India Four Two
9th Nov 2019, 12:29
... flew almost every day in the Sunderlands ...

I'm jealous - I never saw an airborne Sunderland and am too young to have had the opportunity to fly in one. I have seen a Mars twice - once at a distance over Vancouver Island and then again at Oshkosh, where it did very impressive water drops on the airfield. I also travelled on a BC Airlines Mallard in the 70s. A colleague and I were traveling from Vancouver to Tofino airport. This was a round-robin trip, where the Mallard then flew on to Tahsis, a remote logging-community and then back to Vancouver.

The departure was delayed due to a mechanical issue - we could see, through the open rear door, a mechanic's legs as he lay head first in the tailcone! The captain came over to me and my colleague and asked, since we were the only passengers for Tofino, if he could fly to Tahsis first. So I got to experience a water-landing, taxi up the ramp and a subsequent glassy-water takeoff. We ran for over a mile!

9th Nov 2019, 17:37
Lucky enough to see Kermit's Sandringham twice when Edward Hulton owned it - I wonder if Kermit will ever be able to fly it again. Mars is something I would love to see fly...

9th Nov 2019, 17:45
https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/495x194/15_6_douglas_invader_bovingdon_410e474caa17a8456da6fefb557dd 9611df3adbb.jpg
' Photographed at Bovingdon recently an unusual Douglas RB-26c-46DT Invader (44-35762). First to be noted in UK with an O Serial. Various bulges may be seen under the nose and rear fuselage. '
The USAF C47s were in and out all the time and I also saw a black Invader take off.Very noisy.


Perhaps it was this Invader described thus by Air Pictorial 1956-01.

India Four Two
9th Nov 2019, 23:51
treadders, especially for you. ;) My video from Oshkosh. Wingspan is 200', 5' more than a 747-100. Dropping 18 tonnes of water!

Anchored at the Float Plane Base:
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/2000x1124/mars_anchored_img_3438_96aeec065c0f8114b8c791e0a0f8c69df11dd 411.jpg

10th Nov 2019, 04:48
Magic! Thanks I42. Sadly I don't have any vids of the Sandringham though I may unearth a photo or two one day.

11th Nov 2019, 14:44
https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/1023x589/47700047652_f83e6e210b_b_provider_bov_ff2a503581a28408c606d5 9b2f4a1a88062fcdb4.jpg
C123 date unknown. Probably operating the daily Weisbaden to Burtonwood Freight run with a stop off at Bovingdon.

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/719x399/airshow3_bovingdon_7d556c8f9e97048e15f9426d814f0abc1587bcb2. gif
Possibly in the mid to late 1950s. Photo credit bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

11th Nov 2019, 20:01
Seeing that pic of the C-123... in the summer of '77 at my school a few miles south of Guildford, I was playing cricket and a high wing, twin radial engined transport droned NE towards London at about the height and on the same route that airliners approaching the Ockham hold followed. Without the aid of binoculars and mindful of the cricket ball being hoicked around the pitch, my glances identified it as a C-123 - pretty sure it wasn't a Pembroke or a Sea Prince. Can't think of anything else it might have been, but did the USAF have any in Europe as late as that? Might have been civvy one being ferried somewhere interesting I suppose.

Occasionally saw USN C-131s or C-118s on the same route as I recall, inbound Northolt.

12th Nov 2019, 06:03
Seeing that pic of the C-123... in the summer of '77 at my school a few miles south of Guildford, I was playing cricket and a high wing, twin radial engined transport droned NE towards London at about the height and on the same route that airliners approaching the Ockham hold followed. Without the aid of binoculars and mindful of the cricket ball being hoicked around the pitch, my glances identified it as a C-123 - pretty sure it wasn't a Pembroke or a Sea Prince. Can't think of anything else it might have been, but did the USAF have any in Europe as late as that? Might have been civvy one being ferried somewhere interesting I suppose.

Occasionally saw USN C-131s or C-118s on the same route as I recall, inbound Northolt.
More likely it was a US Navy C1 Trader.
Whenever a USN carrier approached UK waters, they would 'fly off' mail and anything else important to Northolt.
I 'controlled' several of these flights from Farnborough in the '70s/'80s, the Trader not being retired until 1988; I don't think any C123s operated in Europe after about 1970.
I remember C123s (and C130s) departing Bovingdon in the '60s; their 'standard' departure route took them towards Beacon Hill fan marker near Princes Risborough which meant they passed directly over my home town, Chesham,

12th Nov 2019, 06:09
Good call Chevvron, that would very likely have been it! Cheers!

20th Jan 2020, 21:38
B17 of 92nd BG Bovingdon September 1942. Photographed by Charles Brown.

Credit Roger Freeman Collection, Imperial War Museum

B17 Accident Cow Roast Berkhamsted:24.10.44. 91st Bomb Group U.S.A.A.F.B-17G 43-38398 1/lt. DeLisle Location of crash: Cow Roast, near Berkhampstead, Herts. England. (http://www.aircrewremembrancesociety.co.uk/USAAF-Losses-ARS.co.uk/styled-27/styled-235/index.html)

22nd Jan 2020, 09:22
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/737x553/18831_5bc38534b39d3g_akba_spot_the_wheel_6bab5e05f2340abf8fc 7e21bd3c02b0540eff7b0.jpg


27th Jan 2020, 18:30
I came across this rather lovely image from Bovingdon which filled me with nostalgia. It should be displayed here but due to finger trouble it's placed last! Halifax G-AILO was reduced to scrap in 1952. I sent a copy of the photo to my oldest pal David whose father Captain Gordon Rayment was with LAC and then Skyways before sadly he was killed in 1958.


David says his Father is the shorter of the three.


David supplied these snaps from his dad's logbook of G-AILO at Hong Kong having delivered a cargo uplifted in Hamburg. Routing was as follows:Bovingdon (30/4/51) - Hamburg 1/5 - Rome - Nicosia 2/5 - Bahrain (5/5 Hydraulics u/s at Bahrain) - Karachi - Delhi 6/5 - Calcutta - Bangkok - Hong Kong (9/5) - Calcutta - Karachi (11/5) - Bahrain - Nicosia - Malta - Bovingdon (13/5)

27th Jan 2020, 21:43
The top two pics look HLG could have been in '52. Is that last at Kai Tak? Some seriously long sectors to get there.

28th Jan 2020, 08:12
The first two photographs are of Hong Kong in May 1951. The last photograph was taken at Bovingdon- date unknown.

28th Jan 2020, 09:55
The first two photographs are of Hong Kong in May 1951. The last photograph was taken at Bovingdon- date unknown.
West side of the airfield near Whelpley Hill I would guess.

29th Jan 2020, 16:46
Yes Chevvron I agree. I remember playing on the Halifax hulks on the dispersals near Whelpley Hill. So far I've not been able to track down any images of the dumps. Perhaps G-AILO is about to be scrapped? She was withdrawn from use in August 1951. The life of these useful aeroplanes was short-lived. Apart from an unhealthy accident rate, lack of work post Berlin Airlift and a shortage of spares hastened their demise. Here is an image of G-AKXT of The Lancashire Aircraft Corporation which was scrapped at Bovingdon in December 1950. No location is given for the photograph but it could well be Bovingdon, the area looks suitably derelict!

Photocredit NA3T.

31st Jan 2020, 09:29


31st Jan 2020, 15:51

I knew John and Barbara quite well. John used to visit 2204 (Chesham) Sqdn ATC where I was a cadet to show us slides of his travels to places like Entebbe and South America; he flew to South America on the first BOAC VC10 service. John, myself and a few other ROC members helped form the Chorleywood Branch of Air Britain by joining on its first night.
Barbara I knew from when I joined the Royal Observer Corps Post N1 which used Amersham Community Centre for training while its 'bunker' was at Little Hundridge Farm; it was called 'Amersham' post despite being nearer to both Chesham and Great Missenden.

The second link contains something I've been trying to trace for years; my father (now deceased) told me several times he had flown with Alan Cobhams flying circus from a field 'along Lye Green Road' but this is the first time I've seen it in print.
As for the photo of 'Brandons' department store in Chesham Broadway, I went in there many times.
In latter years it was managed by a gentleman called Harborne, a wartime RAF pilot who had several sons, at least 2 of whom were ATC cadets and at least 2 who became pilots in the RAF; another son was an Air Traffic Control Assistant at Farnborough with me for a while.
Mr Harborne was also chairman of the local branch of the RAFA.
When Chesham United FC reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup in 1968, a civic reception was held and a dais was built at the front of Brandons to welcome the team home after they unfortunately lost 1-0 to a Leytonstone penalty; Chesham did get a penalty also but the thrill of playing at Wembley must have been too much for Chesham's striker and he mis-kicked.

1st Feb 2020, 12:37


Thanks for that second link. The details in JY's chronicle are priceless. P-47s practising strafing over Cowcroft clay pits? Amazing.

As for Brandon's shop in Chesham, I think it must have been where I saw a window display (BoB 25th/Sept 1965?) featuring the very best model aircraft I'd ever seen. As a nine-year-old, I used to catch the 362 bus from Ley Hill to go into Chesham for a haircut.

1st Feb 2020, 13:38
Thanks for that second link. The details in JY's chronicle are priceless. P-47s practising strafing over Cowcroft clay pits? Amazing.

As for Brandon's shop in Chesham, I think it must have been where I saw a window display (BoB 25th/Sept 1965?) featuring the very best model aircraft I'd ever seen. As a nine-year-old, I used to catch the 362 bus from Ley Hill to go into Chesham for a haircut.
My next door neighbour, a Pole,operated the digger at Cowcroft Brickworks in the '50s and '60s.
I visited Ley Hill many times; my sister also lived there in the '80s just opposite Keith Fordyces place and next door to the school.

4th Feb 2020, 16:54
John Young mentions HP Halton 1 G-AHDU of BOAC as frequently seen at Bovingdon. It was the first of 12 Converted Haltons delivered to BOAC. They proved uneconomic to operate and were disposed of by BOAC in 1948. In the meantime it looks as though everyone here was having a very jolly time in gloomy post-war Britain.......

https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/2000x1515/gettyimages_3421141_2048x2048_halton_f90c875fb323a1a938758ae 61a1bc2acd89ba00e.jpg
8th July 1946: Christening the BOAC 'Falkirk', the first of the Handley Page 'Halton' aircraft, the civil transport version of the Halifax bomber, with its interior changed for passenger accommodation. Left to right: - Sir Victor Tait; Capt DD Haig, co-pilot; Eng/Off GA Battye; Capt WG Buchanan; Sir William Welsh; Sir F Handley Page; Provost James Strachan of Falkirk; and Robert Lyle, Town Clerk. (Photo by Frank Harrison/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

4th Feb 2020, 17:02
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9th Feb 2020, 13:27
Many thanks to the Editor of 'The Aeroplane' for permission to reproduce this article by the late Richard Riding.

Forgive the slightly dodgy reproduction neither I nor my Kodak Brownie Box Camera are quite up to scratch these days......
It has been very difficult to find an image of this crash. Amazingly the crew survived. One interesting point is that a major contributory factor to the cause of this accident is widely quoted as being a shifting cargo, viz A.J. Jackson British Civil Aircraft (1960) Vol 2 page 78. Richard Riding points out that this was not the case.

9th Feb 2020, 13:42
In 1948 and 1949 The Lancashire Aircraft Corporation purchased several dozen Halifaxes directly from The Royal Air Force. Although given civil registrations very few if any of these aircraft entered service having been obtained for the sole purpose of being reduced to spares or melted down for ingots. Many of these aircraft ended up on the dump at Bovingdon where they provided useful employment for the locals.

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Norman Beeson. Bovingdon late forties early fifties. Photo credit Paula Gurney Kitchener (Bovingdon Remembered)

David Rayment
9th Feb 2020, 22:27
PAXboy - post 238

The longest stage (Hong Kong to Calcutta) took 9h 56m, all the rest were less than 8h. Gordon only did that stage in Halifax/Halton once although Mombasa to Mauritius on 19/10/51 was 8:34. The return was 8:46 with 3 hours on instruments. His last flight in a Halifax was 'HDV from Bovingdon to Stanstead. Then it was trooping time from Bovingdon with such delights as 11:15 (York 'HFD) Gander to Bovingdon with 9h on instruments. There is no hearing loss smiley!


10th Feb 2020, 06:27
Thats not bad, Hong Kong - Calcutta used to take around 6.45 in a Britannia.

10th Feb 2020, 09:26
Good morning again, one and all.
I posted a while back in this thread, asking those with knowledge / connections / photographs etc of Bovingdon Airfield about usage of photos (with credit of course) and possible involvement in celebrating the site on VE Day this year.
Unfortunately it seems that my post count has been restricting my ability to receive many Personal Messages. I have however, subscribed to this thread and hope people will get back to me there.
Forum rules of course prevent me from sharing an email address, hopefully if you visit Drift Limits Motorsport Academy's Website and visit the VE 2020 page, you can find my details there, as well as details about the event.

I would absolutely love to hear from each and every one of you that has details of the airfield, anything we could print, display and share would be a huge benefit to the local community. Educating people about the history of our airfields and those who bravely flew from them is so incredibly important. I hope that you'll become part of the event in some way, to make sure the story lives on through future generations.