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Southport beach - Merseyside

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Southport beach - Merseyside

Old 31st Aug 2009, 20:16
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Germany
Age: 70
Posts: 10
Thomas Doubting

Thomas Doubting, thank you for getting my old memory up and running with G-AOJH.
I am sorry all, but I got my Fox Moths mixed up. JH was the DH83c built in Canada, and had a sliding pilot canopy. EJ was a UK product, open cockpit. Capt 'Johhny' Lewrey aquired it, and it was Red fuse and Silver wings.
John Lewrey flew as an 'AG' in WWII, in the fore runner of the Welington (Warwick?). They were shot down and POW in Italy. When the Italians capitulated the RAF prisoners were released. He stole a bike and cycled toward Switserland. He got caught at the border.
He was also in show buisness as a skater in his younger days, 'Der Stiltzen Konig' as his party piece he used to jump several barrels skating on stilts! He had a Tiger Moth, with his initials on it G-APJL. He sold that and got the Fox Moth. The aircraft was last heard of down south, he lost his CAA licence, got an FAA licence painted an american registration on the Fox Moth and carried on flying!
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 06:30
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Singapore
Posts: 21

You're welcome.

OJH also starred in one of my favourite movies Bullshot made in 1983, as the mount of the dastardly Count Otto Von Bruno. She was still wearing red and silver at that time.
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Old 1st Sep 2009, 06:46
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I took my daughter on her first flight from the beach on Cessna 172 G-AYRG on the 28th August 1989, she was 14 months old....my daughter, not the Cessna

Last edited by superspotter; 1st Sep 2009 at 07:30. Reason: Whoops, numerical malfunction...
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 00:05
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Germany
Age: 70
Posts: 10

The C172 G-AYRG you refer to belonged to Bill Robinson. He came up the hard way to become a pilot. PPL, instructor, parachute pilot, eventually CPL. He made the beach work, as a car salesman he could sell. So he went round the local schools selling them a deal to fly in the week when it was quiet.
When he left Southport Beach he and I joined Janes, he flew a Shorts 330, I flew in a DC3 G-AMPZ (sold to Air Atlantique), Bill stayed with Janes which became Emerald Airways.
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Old 2nd Sep 2009, 00:17
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Behind you all the way!
Posts: 359

Billy Robbo' owned the company, Inglis Aviation, that had the lease for beach op's but it wasn't just Bill that flew 'RG. There was also characters & fellow Gnomes of Squires Gate, namely, Rick 'Now will you F**k off!!!' Fitch, Boozy Ben from Boddington Glen, Billy 'Golden Bollocks' Prest & John "I was Dinsdale's Sexual Adviser" Hunter.

Along with the 2 mad firemen, Arnie & Millard & not forgetting Nick the Dog it was good craic.
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Old 3rd Sep 2009, 08:44
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Longton, Lancs, UK
Age: 76
Posts: 1,524
Spastic and Daddy!

Speaking, as I do all too frequently, with Robbo last night in our Oval Office (aka Anchor at Hutton), he was intrigued as to identities here - thinking that one of you may have had a connection with Thai in Wrea Green? The man is well, and now retired, having stayed with Emerald (finally a captain) until it eventually expired. Not PC literate, he's trying to persuade his son to help him come on here - meantime, I'm happy to be a conduit should you wish to PM/e-mail me.

Mad Arnie is also a member of the Oval Office - still an amiable drunk, paid-up member of BNP, and presently skippering a large houseboat around the French/German system. 'Goldon Bollocks' also makes the occasional appearance, away from his Globespan duties; his brother Millard is still about. New members and visitors welcome - twixt 1700-2000, daily!
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Old 3rd Sep 2009, 14:41
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Lancashire
Posts: 84
Wrea Green

Only connection is we thump over said village with Huey 509 trying to get the drinkers outside the Grapes to spill their beer as they look skyward and sometimes get a take away from the Thai restaurant in the village.

Is that the sort of connection you were after?

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Old 4th Sep 2009, 09:21
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: On the Rump of Pendle Hill GB
Posts: 223
I have a sad memory of light A/c flying from the Sands at Southport ,

that of a young boy in the late 70s early 80s aged about 10yr to 12yrs who was a playmate of my sons, he ran into the prop arc of the idling A/c because his mum let go of his hand whilst they were walking to board same A/c for a flight, lost his arm but survived after many operations he was fitted with a false arm that would have not been out of place in some sort of Science Fiction film.

Peter R-B
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 10:14
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Longton, Lancs, UK
Age: 76
Posts: 1,524

Some photos arising from Robbo's visit to the Oval Office last night ---

Robbo with Norman Giroux, early 90's

Robbo with the mad firemen

Robbo overnighting with Emerald crew!

Last edited by jindabyne; 4th Sep 2009 at 19:49.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 22:00
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The Smaller Antipode
Age: 86
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Tears in the eyes - grew up in Southport.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 23:47
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Germany
Age: 70
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I see 'mad fireman' Dave Tweds in the second foto. He's a 'Cap' now on Jetstreams.
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Old 5th Sep 2009, 08:29
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Longton, Lancs, UK
Age: 76
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Ex --

I suspect you're better off where you are now!!
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Old 8th Sep 2009, 22:47
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
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There was also characters & fellow Gnomes of Squires Gate, namely, Rick 'Now will you F**k off!!!' Fitch, Boozy Ben from Boddington Glen, Billy 'Golden Bollocks' Prest & John "I was Dinsdale's Sexual Adviser" Hunter.
Most of the others are accounted for, but what has become of Rick Fitch, anyone know?
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Old 9th Sep 2009, 09:47
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Longton, Lancs, UK
Age: 76
Posts: 1,524
According to Robbo and Bill Prest, several years ago Rick Fitch left his wife and headed off to London. It's thought that he subsequently lost his flying cat and an HGV licence through ill-health. Despite several attempts at contact, nothing heard of since then - maybe an attempt on Where Are They Now might reveal more?
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Old 22nd Oct 2009, 04:10
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Canberra
Posts: 9
Fox Moth CCB

In response to the original post, I hope the attached shot brings back memories for some.

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Old 23rd Nov 2009, 15:34
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: UK
Age: 79
Posts: 3,727
Dear Moderators,

I know that I am not supposed to make multiple postings but I only learned today that John Lewery (owner of Fox Moth G-AOJH) died on 17 November. His funeral is on Wednesday 25 November so I don't have a lot of time to tell his friends and colleagues.

I have posted the details of his funeral on the "Where are They Now" forum.

John was a gentleman of the highest order and I, for one, shall miss him.
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Old 25th Nov 2009, 19:15
  #37 (permalink)  
Sir George Cayley
Posts: n/a
Brought up in posh St Annes I remember Capt Lewry's Fox Moth making occasional visits to Squires Gate.

Years later, around 1993, I remember a trip to Southport Beach one sunny summers day. Driving along the sands we came upon the runway and pleasure flying ops. My recollection is of two PA 28 Cherokees doin' the biz.

Was that a BPL or LPL venture.

John Lewery had an aviation life to a ripe old age, what tales he'll have for them up there!

Old 9th Jan 2010, 13:27
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Lincolnshire
Posts: 3
Southport Beach Ground Crew
TheSpasticFlyer :
QUOTE : Nice to see PA-22 G-AREV that operated off Southport Beach. The guy walking away from the aircraft is Chris Benyon, I know cos I was that man.

Hi Chris

You have a 'pm' that I sent you. Doesn't appear you've read it yet.

Hope to hear back from you.

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Old 18th Jan 2010, 19:09
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Auburndale, Florida, USA
Age: 81
Posts: 175
I was interested to see the Southport Sands thread has recently been active. As someone who grew up in Southport this has brought back many memories.
So here is my five penny worth.
As an eleven or twelve year old in the early 50s i was always fascinated seeing the Fox Moths flying along the front along the Marine Lake up to the North end of the Promenade. Eventually I found myself drawn to the beach to watch the activity at close quarters. By hanging about in close to the wooden hut which was the operations centre, if you like, I was eventually accepted as part of the furniture. The hut was about 8ft by 4ft and it was not unusual to find half a dozen erstwhile volunteers crammed in there sheltering from the wind on some of the colder summer weekends when flying was possible.
The owner Norman Giroux, I learnt was a WW1 French Canadian pilot who had married a Southport girl and liked the place enough to try his hand at a Pleasure Flying operation off the beach between Southport and Birkdale alongside the old Cheshire Lines Railway which is now an extension of Marine Drive. Most of us "hangers on" were there for one particular reason and that was to scrounge a ride whenever there was a spare seat. Of course whoever was loading the passengers was obviously in the best position to grab any spare seat that came up, a practice which Giroux saw no objection to. I was clearly not old enough for loading duties but never the less I started to get called over to jump in and my first flight remains an outstanding memory.
The shed was so full of blown sand that it was not possible to aviod having shoes, socks, pockets, everything full of it. I can only ever remember seeing Giroux once or twice without his helmet and goggles on (goggles raised of course). This may have been his badge of office but I suspect it was mainly to keep the sand out. I trust I am not being disrespectful by constantly referring to Norman Giroux as Giroux but that was the only way I ever heard him referred to Perhaps Mrs Giroux called him Norman, she was a Town Counceller and a big wheel in the Southport Flower Show, then considered the largest in the World. Her appearances on the beach were very rare, supervision of their two York Terriers seemed to be evenly shared and I have to say they were pretty well behaved when in Giroux's care and they did occasionally fly.
Giroux's afternoon meal always came between two plates from Thorpes Restaurant on Neville Street. By the time he eventually found a gap to eat the meal it was cold and gritty with sand. I eventually assumed the role of courier for this duty since by now except for people who knew him well would call him Jerry.
I had acquired a second hand bike which opened up a whole new world for me . I was now able to do a newspaper round before and after cycling to school at KGV but I was always there on the beach whenever possible. As a result I think my schoolwork suffered and I doubt that I ever achieved my academic potential. But I was certainly enjoying life as I got to my teens.
Eventually it occured to me that as the Fox Moths G-ACCB and G-ACEJ, SeaBee and Ace J did not stay on the beach at night they flew off to the North and I did not know where. Eventually I plucked up the courage to ask to go on a Hangar Flight at the end of the day. It was a short flight probably 2-3 miles. The Moth had to be wing walked along a very narrow sand strip about quarter of a mile away from the beach towards two hangars. The first hangar was very impressive and I was somewhat disappointed to see it was about quarter full of Southport Corporation Buses. On then to the second hangar which was a beat up wooden framed building and this was home to the Moths. No sooner was the aircraft through the doorway than we were pushing the doors closed and everybody left leaving me behind to walk the 3 miles home by which time it was dark. When I got home my mother (following the "where have you been?") asked me where my bike was. "Oh shoot" or whatever it was we said in those days. Fortunately it was a Saturday and the bike was standing against the shed so I figured it would be OK for the night.
The hangars are long gone and by that time so was I, to the RAF so I don't know when they were taken down or if that coincided with Giroux's retirement.
I'm not sure how old Giroux would have been then but he certainly seemed like an old man to a youngster like me. It is so nice to see the pictures of him posted on this thread obviously he lived to be a good age.
I asked to start the days in future from the hangar. One of the doors did not lock and I usually got there early to have a sniff around. There was an Avro Avian hanging on the wall with the wings removed. I wonder what happened to that. Sometimes when I got there a mechanic would be working on one of the Foxes. His name was George, he worked full time at Leyland Motors, not too far away, and it was not unknown for Giroux to call him down to the beach to put something right.
Annual checks were done elsewhere usually somewhere different every year. I was told that this was because he had'nt always paid for the last annual. Thruxton was I'm sure his preferred choice, but he never took company on those occasions.
All in all I just loved hanging about on the beach, there were plenty of people much older than me offering me good advice on a career in aviation.
The youngest among them was a girl from Manchester who visited every couple of weeks. Nothing unusual about that except that on one occasion after a Tiger Moth arrived I could see it was her getting out, Solo. I was so impressed. It turns out she was the recipient of a Womens Junior Air Corps Flying Scholarship. I think she had only just completed the course at Barton but had never even mentioned she was training. Her name was Dorothy, she was always so encouraging,but now I was in awe of her and I 'm sure she recognised that. Thereafter she was at great pains to assure me that there was nothing special about her and I could eventually do the same.
One of the reasons we were well aquainted was thanks to a local farmer from Hundred End. As regular as clockwork at about 3pm on a Saturday he would stagger down to the beach, well plastered and demand that Giroux fly him round Blackpool Tower. He was invariably on his own which left the three remaining seats available. There was no shortage of takers and being the lightest Dorothy and I would get in last into the front bench seat.
What an incredible aircraft the Fox Moth is. Four passengers in the cabin and Giroux isolated from them in the cockpit outside and powered only by one Gypsy Major engine . Giroux was only visible to the pax through a small oval aperture (probably about 8" wide). It occurs to me now, armed with a little more knowledge how variable the centre of gravity must ahve been between a pilot only and full load configurations. It never seemed to phase Giroux, I can never recall him declining to fill the cabin. As far as I can remember there was one simple rule the two heaviest sat in the rear forward facing seats and the lightest in the front rear facing seats, but you still got seat by a window to push your nose up to.
I had already been a Cub and was in the Boys Brigade for a couple of years when at the age of 14 I was able to join the local Air Training Squadron (281).
I lost no time in establishing myself there and when I found I was able to get flights on a regular basis in the Oxfords based at Woodvale I realised it was time to move on. That I was able to do that was due to one of the Pilots giving Navigation instruction at the ATC in his spare time. Whilst in the ATC there were flights in Oxfords, Ansons a Prentice and even a Meteor 7 at Summer Camp in Driffield plus a gliding course.
So I was older and getting my fix in a more structured environment but I can not easily forget the time spent doing odd jobs and the many flights I experienced with S.N. Giroux to whom I should be eternally grateful for the start it gave me in Aviation.
In later years I was able to operate a similar operation from Clacton-on Sea using Cessnas but we managed to incorporate a Tiger Moth G-AOGR and as much fun as it was it could not match the excitement I always had with the Fox Moths.
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 06:11
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Uk
Age: 40
Posts: 1
After watching this long never ended thread. I am impress and like to add myself.

Good long run memory.
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