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RAF Bovingdon - 1960s

Old 31st Jan 2020, 15:51
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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.
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Old 1st Feb 2020, 12:37
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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.
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Old 1st Feb 2020, 13:38
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Originally Posted by XV490
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.
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Old 4th Feb 2020, 16:54
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Radlett not Bovingdon for a wee dram or two.

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.......



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)

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Old 4th Feb 2020, 17:02
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Shortly thereafter at Bovingdon






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Old 9th Feb 2020, 13:27
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Bond Air Services Halifax 8 G-AIZO Studham May 23 1948




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.
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Old 9th Feb 2020, 13:42
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Mention of wrecked Halifaxes

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.



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




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Old 9th Feb 2020, 22:27
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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!



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Old 10th Feb 2020, 06:27
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Thats not bad, Hong Kong - Calcutta used to take around 6.45 in a Britannia.
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 09:26
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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.
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 12:38
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Originally Posted by OUAQUKGF Ops
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.
I seem to recall some Halifax - Halton conversions were carried out by Airtech at Aylesbury/Thame (Haddenham) airfeld, not too far from Bovingdon (and even closer to Halton!).
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 18:51
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Bit of thread drift coming up......... perhaps someone can start a thread on Thame? I understand the airfield is now closed.

A History of Haddenham Airfield - Airtech Ltd
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Old 10th Feb 2020, 19:39
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Originally Posted by OUAQUKGF Ops
Bit of thread drift coming up......... perhaps someone can start a thread on Thame? I understand the airfield is now closed.

A History of Haddenham Airfield - Airtech Ltd
Yeah they kicked out the 'Upward Bound Trust' a charitable organisation teaching under privileged kids to glide, and now they're building you know whats there.
But some of the street names have aviation connections so that's OK then isn't it.https://www.pprune.org/images/icons/46.gif
Edit: Why don 't these bloody icons work properly?
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Old 12th Feb 2020, 16:52
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Meanwhile at Bovingdon

A four engined civil version of the Halifax bomber, left Bovingdon Airfield, Hertfordshire, at midnight last night with a most unusual cargo. Slung beneath the aircraft, a Lancashire Aircraft Corporation machine, is a 5 1/2 ton propeller shaft. The shaft is destined for the Western Canada steamship vessel, S.S. Lake Chilco, lying immobilised at Singapore with its shaft irreparably damaged. Whereas it would take some 60 days to take a shaft out by sea, the Halifax is expected to have it on the spot by Sunday, and the steamship company will save about 300 a day by having the shaft speeded to the ship. Picture shows: the 5 1/2 ton shaft looking like a giant bomb in position beneath the Halifax, ready for its long trip to Singapore and the SS Lake Chilco. 2 October 1947.


Merton Jones (British Independent Airlines) mentions this flight and notes that it took 4 days to reach Singapore piloted by the Company's Chief Pilot Captain W.I. Lashbrook.

Source United Archives with thanks.





Last edited by OUAQUKGF Ops; 20th May 2022 at 09:08. Reason: Corrections and addit gen
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Old 23rd Feb 2020, 09:59
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One and the same T33?

Originally Posted by bovingdonboy
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 undercarriage legs. I could go on - it really was a fabulous time and it saddens me deeply to see that state of the dear old place now.

Preparing the wreck for Fire Practice. Bovingdon Circa 1959. Photographed by David Taylor.

USAF to the rescue! Photographed by David Taylor.

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Old 23rd Feb 2020, 10:58
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Originally Posted by KaneDL
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.
I had 2 Anson flights from Bovingdon in the early '60s and in the period 1965 - 1967, helped operate several detachments of gliders from 613 Gliding School at Halton prior to 617 Gliding School moving in having been ejected from Hendon.
During one of the detachments, there was a Devon on a trailer parked in our hangar; apparently the pilot had landed 'long' as there was a 'hump' in the main runway which tended to throw the aircraft back ointo the air after touchdown, however he found after landing he had no pressure in his brakes and ended up going across the Bovingdon - Chesham road (road traffic was halted by traffic lights) after touchdown.

Last edited by chevvron; 23rd Feb 2020 at 11:11.
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Old 23rd Feb 2020, 13:21
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Probably this Devon Chevvron?


Photo credit: bovingdon-airfield.co.uk
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Old 8th Mar 2020, 16:51
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USAAF Weather Flight Losses 1943-1944

In November 1943 USAAF B17s of The Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Provisional) arrived at Bovingdon having completed a detachment with 517 Squadron RAF Coastal Command, St Eval, Cornwall. 231 sorties had been flown since their formation at St Eval in September 1943. Due to a shortage of American Met Air Observers MAOs from 517 Squadron RAF Coastal Command were detached to Bovingdon. Tragedy struck on 9th December 1943 when Wing Commander Jack Osborne and Flt Lt Howard 'John' Leigh-Clare MAO Leaders 517 Squadron were killed along with eight other crew members when their B17 crashed at Bovingdon. The Squadron (or Flight) under No 1 CCRC remained at Bovingdon until the 28th of March 1944 when it moved to Watton, Norfolk and was reformed and split as The 8th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy Provisional and Light Provisional).

B17 42-37744. Captain was Second Lt LaVerne Rissinger. Crashed Bovingdon evening of 9th December 1943. The aircraft hit trees after a late rotation and crashed into Bourne Wood. There were no survivors. Recorded as a training sortie.


B17 42-30131. Captain was Second Lt Robert Grafton. Lost over the Western Approaches/East Atlantic 2nd February 1944. After leaving Bovingdon the aircraft called at RAF Brawdy, Pembrokeshire to pick up its MAO Sgt John Pye (18 yrs). After its departure from Brawdy it was not seen again.

Weather Flights were also conducted from Bovingdon's satellite aerodrome at nearby Cheddington.

B17 42-37869. Captain was Major Ernie Patterson crashed at Bridestow, Devon 25th December 1943. At the end of its sortie and en-route to Cheddington the aircraft diverted back to St Eval due to an overheating engine. When they eventually departed for Cheddington the crew who were in high spirits beat up the airfield. En-route they were cruising at 1200 feet VFR when they suddenly entered cloud and hit high ground. The two pilots and the MAO Sgt Basil Brown survived, five other crew members died.




Captain later Lt Col Alvin E Podwojski, C.O. Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Bovingdon 10th February 1944. Note Squadron Emblem. On April 3rd 1945 Podwojski with crewman Lt Col Proule operating a Mosquito from Watton were hit by Flak and 'lost' an engine whilst sowing 'Chaff' over Kiel. They landed at Malmo, Sweden and were interned. Photo credit American Air Museum.



MAO Sgt W.H. Timms RAF and Capt Podwojski fit one of two Psychrometers before a mission. Bovingdon 17th February 1944. Photo credit American Air Museum Freeman Collection.



The Crash Site of B17 42-37869 near Bridestow, Devon. Photo credit Paul Buck.



More information about these operations and other snippets from Bovingdon can be found here:
https://www.key.aero/forum/historic-...af-station-112


Further details about the Weather Squadron at Watton from March 28th 1944 here:https://www.rafwatton.info/a-brief-history-of-the-25th/


One final interesting bit of thread drift:http://www.ww2irishaviation.com/42-3279.htm

Last edited by OUAQUKGF Ops; 5th Oct 2022 at 13:49. Reason: Correcting circumstances loss of 42-37869
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Old 16th Mar 2020, 18:03
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Blankets For Palestine


Blankets are loaded on to a Halifax of British American Air Services at Bovingdon, bound for Palestine as part of the refugee relief efforts. My thanks to The Editor of Aeroplane Monthly for permission to reproduce this photo.

I've dated this image to the early Summer of 1947. My initial reaction was that these blankets were for Palestinians. However this flight was prior to the creation of The State of Israel and the Israeli-Arab War of 1948. The refugees were Jews from Europe and Asia.




This image gives some idea of the size of the Pannier. Photo-credit Key Aero.



A little bit of Drift now:
SitNews: Remembering Operation Magic Carpet By DAVE KIFFER







Avro Tudor 2 of Don Bennett's Fairflight at Aden October or November 1949. The company's two Tudors performed 25 rotations to Israel carrying Yemenite Jews.


Yemenite Jews. Is this a Tudor? Bennett's aeroplanes were operated as freighters but he received ARB approval in early autumn 1949 to allow seating for up to 78 passengers.


Lest We Forget:
https://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/photos/flight-1948

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Old 23rd Mar 2020, 16:44
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A Few Photographs


Autumn 1942. Photo- American Air Museum. Roger Freeman Collection.



P47 66674. 26th September 1943. Cass Hough's Air Technical Division carried out vital R+D on drop tanks to extend the range of fighter escorts.
Photo-American Air Museum. Roger Freeman Collection.




Merlin Engined Mustang comes to grief after Test Flight. 13th March 1944. Photo - American Air Museum. Roger Freeman Collection.



P38 Take-off accident. 11th April 1945. Photo-American Air Museum. Roger Freeman Collection.



Spitfire Mk9s. 485 New Zealand Squadron. 30th March 1944. Photo-spitfiresite.com.



Spitfire Mk16. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

B29. Much hyped visit 8th October 1945 but not the first B29 to be seen at Bovingdon.



D.H.Hornet. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

B17 Postwar. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

Armstrong Whitworth Meteor NF. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk



Avro Anson Bound for Biafra. Written off after forced landing in sand-storm at Port Etienne, Mauritania 17th August 1968. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk



Avro Anson (with curtains) Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

Now here is an aeroplane for somebody to identify! Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

D.H. Heron. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk

English Electric Canberra 3. Photo-bovingdon-airfield.co.uk


More to come..........

























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