Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539
Blackbushe Airport, Hampshire

I moved to Farnborough from London in September 1949 two years after my father began work at the National Gas Turbine Establishment at Pyestock and I was very soon taken to see the flying display. One of my earliest memories of flying at Farnborough was of the Bristol Brabazon dropping rapidly as it flew in a southerly direction over Cove Green, otherwise known as The Rec and scattered me and my friends in all directions as it frightened the life out of us. We definitely thought it was going to crash. I also remember the enormous Saunders Roe Princess flying boat traversing the same route but looking rather more secure. Memory says I saw both over The Rec the same year and Alan Lathan says that if that is the case it could only have been 1952.

Grammar School boys were generally quite keen on cycling, well apart from homework there wasn’t much else to do. Many would congregate on The Rec and from there ride around aimlessly hoping that something interesting would happen. Unless we chose to ride six-abreast around the Cove one-way system and were spotted by a copper, nothing ever did. Maybe Michael Day shooting at the spokes of our wheels when we passed his house in Minley Road should have been seen as excitement but he was a menace. Just once I lost my temper with him and took part in my one and only F.G.S. fight. I laid into him in a blind rage and against the odds got the better of him to the amazement of the ring of onlookers who always surrounded such breaks in the monotony of life. He never shot his air-gun at me again.

One reason to be cycling along Minley Road was that it led to one of the few places providing free entertainment, the airport alongside the A30 road. Several ex-F.G.S. lads have mentioned this mainstay in their lives and spoken fondly of their time spent at Blackbushe. Alan Lathan says he often lurked in what passed for a Departure Lounge. I remember it myself but he went one further than most, he saw Douglas Bader in there and cadged free flights and looks around the control tower. Lucky beggar!

All I did along with David Brimelow, Alan Parkes and Lin Pratt and others was point my camera at passing aircraft. We took a big telescope up there once, a big brass thing we in ignorance thought had been nicked by someone’s uncle as a memento from some warship or other. We mounted it on its stand and pointed it at a plane the other side of the field. All we saw was black, the damn thing didn’t appear to work. However we eventually discovered it was black because by chance the telescope was pointed at the wall of one of the aircraft tyres. It wasn’t a naval telescope, it was an astronomical one with some crazy degree of magnification.

Alan Lathan is one of a small number who have asked to see my old Blackbushe photos. Unfortunately they are rather rubbishy, including as they do the very first film I ever took and processed in the half light of my parent’s dining room in Cove using totally inadequate equipment. They are displayed below, warts and all, for Alan’s amusement; he is still involved with aircraft. With him looking over my shoulder I am not going to name the aircraft, even though in most cases I think I could. I can put approximate dates on them because each of my processed films was marked with the date of development and the display below is in chronological order. To me it is interesting to see it confirmed that I carried on cycling to Blackbushe after moving to Church Crookham in November 1958. I remember that the hill on that route just before Blackbushe was much steeper than the one in Minley Road.

Unlike the rest of this site, the structure of which was decided when broadband connections were almost unknown, clicking on the image will reveal the larger versions in blocks of 24 pictures. i.e. clicking on any of the first 24 images will display all 24 in the larger format instead of just the one which was more appropriate to the days of dial-up internet. As grammar school boys you don’t need me to tell you what happens if you click on image 25. To return to this page click on any of the larger pictures.

Alan Lathan has provided the main descriptions which appear under the larger images. The dates on this page are as marked on the developed film which is generally the month of development of that film and only loosely related to the date of the photograph. Some photographs were not taken at Blackbushe and are marked accordingly.

Malcolm Knight : February 2011

Lockheed NeptuneDe Havilland DoveLockheed Neptune
Lockheed P2V-7
Between February and May 1958
De Havilland Devon
Between February and May 1958
Lockheed P2V-7
Between February and May 1958
Vickers VikingHandley Page HermesVickers Viking
Vickers Viking : Independent Air Transport
Between February and May 1958
Handley Page Hermes : Airwork
Between February and May 1958
Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
Between February and May 1958
Lin PrattDouglas DC-3Douglas DC-3
Lin Pratt breaking the rules
Between February and May 1958
DC-3 : Ariana
May 1958
DC-3 : Ariana
May 1958
Vickers VikingArgonautAvro York
Vickers Viking : Hunting-Clan
May 1958
Handley Page Hermes : Britavia
May 1958
Avro York : Dan-Air
May 1958
Douglas C54Douglas R5D-2ZDouglas R4D-8
Douglas C-54 USAF Rescue
August 1958
Douglas R5D-2Z
August 1958
Douglas R4D-8
August 1958
Beech 51054 and FT109 R4D-8Vickers VikingVickers Viking
Beech 51054 and FT109 R4D-8
August 1958
Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
August 1958
Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
August 1958
Handley Page Hermes7C 39112Vickers Viking
Handley Page Hermes : Airwork
August 1958
R5D-2 US Navy (Colombus)
August 1958
Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
August 1958
AusterConvair CT-29AConvair CT-29A
Auster J/1N Alpha
August 1958
Convair CT-29A
August 1958
Convair CT-29A
August 1958
Vickers VarsityDouglas DC-3Vickers Viking
Vickers Varsity
August 1958
Douglas DC-3 : Derby Airways
August 1958
Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
August 1958
Vickers VikingVickers VikingGloucester Meteor
Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
August 1958
Lord Hood, Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
August 1958
Gloster Meteor
August 1958
Vickers VikingBristol FreighterVickers Viking
Vickers Viking : Independent Airways
August 1958
Bristol Freighter : Dan Air
August 1958
Vickers Viking : Airwork
August 1958
Vickers VikingHandley Pages HermesVickers Viscount
Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
August 1958
Handley Page Hermes : Airwork
August 1958
Vickers Viscount : Airwork
September 1958
SNB-5 US NavyVickers ViscountDouglas DC-6
Beech SNB-5 US Navy
September 1958
G-AODG (or H) Vickers Viscount 736 : Airwork
September 1958
DC-6 : Eagle Airways
November 1958
De Havilland MosquitoVickers ViscountDouglas R5D-2
TV958 De Havilland Mosquito
November 1958
Vickers Viking : Eagle Airways
January 1959
Douglas R5D-2 US Navy
January 1959
AusterAusterAuster
G-AOHZ Auster
January 1959
G-AOHZ Auster
January 1959
G-AOHZ Auster
January 1959
Handley Page HermesPercival PrinceVickers Viscount
Handley Page Hermes : Britavia
January 1959
Percival Prince, Sperry Gyroscope
January 1959
BEA Viscount 802
January 1959
Douglas DC-6Vickers ViscountVickers Viscount
Douglas DC-6 : Eagle Airways
January 1959
Vickers Viscount : Hunting-Clan
January 1959
Vickers Viscount : Hunting-Clan
January 1959
Douglas DC-4Handley Page HermesBOAC Argonaut
Douglas DC-4 : Saudi Arabian Airways
March or April 1959
Handley Page Hermes : Airwork
March or April 1959
Argonaut : BOAC
March or April 1959
Percival ProctorVickers ViscountHandley Page Hermes
Percival Proctor
March or April 1959
Vickers Viscount : North East Airlines
March or April 1959
Handley Page Hermes : Airwork
March or April 1959
De Havilland HeronDouglas DC-6Vickers Viking
G-APKW de Havilland Heron
March or April 1959
DC-6 : Eagle Airways
March or April 1959
Vickers Viking - Pegasus
March or April 1959
Curtiss C-46 CommandoCurtiss C-46 CommandoDouglas R5D-3
Curtiss C-46 Commando
March or April 1959
Curtiss C-46 Commando
March or April 1959
Douglas R5D-3 US Navy
March or April 1959
Miles GeminiMiles GeminiEnglish Electric Canberra
Miles Gemini
March or April 1959
Miles Gemini
May 1959
English Electric Canberra
August 1958 : Farnborough
De Havilland RapideAvro VulcanHawker Hunter
D H Rapide G-AHXW still flying. See Youtube video.
August 1958 : Probably Farnborough
 Avro Vulcan
August 1958
 : Farnborough
Hawker Hunter
August 1958
 : Probably Farnborough
HeathrowHeathrowHeathrow
General view including Viscount (left)
June 1959 : Heathrow
Douglas DC-7: Swissair
June 1959 : Heathrow
Douglas DC-4 : Air France
June 1959 : Heathrow


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