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    Pebsham Aerodrome, Hastings

    Can anyone help me with, or direct me to any sources of, information concerning this aerodrome?

    I believe it to have been a municipal aerodrome, constructed by Hastings Borough Council but actually located in St Leonards. Did it operate before WW2? There is a pre-war reference in 'Flight' to it being laid out but, equally, I have found another reference to it being opened by the Mayor of Hastings post-war. If it did operate pre-war, presumably it saw no military service during WW2 as there is no reference to it in 'Action Stations' or 'Sussex Airfields in the Second World War'.

    I am particularly interested in the post WW2 history of the aerodrome. So far all I have been able to find out is that Tiger Moths operated from it post-war (OK, of which post-war airfield can that not be said!) and that the demilitarised Avro Prefect G-AHVO (formerly K5066) was based there by its owner, A.G.Harding, and expired or was scrapped there c.1950. Any help will be much appreciated.

    #2
    I remember reading about Pebsham some time ago, reference to a flying club outing there in the 1940s or early 50s. I think it might have been in one of the Peter Campbell books 'Tail Ends Of The Fifties' or similar.

    Guess I'll have to read them all again!

    Comment


      #3
      I'll have to read my Peter Campbell books again as well! Never heard of Pebsham before, but now I know it was designated X1HG and also called Bexhill/Pebsham. Planning for it started about 1937.

      http://www.hastingschronicle.com/fea...re-key-events/
      http://www.flightmemory.com/ I have been round the world 11.83 times!

      Comment


        #4
        Perhaps the apparent lack of information concerning Pebsham aerodrome is in consequence of it having had a short life span. It seems to have been a long time a coming but then having seen a relatively swift departure!

        The news item, reporting that it was being laid out, appears in a February 1934 issue of 'Flight' but not until July 1948 was the aerodrome opened by the Mayor of Hastings. However by 1952 a Hastings Borough Council file (now in the National Archives), concerning a proposal to construct a race track on the site, refers to it as a "former aerodrome". But curiously there is a letter in a November 1957 issue of 'Flight' which claims that Hastings Borough Council were then proposing to extend and develop the aerodrome and suggested that it would make a suitable base for commercial charter operations when Croydon finally closed.

        It would be very helpful to me if someone can add a little flesh to the meagre bone structure that I have been able to produce.

        Comment


          #5
          Its almost in Junk Collectors back garden, in fact!

          I do have something...somewhere. I'll see what I can find.

          A B-24 made a hair-raising landing (almost) on it and I think I am right in saying that the Large Scale Model Association (or something similar sounding!) hold regular model flying displays almost on the spot.

          I also think that "Denny" Denison landed there and did a display in very recent years - although the area used may not exactly confirm to the old airfield.
          Last edited by Tangmere1940; 6th May 2009, 21:53.
          Editor: 'Britain at War' Magazine

          A 'Key Publishing' product - Britain's Best Selling Military History Monthly

          Comment


            #6
            I understand that the site of Pebsham Aerodrome started life as a rubbish dump and is now football pitches - draw what conclusions you will from that!

            Comment


              #7
              I think much of it is still the big landfill site. The rest a hotch-potch of football pitches and the municipal tip.

              In the 1930's my Dad used to go by train and bike there to watch the aeroplanes just before the war...it was busier than Shoreham, he said! I somewhere have photos of god knows how many moths and the like there and a "Captain Johns demonstrating parachuting". A newspaper cutting talks of a thrilling display of flying by four Hurricanes of 3 Squadron (Kenley) that had "to pull up to avoid the trams and railway lines" nearby. I also know that "Leak" Crusoe of 1 Squadron used to often land there in his Fury and my Uncle took his first flights there - sadly he was later lost over Germany in a Halifax.

              I also have a log book to a Mr Lush who kept his Klemm there. It is now on the German register but the German owners seem singularly disinterested in it.

              When I mention Hastings aerodrome to locals, even those who are air minded, they often look at me in bewilderment!
              Editor: 'Britain at War' Magazine

              A 'Key Publishing' product - Britain's Best Selling Military History Monthly

              Comment


                #8
                Pebsham airfield (aka X1HG Hastings) was, so I understand, situated at 50 51' 00 N - 0 31' 04 E

                In late 1948 a 14 year lease was granted to East Sussex Air service Ltd. The lease stated that the company would build a terminal building accommodating; customs, a restaurant, control room and a flying club as well as a hanger for 6 aircraft and runways for aircraft carrying 8 passengers. Did any of this ever come about?

                I thought that the race track proposal was in 1956/7.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks, Tangmere, but I'm getting more confused as the day goes on. Your post suggests significant pre-war activity whereas everything else I have come across focuses on post-war activity. However it's the post-war activities that are of particular interest to me. Information on these will be much appreciated - although I won't turn my nose up at anything relating to Pebsham, regardless of the period from which it dates!

                  p.s. ShortC, I'll try to come back on your points tomorrow.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    "Peaceful Fields" by John Hamlin gives a short history but no site plan Grid reference TQ772089 approx.
                    Came to fruition in May 1933 on a 381 acre site at Pebsham Farm. Little progress was made with financial support from the Ministry of Health and the project was put in abeyance in 1938. In January 1939 an attempt to inject private funds was made with Mr C.W.A Scott as Manager, but the approach of World War 2 overshadowed any progress.
                    Fly with the eagles,or scratch with the chickens.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Just a thought....

                      Proposals for a race circuit do not neccessarily mean the end of an aerodrome. There are several instances where the two activities seemed to exist side by side - Brooklands, Silverstone, Thruxton, Brands Hatch.....

                      Roger Smith.
                      A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        There certainly seems to have been quite a bit of activity 1938/39.

                        Incredibly, I have Klemm G-AAHW flying there from Wilmington on 12 November 1939 to be parked "For The Duration".

                        It came out of the sheds on 4 August 1947 and flew from Hastings until 1956.
                        Editor: 'Britain at War' Magazine

                        A 'Key Publishing' product - Britain's Best Selling Military History Monthly

                        Comment


                          #13
                          My thanks to all who have contributed information to this thread. It looks as if there are a few more books that I need to buy and a trip to Hastings needs to be added to the agenda on my next trip to the UK.

                          As to the race track proposal, ShortC, the Hastings Corporation file in the National Archives (DR/B/57/22) covers the period June 1952 to February 1955. But maybe the proposal outlived the file!

                          Oh, Roger, I don't know if the race track proposal related to motor racing. If it did, I agree what you say. But it could have been horse racing. Although many horse racing courses have strips to enable jockeys to fly in nowadays, I can't bring to mind a site where a horse racing course and an active airfield co-exist.

                          And on the subject of model aircraft flying at Pebsham, Tangmere, it appears to be used by the 1066 Model Flying Club.

                          I assume that the C.W.A.Scott to whom you refer, T-21, is the gentleman who flew with T. Campbell Black in the D.H.88 Comet to win the 1934 McRobertson Air Race.

                          Finally I have found a single reference, on another forum, to a Bexhill Siddeley Green Aerodrome. However no other source mentions an airfield in Bexhill and, geographically, I wouldn't think that it could be confused with Pebsham. Does anyone have any knowledge about this?
                          Last edited by avion ancien; 7th May 2009, 09:36.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I cannot think where Bexhill Siddeley Green could be, but there IS an area of Bexhill called Sidley. Offhand, I am struggling to think whereabouts an airfield might have been located in or near Sidley unless it was off Watermill Lane in the Buckholt area. That was big enough to get a Ju88 down....which the RAF later flew, btw! Other than that, what is now a biggish Council Estate might have been the location but not sure how flat/big that area is.
                            Editor: 'Britain at War' Magazine

                            A 'Key Publishing' product - Britain's Best Selling Military History Monthly

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Tangmere1940 View Post
                              I cannot think where Bexhill Siddeley Green could be, but there IS an area of Bexhill called Sidley
                              Of course, you are right. Clearly I had too many Hawkers, Armstrongs and Bristols on the brain earlier on! However on re-checking, the post on the other forum refers to Bexhill Siddeley Green Aerodrome, which suggests to me an oral, rather than a written, source for this information and thus, perhaps, gives reason not to place too much reliance upon it. However does anyone from that part of East Sussex know if there is an area of Sidley known as Sidley Green?

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Just to confirm that I dont actually live on a Landfill site, although you may be forgiven for assuming my back garden is an aviation landfill site .

                                Said landfill is supposed to be coming to an end about six years ago, maybe one day !

                                Anyway Sidley Green is from what I understand the top end of Sidley as you exit towards Ninfield so presumably, it was in the area, that was in those days farmland, and which is now housing (Watermill Lane, Buckholt as per Mr T's suggestion) and Kebab shops. There is a Sidley Green now, however unlike the very quaint, small and rural Sidley of 70 years ago, modern day Sidley has a new green constructed opposite the public Bogs, against the wishes of all those who lived there by the benevolent East Sussex County Council who listened to everybody then did it anyway, sorry rant over however the point is, this was the area of the original green I was led to believe.

                                I would be interested to see any pictures of the Pebsham aerodrome, just think what my house would be worth now if they were planning a second runway !!!
                                Last edited by Junk Collector; 7th May 2009, 13:08.
                                Officially now a pensioner

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  London Pebsham....an alternative to the extra runway at Heathrow!

                                  I gather that those who live in the parts of Hoodie-land that Sidley has become now call it West Bexhill.
                                  Editor: 'Britain at War' Magazine

                                  A 'Key Publishing' product - Britain's Best Selling Military History Monthly

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Junk Collector View Post

                                    I would be interested to see any pictures of the Pebsham aerodrome, just think what my house would be worth now if they were planning a second runway !!!
                                    I've not been able to locate any images of Pebsham whilst operational (the period during which I am still trying to ascertain) but the site, as it is nowadays, can be viewed at http://www.content-delivery.co.uk/av.../Hastings.html (I hope that I have the correct link and that it works). Where's your house, Junk Collector? I've tried to find one with a back garden containing the collection of historically important aviation artefacts, but without success!

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Tangmere1940 View Post
                                      London Pebsham....an alternative to the extra runway at Heathrow!
                                      Don't give them ideas!

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Tangmere1940 View Post

                                        I gather that those who live in the parts of Hoodie-land that Sidley has become now call it West Bexhill.
                                        It will be written by the locals, well those that can write anyway, as Weest Beks ill innit !

                                        Somehow the West Bexhill massive, doesnt have the same ring as the Sidley Massive, can't imagine the homies in a West Bexhill Massive kicking peoples heads in down the rec somehow
                                        Officially now a pensioner

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