Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life

1946-1960 Civilian Flying Takes Off

Friday 1st November 1946: Squadron Leader Bernard Collis appointed first airport manager with Alan Fincher of the towns Engineers Department becoming his assistant.

Tuesday 17th December 1946: Sammy Norman becomes the first pilot to land at the still unlicenecd airfield in a Percival Proctor flying from Le Touquet.

Tuesday 31st December 1946: The Southend Corporation was granted a licence to operate the airfield the early days of the airport saw a great deal of gliding carried out for the ATC Cadets.

1947: Squadron Leader Jack Jones established East Anglian Flying Services.
EAFS had just De Havilland Puss Moth G-ABKZ which operated a regular service between Southend and Rochester.

1947: The Municipal Flying School starts up.

1947: Air Charter founded by Freddie Laker.

February 1947: Southend Municipal Flying School opened. This was the first flying school opened by a Municipal Council.

Sunday 5th January 1947: East Anglian Flying Services move on the airport.
Owned by Squadron Leader “Jack” Jones, the new company had a single Airspeed Courier and used it for pleasure flights & Ad Hoc work and war surplus De Havilland Dragon Rapide’s.

Saturday 9th August 1947: Airshow to Celebrate the Opening of Southend Airport

1948: East Anglian Flying Services add a new Miles Aerovan & four ex-RAF Dragon Rapide’s (Dominie) to the fleet.

1948: Customs facilities were set up and flights to the Channel Islands and Ostend started by East Aglian Flying Services, who had vastly increased the fleet by five DH Dragon Rapide’s and a single Miles Aerovan (G-AJKI)

1948: Illuminated flying billboards.
Local electronics company E K Cole (EKCO) modified a number of ex R.A.F Rapides to fly as illuminated billboards to advertise EKCOVISION unfortunately upset most local television sets as the aircraft passed over head so the venture was scrapped only four Rapides ever flew in this set up these were G-AKRN, G-AKRO, G-AKOV & G-AKJZ.

July 1948:  East Anglian Flying Services launch Southend-Rochester service.
Thursday 30th September 1948: Air Training Corps, Air Ministry Southend Gliding School closed due to increased traffic.

1949: Airspeed AS-5 Courier G-ACVF ( X9437) Scrapped

January 1949: Bovingdon based Aviation Traders (Engineering) Ltd (ATEL) set up a base at Southend
The re-location of Aviation Traders was to help maintain the ex R.A.F Halifax's and the Haltons of Bond Air Services that were used for the Berlin Air Lift one of the aircraft ex R.A.F machine RT937 G-ALOS flew 161 sorties during the operation.

Monday 16th May 1949: First night time landing, a Crewsair Douglas DC3 landed after portable flares were set up along the runway.

1950: Bond Air Services operate Handley Page HP.71 Halifax's carrying textiles and fruit to Southend from Lille.

1950: Handley Page HP.71 Halifax A.IX G-ALYJ RT776 Scrapped.   
 The aircraft had been flown into Southend for conversion into a civilian Halton the work was never carried out.
1950: Handley Page HP.71 Halifax A.IX  G-ALYK RT785 Scrapped.
The aircraft had been flown into Southend for conversion into a civilian Halton the work was never carried out.
1950: Handley Page HP.71 Halifax A.IX  G-ALYL RT837 Scrapped.
The aircraft had been flown into Southend for conversion into a civilian Halton the work was never carried out.
1950: Handley Page HP.71 Halifax A.IX G-ALYM RT772 Scrapped.
The aircraft had been flown into Southend for conversion into a civilian Halton the work was never carried out.

1950: Handley Page HP.71 Halifax A.IX G-ALYN RT762 Scrapped.
The aircraft had been flown into Southend for conversion into a civilian Halton the work was never carried out.

May 1950: Bristol 175 Britannia 12905 G-ANBD Scrapped.

July 1950: East Anglian Flying Services launch Southend-Jersey service.

1951: New terminal building constructed.

1951: ATEL started making the wing centre sections for the Bristol 170 Freighter.

1951:  B.K.S was formed
BKS flew a wide range of aircraft including Avro Anson's, Douglas DC3's, Vickers Viking's, Airspeed Ambassadors and later the Bristol Britannia. The airline later became Northeast Airlines, which later became part of B-E-A which is now British Airways.

May 1951: Handley Page HP.71 Halifax A.IX  G-ALYI  Scrapped.
The aircraft had been flown into Southend for conversion into a civilian Halton the work was never carried out.

Monday 10th September 1951: Southend suffered its worst peacetime air tragedy.
When Meteor F8 VZ510 of 84sqn broke-up in mid-air and scattered wreckage over a wide area. Parts of the aircraft were found in Ramuz Drive, Beedell Avenue, Brightwell Avenue & Hainault Avenue one of the aircraft's engines was picked up near Southend Pier. The body of the pilot F/O Lionel Milliken was found still strapped into his smashed cockpit 20 minutes after the crash, whilst Mr S Smith, Mrs A M Gilbert. A Mrs F Sydenham later died from injuries sustained, whilst also injured was a Mr H Duck. The aircraft had previously been grounded for a while for repairs to earlier stress damage that it had incurred.

1953: Local flying hero L.C "Laddie" Marmol set up Marmol Aviation.

1953: BKS Aero Charter launches a Southend-Calvi (France) service

June 1953: Dan Air founded at Southend.
Dan-Air Services was founded by shipping agency Davis & Newman Ltd with a single war surplus Douglas DC3 Dakota their stay at Southend was relatively short re-locating to Blackbushe in 1955. The airline grew an became one of the largest in the United Kingdom, during the 1980’s when tour operators began to launch their own airlines Dan Air saw a decline in profitability.  In 1991 the airline made a loss of £35million, with the airline in terminal decline British Airways bought the allying airline for the token sum of £1 at the end of 1992 and the iconic brand faded into history.

Saturday 20th June 1953: National Air Race
Southend was then selected to host the 1953 National Air Race it was held on June 20th with thousands turning up to watch the event it was eventually won by L.A "Clem" Pike in his D.H Chipmunk G-AKDN and the Norton Griffiths trophy was awarded to W.P Bowles who flew Miles Messenger 2a G-AJYZ.

Wednesday 2nd September 1953: Avro 688 Tudor 4 G-AGRF delivered by road to Aviation Traders.

1954: Another good year for the airport with Air Charter (an associate company of ATEL) being formed it operated the flights of Channel Air Bridge which went between Southend and Calais and later on to Ostend and Rotterdam. The service was mainly provided by Bristol Freighter MK 31's a small number of MK 32's were also used.

1954: BKS Aerocharter rename to BKS Air Transport Ltd.

1954: Avro 688 Tudor 4 G-AHNK 'Star Lion' Fuselage used for cargo door mock-up for the Super Trader 4B.

February 1954: Avro 688 Tudor 4 G-AGRF scrapped.

1955: A busy one for the airport East Anglian started a service to Rotterdam and during Easter a regular service was launched to Calais, followed by Ostend, Rotterdam, Guernsey and Paris

February 1955: Air Charter begins using the Douglas DC4 for troop carrying flights.

Thursday 14th April 1955: First Air Charter Bristol B170 Freighter car ferry flights to Calais.

Sunday 15th May 1955: BKS launch a service from Southend to Leeds and on to Belfast. It was a three flights a week service with the 36-seat Dakotas.

October 1955: Channel Air Bridge Bristol Southend - Ostend route opened.

Saturday 1st October 1955: Sabena opened Southend - Zestienhoven (Netherlands) with Bristol B170 Freighters.

Monday 17th October 1955: Air Charter open their Southend-Ostend service.

Sunday 6th November 1955: De Havilland Tiger Moth G-AMSY crashed.

1955/56: The two runways were put down the main runway 06/24 and the cross runway 15/33.
Only the main runway 06/24 is now used with the central part of 15/33 being used as the central taxiway and the end part as a park for airliners waiting maintenance or in store.

1956: Freddie Laker's Aviation Traders had by this time ventured in to aircraft design and bought 252 Percival Prentice trainers from the R.A.F.

Monday 25th June 1956: The first of the civilian Percival Prentice fly’s as G-AOKT (VS382).

August 1956: Avro 688 Tudor 1 G-AGRJ Air Charter “Star Celia” Scrapped.

Monday 1st October 1956:  East Anglian Flying Services launch twice daily service to Rotterdam Airport.

1957: Miles HPR.145 M65 Gemini G-AMEJ Scrapped.
This aircraft had a relatively short life gaining its Certificate of Airworthiness Certificate of Airworthiness  21st December 1950 it was operated by Balfour Marine Engineering Company Limited at Stapleford, the aircraft was loaned to Miles Car Hire in Southend, the Certificate of Airworthiness expired in June 1955 whilst the aircraft was still at Southend.

1957: East Anglian Flying Services add two Bristol B170 Freighters to fleet.

Friday 12th July 1957: Lockheed L1049G Constellation N7109C of TWA made an emergency landing with a starboard engine on fire, she had been on route to Stansted carrying US Army servicemen, TWA sent its flying repair station Fairchild C-82 Packet N9701F (ET-T-12) to get the aircraft back in the air.

November 1957: Tradair set up.
 Tradair flew the Vickers Viking its fleet consisted of G-APOO, G-APOP, G-APOR (POP & POR were ex-Kings Flight machines and were use for the Royal Flight to South Africa). The same year East Anglian was also expanding its fleet they acquired Bristol Freighters G-AICT & G-AIFO four Vikings and later on a number of DC3's. During the year a number of the Southend based airlines amalgamated these were Airwork, Transair and Hunting Clan Airways these four airlines became British United Airways

1958: African Air Safari’s launch service to Johannesburg with a Vickers Viking.

1958: Miles M.38 2A Messenger G-AKKI crash.

1958: East Anglian Flying Services add two Vickers Vikings to the fleet.
These are put on to the high density routes to the Continent and Channel Islands whilst the Doves are used on the feeder services to Southend.

Wednesday 5th March 1958: Percival Prentice G-AONS (VS687) departed on the long flight to Melbourne Australia
The aircraft reached its destination on Tuesday 29th April 1958. The aircraft had first flown on Sunday 2nd March 1958 upon arrival it was re-resisted as VH-BAO however its flying carrier in Australia was short lived as the aircraft was written off at Cobar, New South Wales on Sunday 24th March 1960.

Christmas Eve Wednesday 24th December 1958: A busy Christmas.
A heavy dense fog engulfs England closing down every airport except for Southend, the airport handles 56 arrivals, until lack of space closes the airport, only then does the fog roll in.  The Douglas DC3’s are parked on the grass that was to become the GA park, the other aircraft are parked on every available bit of apron, taxiway and even runway 33/15, aircraft included: Aer Lingus Vickers Viscounts EI-AFV, EI-AFY, EI-AJK, Air France Vickers Viscounts F-BGNN, F-BGNO. Consolidated Constellation F-BAZM, British European Airways Douglas DC-3 Dakota’s G-AGJZ, G-AGZD, G-AJIA, G-ALTT, G-ALXK, G-ALXL, G-AMDB,G-AMDZ, G-AMGD, G-AMJX, G-AMNW. Vickers Viscounts G-AMOE, G-AMOG, G-AMOH, G-AMOK, G-ANHB, G-AOHJ, G-AOHS, G-AOJD, G-AORD, G-AOYH, G-AOYJ, G-AOYO, G-AOYP, G-AOYR, G-AOYS, G-AOYT, G-APEY, G-APKF, Eagle Airways Vickers Viking G-AMNX, Vickers Viscount G-APDX, Douglas DC-6A G-APON, Hunting Clan Douglas DC-6A G-APNO, Jersey Airlines De Havilland Heron G-ANLN, KLM Douglas DC-3 Dakota PH-DAA, Vickers Viscount PH-VIB, Consolidated Constellation PH-LDN, Lufthansa Convair CV.440s D-ACEX, D-ACIB, Morton Air Services De Havilland Dove G-ANAN, De Havilland Heron G-AOXL, Sabena  Convair Cv.440 OO-SCJ, Silver City Douglas DC-3 Dakota G-ANAE, Transair Douglas DC-3 Dakota G-AMYJ.

January 1959: Air Charter becomes a section of Airwork Ltd.

1959: Air Charter launch "No Passport" day trips to France in DC4 G-ANYB.

Monday 23rd February 1959: Curtis C46 Commando N4086A Air Service Training visited the airport.


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