Southend Timeline

Bringing Your Memories Back to Life

The Airport Airshows.

The first airshow held at the airport happened at the official opening of Southend Airport on Wednesday 18th September 1935 with a number of aircraft making flying demonstrations throughout the day including De Havilland DH85 Leopard Moth & the new Shorts S16 Scion, however with the dark clouds of war gathering and much of Southend becoming off limits and civilian flying outlawed another type of much more deadly airshow was soon to begin and the short life of Southend's civilian airport would soon revert to a war footing.

Airshows did not return to Southend Airport until Saturday 20th June 1953 when the National Air Race's came to Southend, with thousands turning up to watch the event it was at the time the biggest airshow the town had ever held. The Kings Cup was 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. However the event was not without incident Supermarine Spitfire G-AISU/AB910 was damaged in a heavy landing. Worse was to follow with the day ending on a tragic note when Percival Proctor G-AKWV was involved in an mid-air collision with Proctor G-AIKJ whilst taking part in the Kings Cup Air Race, the tail plane and fin broke off and the aircraft impacted with the ground and caught fire the pilot was killed on impact the second aircraft sustained damage to its propeller and leading edge this has been the only death at any airshow held at Southend.

The next airshow held in Southend was on Sunday 8th March 1966 to celebrate the Centenary of the Royal Aeronautical Society (formed 12th January 1866). To mark the occasion the Southend branch of the R.A.e.S planed an exhibition it was to be the biggest exhibition & air-display ever seen in the area, sadly the weather prevented much of the flying display from taking place. Total of 10,000 people came to the event, the hangers of ATEL were used for the exhibition, once the weather cleared joy-flights over the town and seafront were arranged, during the day an R.A.F Vulcan made a touch and go and an R.A.F Phantom made a low level fly past.

The airport held an open-day on Sunday 24th March 1968 the event was to commemorate two anniversary's, one being the golden jubilee of the R.A.F and the other being the 21st anniversary of the post war airport. The event was a tremendous success it was opened at 2:00pm by a Wittering based 100sqn R.A.F Victor bomber making a touch and go. Other aircraft included the Spitfires & Hurricanes of the BBMF, Air Sea Rescue demonstration, Lightning, Shackleton, Dominie (HS125), R.A.F Falcons, The unique Reid & Sigrist Desford G-AGOS and a number of other historic aircraft flew in to the airport and gave displays throughout the day the event drew a crowed of over 50,000. The organisers of the proposed museum also put on display their aircraft, but as time went on the project was beginning to lose momentum until it collapsed completely.

The next airshow was on Sunday 26th April 1970 this was held in aid of RAF Benevolent Fund and selected local charities benefited from the event, this was the last full blown airshow held at the airport.

The Airshows



The Airport's 1935 Opening Day Airshow.



Air race & Air Display. 



National Air Race's.



Royal Aeronautical Society Centenary Display.



21st Anniversary Open Day & Display.



Southend Airshow 1970.



Southend Historic Aircraft Museum Display.


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