Click HERE for pictures of the AW27 Ensign at Hamble in 1938.
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GASR (till 1960,EGHM
.Lat/Long 50 51 33 N/01 19 36 W .
Grid ref SU 477077 .
80 feet ASL.
4 miles S/E of Southampton
.RUNWAYS: Grass(all fields).North - 18/36 940x46 Metres(1972):20/02."In addition the entire manoeuvering area may be used"(Pooleys Guide 1972). South and Browns-no
Hamble as shown on map in the 1920s.
Hamble-showing the various airfields etc."A" = Fairey Aviation (1915) approximate location."B"Armstrong Whitworth Factory."C" Hamble
South airfield-(AVRO 1916)."D" No.1(southern)Marine Acceptance Depot (1917 - Grid ref SU 478061)."E" British Marine Aircraft,(1935 -Grid ref SU 469072))-Later Folland/Hawker Siddely/British
Aerospace."F" Hamble North Airfield(1926)."G" approximate location of "Browns" aerodrome.
HAMBLE Chronological History.
1912:First use of Hamble for aviation was when a "Waterplane"(A Henry Farman Hydro-Biplane) to be used in a promotional tour by the Frank Hucks Waterplane Co,sponsored by the Daily Mail ,was assembled and housed in a shed.The shed was
built for that purpose at Hamble Point by Hamble River, Luke, and Co., Ltd.The aircraft was successfully tested early July 1912.On the 7th of July some passenger flights were made from Southsea Beach.
1912 :Luke and Co,in partnership with Hamble River Engineering began building the HL-1 seaplane at Hamble Point.The aircraft,exhibited at Olympia in
1914 ,was never completed.(picture below)
1913: The Admiralty established "Browns" aerodrome at Hamble Point.(Exact location uncertain)
1914 :the Admiralty requisitioned Luke and Co's premises at Hamble Point.
1915:Luke and Co's premises passed to Fairey Aviation.Faireys assembled large numbers of seaplanes here over the next 3 decades.The picture immediately below shows the Fairey Works at Hamble as seen from Warsash ( across the Hamble River).After WW2 the work changed to
Fairey Campania N2363
Fairey IIID "Lusitania" ,used by the Portuguese Navy for a Trans-Atlantic flight from Cape Verde to the San Pedro Rocks (off the
Brazilian coast)April 1922.
1916 A.V.Roe purchased land for Hamble (South) Airfield and also built a factory at the southeastern end of the site(see photo below - from Britain From Above),.Here Avro developed many different types
over the next 15 years.
Avro Manchester F3492 at Hamble
1917 The Admiralty built No.1(southern)Marine Acceptance Depot ,intended to deal with seaplanes,but the war finished before the facility was used.It
was demolished in 1919 and the site later used by an oil company.
1924:Avro aquired land and opened the new north airfield at Hamble.This field became the main site for flying as aircraft size increased and the south
airfield was eventually closed.
1925:Juan de la Cierva(above) arrived to begin a 5 year association with Avro,developing his autogiros.1928 Simmonds Aircraft started assembling Simmonds Spartan aircraft in a rented hangar.The operation was moved to Somerton on the Isle of Wight in the early 30s after the company suffered from financial difficulties.
1929:Avro sold their aviation interests at Hamble to J D Siddely of Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft.
1931:Air Service Training(AST) was formed at Hamble by J D Siddely to provide aviation training for both civil and military pilots.The picture below shows the airfield in 1934 with the AST fleet parked in front of the AST Hangar.(photo via J.Booth)
1934 Armstrong Whitworth took over the Avro works at Hamble South and started building the AW27 Ensign airliner(below).
G-ADSR - AW.27 Ensign(c/n AW1156).the largest aircraft built at Hamble .
Click here or on the images above to see photos of the AW Ensign prototype G-ADSR prior to and during it's first flight on 24th Jan 1938..
1936:British Marine Aircraft opened a factory (complete with slipway) at the northern end of Hamble South .The intention was licence production of the
Sikorsky S42A flying boat.This was not proceeded with and on 24/12/37 the company was renamed Folland Aircraft.Follands later in the 50/60s built the Folland Gnat here(Gnat T1 XM693 is preserved on a pole at the BAe gate here).Shown immediately below is the Folland Midge(G-39-1) - from which the Gnat(G-39-2) was developed.
The company later became part
of Hawker Siddely ,and ultimately part of British Aerospace.Although by the latter part of the last century there was no longer an airfield at Hamble ,BAe continued to use the premises there for the
production of major assemblies for Harriers.
1937: AST stared using the old Avro slipway for Flying Boat operations.
1939-1945:The main activity was the repair and overhaul of Spitfires by AST(total of 2575 over the period).In addition other aircraft up to B-17 size
1946:AST restarted flight training operations offering courses to foreign as well as British students.This continued until February 1984 ,when the "College of Air Training"(renamed in 1960),ceased trading./center>1947 :Southampton University Air Squadron arrived,using Chipmunks and later ,Bulldogs.They left in 1979.AST started providing maintenance facilities for Aquila Airways Hythe and Solent flying boats.This continued until the demise of Aquila in 1958. 1958:No;2 AEF arrived and stayed until 1979.1985:after the closure of the College of Air Training,the only user of note left at Hamble was Antique Aircraft,a vintage aircraft restoration company run by Ron Souch.In late 1985 this company moved out and the airfield was effectively closed in December of that year.There is evidence of very occasional light aircraft movements over the following few months and the final movement was a Piper Cub on April 6 1986.Nowadays Hamble Airfield(all three of them) have joined the ever growing list of those that are no more.~
Two Tiger Moths at Hamble in the late 40s.
The airfield still remains mostly untouched in the recent picture above although housing is beginning to encroach upon it.".
No 3 ERFTS April 1933/Sept 1939,misc aircraft.
No.3 EFTS,renamed from above,departed 7-40
No.1 SSWT 9-39 to 7-40,Short Scion
1 BANS .1-51/6-53(disbanded.).Anson.
14 RFS.8-48/8-53(Disbanded).Tiger Moth,Harvard,Oxford,Anson,Chipmunk
2AEF 6-58/6-78(moved to Hurn) Chipmunk
Southampton UAS.3-47/6-78(moved to Hurn)Tiger Moth,Chipmunk,Oxford ,Bulldog.
~RN Units.700 SQ(det)11-41/6-42.Used aircraft from Lee on Solent including Proctor ,Shark,Anson1 NASS .1-51/6-53.Anson
A detailed history of Hamble Airfield(s),written by someone who worked there may be found HERE.
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