Talbot Village
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Updated 19 Nov 2014.
Bournemouth Map
Bournemouth showing early airfields."1" = Talbot Woods."2" = aproximate site of Ensbury Park(RFC Winton)."3" = Southbourne Aerodrome.

During the first 3 decades of the twentieth century,Bournemouth was well to the forefront in aviation.Over that period there were three land aerodromes in the area as well as what amounted to a water aerodrome at Bournemouth Pier.

The first of the aerodromes was the temporary aerodrome at Southborne/Hengistbury Head used in 1910 for the Air Meeting.
Thereafter, until the opening of the first permanent aerodrome at Talbot Village, most visiting aircraft landed in the various parks around Bournemouth.
The photo below shows one such event when Gustav Hamel(seen in the picture below with a lady passenger) landed his aircraft in Meyrick Park on 8th April 1914.

The site was approximately 60 acres of smooth well drained turf at a height of about 100ft ASL,allowing a clear run in all directions . Additionally ,a contempory account says " Outside the aerodrome boundaries there are several open spaces, which serve as excellent refuges for stray " pups " should they be unable to return to the 'drome".

The school was equipped initially with three Caudron type Biplanes of 35,45 & 60 Horsepower and , under the instruction of the chief instructor ,Mr S Summerfield,the pupils built another similar machine.By August 1916 there were 4 aircraft and an additional instructor - Mr E Brynildsen.

Bournemouth Flying School in 1916(Flight Photo)

There was one hangar...and ,of note was that the school's official observer was W E McArdle.

There was avid public interest in flying and at weekends numerous spectators gathered to watch the aircraft.
A (weekly) report from Flight (May 25 1916) stated.....

" Bournemouth School. Pupils rolling alone last week: Messrs. Kennedy, Barlow, Brandon, Pritt, Scaramanga, Daniel, GreenTurner, Hammersley, and Minchliff.
Straights alone: Messrs. Morley, J. Wilson, O. Wilson, Morris, A damson, Smith, Gordinne, and Barlow.
Figures of eight and circuits alone : Messrs. Frank Simpson and Morley.
Instructors: Messrs. S. Summerfield and Brynildten. 35-45 and 60 h.p. Caudrons in use.
Certificate was taken by Mr. Frank Simpson, who attained a height of 1,300 feet, vol plane'd down, landing right on the mark. His flying was exceedingly good.
On Wednesday Mr. Summerfield gave various exhibition flights before a fair-sized crowd, his steep dives being a feature.
The usual number of visitors were again present on Saturday, and witnessed some fine steep banks and spirals by the same pilot. On one flight he attained a height of 3,000 feet, indulging in all sorts of evolutions with engine off.
Towards the evening, two passengers were taken up, one of whom was Mr. C. Hudson, of Birmingham, who had the pleasure of enjoying several stunts performed by Mr. Summerfield at an altitude of 2,000 feet; afterwards, he spiralled down to earth."

Another Flight report - from November 1st 1917 issue...

FORTUNATELY a fire which broke out at the Bournemouth Aviation Co.'s premises was discovered in time and was got under control before anything serious happened. By good luck the reserve store of school machines was not touched, and so school work goes forward " as usual." Work is now progressing on a new hangar, and the company are taking in some more ground adjoining the present aerodrome.

The aerodrome was used for just over a year before flying ceased in late 1917 and all flying transferred to the Ensbury Park site.Today the Bournemouth University is located on the site.

However ,site remained unobstructed until at least 1930.On 27 August 1930, Amy Johnson, landed there on her way to open a fete at Meyrick Park in aid of a hospital building programme. She arrived in the Gypsy Moth in which she had earlier become the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia .

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