1909 - 1914 Pre Airport1909:Leigh-on-SeaV.F.ForbesandA.J.Arnoldbuilttheirunconventionalsingleseattractormonoplane.Successfulflightswere madeofascaleddownmodel.Therealaircraftwasmadefrombambootheaircraftwasfittedwithawatercooledcarengineitwas reported that the aircraft made a few hops but never actually flew.1909:TheLondonAeroplaneCorporationandTheSouthendCorporationenteredtalksintotheopeningofanaircraft manufacturingfacilityinthetown,theprojectwouldhaveseenanumberoflargehangersandarunwaybeingbuiltcostsofthe project began to climb and in the end became so high that it was deemed to be too expensive and was scrapped.Thursday11thNovember1909:RobertMacfieanAmericanaviatorofScottishparentsre-locatedhistractormonoplanefromthe airfield at South Fambridge to Maplin sands.Sunday28thNovember1909:TheWarOfficeorderedRobertMacfieofftheMaplinSands,here-locatedhisaircrafttotheKursaal,it was to move on again to Paris.June1910:TheRoyalAeroClubapproachedSouthendCorporationseekingsponsorshipof£8000tohosttheNationalAviation Week the Corporation decided that it could not afford to cover the costs of the event.Saturday9thJuly1910:ThefirsttrueaeroplaneflightinSouthend.LocalaviatorGeorgeBarnesmadethefirsteverrecordedflight fromtheborough.Theflightwasnotfromthesitethathastodaybecomethetown'sairport,butRootsHallHomeofSouthend UnitedfootballClub.Morethan2000peoplesomeofwhomgatheredatthetopofStMary'schurchwatchedtheflight,whichwas madeinaBleriot.Theeventwashamperedbystrongwindswhichaffectedthelightaircraftanumberofattemptsweremadebut duethewindsitwasdecidednottotrytoflytheaircraft.Whenthewindsdropintheeveningtheaircraftwasrolledintoposition andfiredupitsengineitgot50yardsoffthegroundandflewintothenextfieldbeforecomingbackdown.Theeventwasopento spectatorswhohadtopayanentryfeetogetintotheFootballclubsground,butbecauseofthelowheightofthefencemanypeople simplyjumpedoverthefence.Sadly,afewweekslaterBarneswasseriouslyinjuredwhenattemptinganotherflightthistimeflying at Folkestone.October1910:MrStantonanAmericanmemberoftheAerialLeaguewastouringtheUKwhenhecametoSouthendandsetabout setting up the National Flying Club once again it failed due to lack of funds.August 1912: Short S.14 Tractor seaplane visited Southend on coastal survey.Friday23rdAugust1912:ClaudeGraham-whiteandseveralotherpilotsputonaflyingdemonstrationintheirnewseaplanes.White whowasflyinghisHenriFarmanHydro-planelandedjustWestofthePierhewasjoinedbytwootheraviatorswhohadflownfrom MargateinKent,theyarrivedinBleroitseaplanes.ThesamemonthsawanumberofotherSeaplanesvisitthetownincludingaShort S.14 Tractor on a Coastal Survey.1914: Royal Flying Corps surveyed the Borough of Southend and list it as a Potential Landing Ground.
1915 - 1934: The First World WarMonday 31st May 1915: The first recorded operational sortie out of the airfield.SubLieutenantA.W.RobertsonoftheRoyalNavalAirStationhadbeentaskedtoflyamissiontoattacktheGermanZeppelinLZ38. WhowasflyingaBleriotmonoplanewasunfortunatelyforcedtomakeanemergencylandingonnearbyLeighmarshesdueto engine failure. The airship LZ38 was destroyed in an Air Raid on 7th June 1915 in side its hanger in Evere Brussels.May1915:Southend'sfirstrealair-raidcamewhenintheearlyhoursonemorningaZeppelinflewoverthetowndroppinganumber ofbombs.Attachedtoonewasanotethatread,"YouEnglishwehavecomeandwillcomeagainsoon,KillorCure."TheZeppelins did return 11 days later killing two people in Leigh.1916: 37 Squadron moved on to the airfield and begin night training with their Be2 aircraft.March1916:AfternumerousraidsonthetownzeppelinL15wasboughtdownduringthenight,theairshipcamedownintothe estuary just east of the pier.Friday31stMarch1916–Saturday1stApril1916:NightoperationsincludeBE2c1164flownbySubLieutenantG.L.F.Stevens returns at 02:41 after uneventful night sortie, Be2 1189 flown by Sub Lieutenant E. P. Hicks takes over.Sunday 2nd April – Monday 3rd April 1916: Night operations include Be2c 1164 night sortie from 11:55pm, Be2 2526 and Be2 8610.Wednesday 26th April 1916: The last Royal Navy Air Station flight, as control of the airfield is handed over to the Royal Flying Corps.Wednesday 31st May 1916: Aircraft from the airfield scramble to intercept a Zeppelin but fail to find the intruder.June 1916: The airfield building programme began.Sunday 4th June 1916: RFC Rochford Home Defence Night Landing Ground.Friday15thSeptember1916:RFCRochfordbecameFlightStation(Night)1stClassCategory,aflightofNo37HomeDefence Squadron of the 50th Wing South East Division with Be2s and BE12s arrive.Tuesday 28th November 1916: Day time operation include No37 squadron Be2 on sortie between 1:45pm—3:25pm.January 1917: 11 Reserve Night Training Squadron arrived.February1917:11reserveNightTrainingSquadronchangednameto98DeptSquadronandequipwithAvro504sandSopwith camels.Thursday 1st March 1917: No37 squadron make two sorties during the day.Friday 16th March 1917: One sortie carried out by 37Squadron.Friday16th—Saturday17thMarch1917:Nightsortiesby37Squadronn‘B’flightBe26820CaptK.N.Pearson10:41pm—00:01am, Be2 5877 Lieutenant Carpenter 00:25am—01:40am, Be2 Lieutenant Ransome 01:10am—02:25am.June 1917: No99 Dept Squadron arrived.Friday 1st June 1917: 198 Squadron formed as an Elementary Night Flying Unit with Avro 504’s.Sunday 24th June 1917: 61 Squadron formed as Home Defence Unit with Sopwith Pups.July 1917: No99 Dept Squadron departed.Thursday 2nd August 1917: 61 Squadron formed at RAF Rochford with Sopwith Pups A653, A6243, B735, B1771, B1801 (6), B2159.Sunday12thAugust1917:61SquadroninterceptedGermanGothabomberovertheSouthendarea.WhentheGermanairraids switchtonightraidsinJanuary1918thesquadronchangeaircrafttotheSE5a'scomprisingof:B658,B679,C5338,C8711,C9486, D239, D3459 they later change to the Sopwith Camels.Sunday12thAugust1917:RAFRochfordBombedtheresidentfightersintercept10Gotha’s40milesouttoseabutfailtoshootany down.Monday 20th August 1917: The Slaughter of Innocence.Thousandsofday-trippersandholiday-makerswerereturninghomeafterenjoyingahotlazydayoutbythesea,theresidentsofthe townwereoutdoingtheirshoppingandalsoenjoyingtheweatherwhen.20Germanaircraftstartedcirclingthetown,andforthe next15minutesallhellwasletloose.Theaircraftstarteddroppingaerialtorpedoesonthecrowdsmakingtheirwayhome;the torpedoesexplodingattheirfeetastheyranforcover.Bythetimethebombshadstoppedrainingdown32peoplelaydeadmanyof themchildrenafurther43wereveryseriouslywounded.Theattackthatwasconcentratedmainlyonthecentre&easternareasof thetownwasthemostbrutalofthewarbutbynomeanstheonlyattack.SouthendwasontheflightpathtoLondon,theGothas didn'tcarryanynavigationaidssothepilotshadtouseacoupleofcompassestofindtheThamesthenfollowittoLondon.Ifthe Ack-AckgunsprotectingLondonforcedtheraiderstoturnbacktheywouldquiteoftendropthemonsoutheastEssexalotofthe time on Southend.September 1917: 190 Dept Squadron formed on site.October 1917: 198 Dept Squadron changed to 190 Night Training Squadron.December 1917: 198 Night Training Squadron.Thursday6thDecember1917:Gothacrashlanding.AgroupofGermanGothaBiplaneswerespottedovertheestuary.TheAck-Ack gunsatCanveyhitoneoftheaircraft,theaircraftpulledawayandheadedfortheairfield.TheGothacrash-landedonRochfordgolf coursenexttotheairfield;thecrewsurvivedthecrashandwasquicklytakenprisoner.ItwaswhilsttheRAFcrewswhowerebased atRochfordwereexaminingthedamagedaircraftthatoneofthempickedupaverypistolnotrealisingitwasloadedheaccidentally let it off. The petrol soaked aircraft was immediately engulfed in flames and by morning only a charred twisted frame was left.January 1918: A captured German Albatross flies in the airfield from France.January 1918: ‘A’ flight of 61 Squadron formed.Tuesday 1st January 1918: 141 Squadron formed with Bristol F2b’s.Saturday 2nd February 1918: 141 Squadron moved to Biggin Hill.Wednesday 13th February 1918: ‘A’ flight of 61 Squadron departed.March 1918: 190 Night Training Squadron Departed.Thursday7thMarch1918:CaptainH.C.Stroudof61Squadron(SE5a)andCaptA.B.Kynochof37Squadron(BE12StowMaries) killed in mid-air collision over Shotgate.Monday 1st April 1918: That year the RNAS and RFC merged to become the RAF, in June the Night Fighter Squadron 37 moved out.Saturday10thMay1919:HandleyPage0/400dropsnewspapersbyparachuteoffthewhicharethencollectedbyboatandtaken ashore.June 1919: Gotha bomber exhibited in the Sunken Gardens (now Adventure Island) on Western Esplanade.Tuesday 1st October 1918: No152 Night Fighter Unit formed and moved to France the same month.October 1918: Night Training Station Rochford.Friday 13th June 1919: 61 Squadron disbanded.September 1919: 199 squadron disbanded.September 1919: 198 Squadron disbanded.Thursday4thDecember1919:ThelastRAFflightoftheGreatWar.ThelastflightsawflewoutoftheairfieldwaswhenLieutenant BromfieldflewaBristolFighter(E2581ondisplayatImperialWarMuseumLambeth).Thesiteoftheairfieldrevertedbackto farmingduring1933-1935.InsteadflyingwascarriedoutatHoltFarmRochford,thissitelocatedjusttothenorthoftheairportit was used whilst the current site was upgraded, after the First World War.1920: Airfield closed.1923: The Seaplane & Pleasure Trip Company launches service with Superannuated Shorts aircraft.1929: Surrey Flying Services launches service from Shoebury common using an Avro Bi-plane.Friday 14th & Saturday 15th April 1933: Alan Cobham’s National Aviation Day came to Southend.Tuesday 22nd August 1933: Alan Cobham’s National Aviation Day came to Southend.Monday 28th August 1934: Alan Cobham’s National Aviation Day came to Southend.
1935 - 1946: The War YearsWednesday18thSeptember1935:CivilflyingreturnedtoSouthendafterthewar,butitwasn'tuntilthisdatethattheairportwas officiallyopenedbySirPhilipSassoonwhoatthetimewasUnder-SecretaryofStateforAir,hearrivedatSouthendinhisDH85 LeopardMoth.TheAirfieldwasoperatedforthecouncilbytheSouthendFlyingClub.Theearlydaysoftheairportwerevery prosperouswithmanypilotsmovingtheiraircraftintoSouthendaswellasairlinessettingupabaseattheairport.Regularservices weresetupflyingtootherpartsofthecountryincludingNorwich&Portsmouth.AnHourlyserviceservingSouthendandRochester was set up, this cost 5/-(25p) single, the service was actually run by Shorts Bros so that they could test fly their new Short Scion S.16.Wednesday 22nd July 1936: C. W. A. Scot holds flying display.Summer 1937: Southend was home to one of the first RAF Volunteer Reserve Squadrons.ThistimesawtheMODsetuptwoAuxiliaryAirForcesquadronsatSouthendthesewere602Squadron(CityofGlasgow)and607 Sqn(CountyofDurham)theyoperatedHawkerhindsandDemons,alsoestablishedattheairfieldwasNo34Elementaryand ReserveFlyingTrainingSchool,thiswasrunbyAirHireLtdwiththeDHTigerMoth,inreadinessforwhatlayahead.Bythetime thewarstartedallcivilflyingoutofSouthendhadceasedandithadnowbecomeRAFRochford.Throughoutthewartheairfield wasattheforefrontofallthebombingraidsonLondon,astheGermanaircraftwouldflystraightuptheRiverThamesandintothe hartofourCapitalcity.NeitherthetownofSouthendnortheairfieldescapedtheattentionsofthebombersduringthewarboth being attacked on several occasions.1938: Civil Air Guard set up in Southend.Saturday 27th August 1938: Southend Flying Club At Home Display.Sunday1stJanuary1939:34ElementaryandRoyalFlyingTrainingSchoolformedflyingHawkerAudax,DeHavillandTigerMoth, Hawker Hind and Avro Ansons.Friday 11th August 1939: The 12 Spitfires of 54 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch.Sunday 3rd September 1939: The Blackout starts.TheSouthendIlluminationswentoutasdidmuchofthecountyintheBlackout.Itmayhavehidthetownsbuttherewasnohiding theEstuarylikeinthelastwartheGermanbombersfollowedituptoLondon.Thosethatwereturnedbackwentfortheirsecondary targetstheshippingintheEstuarywhichalotofthetimemeantSouthendwouldgethit.Tocounterthismenacealargepercentage oftheUK'sAck-Ackgunswerelocatedinthelocalarea.TheywerethickestintheVangearea,buttheywerealsoineverySouthend Park, open space, along the Pier, on specially built forts in the Estuary and on ship's permanently moored in the estuary.Tuesday 3rd October 1939: Elementary and Royal Flying Training School disbanded.Monday 16th October 1939: 600 Squadron "City of London" equipped with Bristol Blenhiem’s arrived.Friday 20th October 1939: 600 Squadron re-located to Hornchurch.Sunday 22nd October 1939: 74 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfires Mk1a’s.Saturday 28th October 1939: 54 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Sptfires Mk1a’s.Sunday 29th October 1939: 74 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Friday 3rd November 1939: 54 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Friday 3rd November 1939: 74 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’s.Tuesday 14th November 1939: 74 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Friday17thNovember1939:SupermarineSpitfireMk1’sof54SquadronarrivedformingpartofFighterCommandsRochfordLine,a flight of aircraft flying at 25.000 ft.Friday 1st December 1939: 74 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfires Mk1a’s.Saturday 2nd December 1939: 54 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Saturday 16th December 1939: 74 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Friday 29th December 1939: 54 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Friday 29th December 1939: 74 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’s.Tuesday 16th January 1940: 54 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’sTuesday13thFebruary1940:ThefirstdamagedonebyaRochfordbasedaircrafttoaGerman,a74Squadronaircraftintercepteda HE111 over the Thames Estuary a few days later the squadron damaged a DO17 in the same area.Wednesday 14th February 1940: 54 Squadron departed.Wednesday 14th February 1940: 74 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’s.Saturday 23rd March 1940: 54 Squadron return with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’sSaturday 23rd March 1940: 74 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Saturday 20th April 1940: 54 Squadron departed.Saturday 20th April 1940: 74 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’s.Saturday18thMay1940:TwoGermanbombersattackSouthendscoringdirecthitsontheNoreYachtclubwreckingitand destroying a Billet bordering the Airfield killing 10 soldiers.Monday 27th May 1940: 74 Squadron departed to Leconfield, Yorkshire.Monday 27th May 1940: 616 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’s.Thursday 6th June 1940: 616 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Thursday 6th June 1940: 74 Squadron arrived from Leconfield with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’s.Tuesday18thJune1940:RAFRochfordenteredtherecordbooks,whenFltLtSailorMalanshotdownanenemyaircraftatnight thus becoming the first fighter pilot of a single seat fighter to do so.Tuesday 25th June 1940: 54 Squadron returned from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a’s.Tuesday25thJune1940:FltLtSailorMalanintherecordbooksagainbecomingthefirstpilottodowntwoenemyaircraftinone night.Saturday 20th July 1940: RAF Rochford bombed.Sunday21stJuly1940:RochfordbasedSpitfire1,N3184of54SqnwaslostafterenginefailureduringconvoypatrolP/oJ.L.Kemp bailed out safely in to water, he was picked up by a Royal Navy destroyer the aircraft was destroyed.Wednesday 24th July 1940: 54 Squadron combat. SixSpitfiresweretaskedinthemorningtoattackanumberofDornier’sthatwereattackingaconvoyintheStraitsofDover, however,duringthemissionthesquadronhadtobreakupintotwogroupsoneremainingoverDovertheotherreturningtothe ThamesEstuarywhereanotherconvoywasunderattack,thetwoattackersweredisruptedwiththeraidersretuningtoNazioccupied EuropewithoutanykillstheRAFfightersalsofailedtogetanykills.Laterintheday"B"FlightinterceptedaformationofDo215soff DovertheywereabletobreakuptheformationforcingthemtojettisontheirbombsandturnbackacrosstheChannellaterinthe morningasecondraidwasforminguptoattacktheshippingintheThamesEstuarythistimetheattackwasby18Dornier’sescorted by40+Bf109s.TheSpitfiresof54SquadronwerejoinedbythoseoftheHornchurchbased65Squadronasuccessfulinterceptofthe bombersforcedthemtojettisontheirloadsfailingtohitanyoftheshippingintheEstuary,theGravesendbased610Squadronhad beenscrambledtointerceptthefleeingbomberswiththeMesschermittBf109’scoveringthebombersadogfighterbrokeout howevertheGermanfightersweresoontorunlowonfuel,duringthecombatactionthreeoftheGermanbomberswereshotdown forthelossofa54SquadronSpitfireflownbyFlyingOfficerJohnnyAllen,asthefightingmovedacrosstheKentcountrysideandout towards Dover four Bf109s were downed.Wednesday24thJuly1940:RochfordBasedSupermarineSpitfire1P9389of54SqnmadeanemergencylandingatRochfordafter combat damage with a Do17 engaged in an attack on a convoy off Dover the Pilot P/o A. Finnie was unhurt.Wednesday 24th July 1940: Supermarine Spitfire 1 P9549 54Sqn returned to Rochford damaged in combat over Dover.Wednesday24thJuly1940:SupermarineSpitfire1R681254sqnsuffereddamagetoengineduringcombatwithBf109stheaircraft diverted to Manston but stalled on approach crashing at Clifftonville F/o J. L. Allen was killed.Wednesday24thJuly1940:SupermarineSpitfire1R6710of54SqndamagedbyBf109sreturnedtoRochfordwithcockpitcanopy shattered P/o H. K. F. Matthew unhurt aircraft repairable.Wednesday24thJuly1940:SupermarineSpitfireN3192RanoutoffuelduringachaseandforcedlandedatSizewellpilotsafe aircraft written off.Wednesday 24th July 1940: After a busy day 54 Squadron left for Hornchurch.Friday 26th July 1940: RAF Rochford bombed at night by Do17s.Wednesday 31st July 1940: RAF Rochford bombed.Monday 26th August 1940: RAF Rochford Bombed.Monday 26th August 1940: Dornier Do17 crash landing.DonierDo17Z-3of2/kg2(U5+LK)wasattackedbyFlt,LtSaundersof65SqntheGermanbombersustaineddamageandstartedto loseheight,thebombermadeawheelsuplandingontheairfieldandremainedintactafterthecrashlanding,theaircraftwasof greatinteresttothewarofficewhodispatchedarecoveryteamwithgreathastetoretrievethevaluablebomber.TheCrewHptmn Bose (pilot), Uffzs Schmidt, Lungard Roeder, Odergfr Roeder all survived the crash and were captured.Wednesday 28th August 1940: Airfield bombed twice in one day.Thefirstwaveof27bomberssetbuildingsonfireandcausedslightdamagetootherpartsoftheairfield,thesecondraidcreated30 craters on the landing ground but with little other damage.Wednesday 28th August 1940: RAF Rochford bombed.Theairfieldwasheavilyby15He111'sat13;00hrsdropping15tonsofHighExplosivesmostlandingontheairfieldbutsomedofall aroundthesite9raiderswereshotdownoneoftheraidingbomberscrashlandsontheairfieldtheairfieldisforcedtocloseatnight andhavesingleaircrafttakingoffandlandingatday-lightduetothedamagetobuildingsfiresanddamagetorunways;Raidonthe ThamesEstuarysees12outof100raidersshotdownbetween15:50-16:45;TwowomenarekilledintheVictoriaareaofthetownby a stray bomb during a raid on the Thames Estuary by 60 aircraft at 19:00hrs with one being shot down.Thursday 29th August 1940: RAF Rochford remains closed due to time delay bombs.Saturday 31st August 1940: RAF Rochford bombed.August1940:ClaimsmadebyNaziwarmongersthat"RAFRochfordhadbeenobliterated,byanairraid,whatwasleftwasamassof smoking burning ruins," raid by 21 He111's "stick raid" from shore-end of the pier to airfield.Sunday 1st September 1940: RAF Rochford unserviceable due to craters after raid.Monday 2nd September 1940: Dornier Do17 crash landing.TheHurricanesof249SquadronattackedanddamagedDo17Z-2of9/kg3(5K+BT)theaircraftsustainedheavydamageandhadto makeawheelsuplandingontheairfieldthesecondofthetypetodoso!ThePilotUffzSeidlandF.W.Spinkwerebothwoundedin thecrashbutsurvivedandweretakenprisonerwhilstthegunnerUffzHillbrechtdied.TwootherbomberscrashedintotheEstuary off Southend.Tuesday3rdSeptember1940:RochfordbasedSpitfiresinterceptedaflightofHe111'stheyattackedandshotonedown,theaircraft crashing in to Lifstan Way.Saturday 7th September 1940: RAF Rochford attacked & left unserviceable for short time.Saturday 28th September 1940: The airfield is the prime target for the Luftwaffe.Theairfieldwashit30times,thesquadronsresidentatthetimewereabletogetintotheairbeforetheattackstarted,becauseofthe earlywarningfromtheradarstationatCanewdon.ThiscoincidedwiththeairfieldbeingrenamedR.A.FSouthend,withWingCdr. Basil Embry as D.S.O Station Commander.Monday30thSeptember1940:R.A.FRochfordwasupgradedtoR.A.FStationSouthendthisCoincidedwiththeLuftwaffechanging from Daylight raids on London to Night-time raids.Monday28thOctober1940:RAFRochfordbecomesanIndependentStationofHornchurchSector&renamesRAFSouthend,atthe same time it is proposed as a night fighter base with 264 & 151 Squadrons operating out of it but the plans are dropped.Sunday 29th October 1940: 264 Squadron arrived from Kirton-in-Lindsey with Boulton-Paul Defiant 1’s.Sunday 24th November 1940: Dornier crash lands on airfield.Friday15thNovember1940:BoultonPaulDefiantN1547P/oW.R.A.KnockerandP/oF.A.Toombsof264Squadronwereboth killed when the engine cut on approach to the airfield the aircraft hit a tree and exploded.Wednesday20thNovember1940:BoultonPaulDefiantMk.IN1626264SquadroncrashedontakeoffduringnightsortiePilot Officer Hackwood and gunner killed.Wednesday 27th November 1940: 264 Squadron departed to Debden.Tuesday 3rd December 1940: 603 Squadron (City of Edinburgh) arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk2a’s.Friday 13th December 1940: 611Sqn (West Lancashire) arrived from Digby with Supermarine Spitfire Mk2a’s.Friday 13th December 1940: 603 Squadron departed to Drem.Thursday 2nd January 1941: The Mad Magister.TheSouthendcommunicationsMilesMagisterwasbeingflownbackfromasortietoCranwellwhenatechnicalfaultsawtheaircraft makeanemergencylandinginafieldnearOngar,theaircrafthaditswingsremovedandwastowedtoNorthWeald,whereitwas putbacktogether,apilotfromRAFSouthendwasdispatchedtobringitback,howeverthepilotsentrangtheSouthendEngineering OfficetosaythattheNorthWealdriggershadwronglyriggedtheaileroncontrolsandaskedwhatheshoulddo.TheE/ojokingly toldthepilotto"sitfacingbackwardsorflyitupsidedown!"tohissurprisetheMaggielandedbackatSouthendashorttimelater with the rigging still not rectified!Tuesday 7th January 1941: Hit and Run attack on RAF Rochford eight fifty-kilo bombs dropped.Thursday 9th January 1941: RAF Southend becomes a Forward Offensive Fighter BaseSunday 19th January 1941: The Heavy AttackFive-hundredincendiariesdroppedonSouthend,Westcliff,Chalkwell,andLeighafterGermanbombersareforcedtoturnbackfrom anattackonLondonbyheavyAck-Ackfireandincreasedpatrolsbynightfighters,thetownwashitaftertheNazibombersfailedto locate the airfield and Estuary Bombed by delayed action bombs and landmines dropped on Thorpe Bay.Monday 27th January 1941: 611 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Monday 27th January 1941: 64 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk2a’s.Monday 31st March 1941: 64 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Monday 31st March 1941: 54 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk2a’s.April 1941: 137 Squadron fly in with their Westland Whirlwinds these are soon replaced with the new Hurricane IV.Thursday 17th April 1941: 100th kill for RAF Southend.Saturday 2nd May 1942: 403 RCAF Squadron arrived from North Weald with Supermarine Spitfire Mk5b’s.Wednesday 2nd May 1942: The airfield transferred to the North Weald sector.Sunday 7th June 1942: 1422 Fighter Gunnery School departed to Martlesham Heath.Wednesday 3rd June 1942: The Americans arrive.TheAmerican121EagleSquadronarriveatSouthendthiswasoneofthreesquadronsintheRAFwhosepilotswereAmerican,they flew with the RAF before America entered the war, after the USA entered hostilities 121 became 335 USAAC Squadron.Wednesday 3rd June 1942: 403 RCAF departed to Martlesham Heath.Sunday 7th June 1942: 1488 Fighter Gunnery Flight departed to Martlesham Heath.Sunday 16th August 1942: 19 Squadron arrived from Perranporth flying Supermarine Spitfire 5b’s.Thursday 20th August 1942: 19 Squadron departed to Perranporth.Wednesday 23rd September 1942: 350 Belgian Squadron arrived from Redhill with Supermarine Spitfire Mk5b’s.Monday 26th October 1942: Dornier Do217 crash landing.SouthendattackedbyDo217s,Asecondraidof8thStaffelofKG2tookofffromDeelenHollandtoattackSkefkoBallBearingFactory Lutononeisattackeden-routeanditdivesawayfromitsgroupthepilotattemptstoreturntooccupiedEuropebutonlymakesitas farasSouthendanduponsightingtheairfieldmakeacrash-landingbuthitsthedispersalareaofthenewlyarrived350Squadron destroying a workshop and killing W/o Dyon at his post with two air men injured. This was the third Do17 to crash at Southend.Tuesday 24th November 1942: 350 Belgian Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Monday 7th December 1942: 453 RAAF Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk5a’s.Tuesday9thFebruary1943:AloneDo217(upgradedDo17)sneaksinatnightandattackstheairfield.TheresidentSpitfireswereon patrol over the town during bad weather the German bomber then gets away without any trouble from the British fighters.March 1943: RAF Southend dive-bombed.Monday 1st March 1943: 453 RAAF Squadron departed to Westcott.Sunday 14th March 1943: 453 RAAF Squadron arrived from Newmarket with Supermarine Spitfire Mk5b’s.Saturday 27th March 1943: 222 Squadron arrived from Ayr with Supermarine Spitfire Mk5b’s.Wednesday 1st April 1943: 222 Squadron departed to Martlesham Heath.Tuesday 1st June 1943: Southend reverts back to Hornchurch sector. It later changes again back to North Weald Sector Control.Saturday 12th June 1943: 137 Squadron arrived from RAF Manston with Westland Whirlwinds.Wednesday 30th June 1943: 137 Squadron re-equip with Hurricane IVs.Sunday 8th August 1943: 137 Squadron departed to Manston.Tuesday17thAugust1943:1488FighterGunneryFlightmovesinfromMartileshamHeathwith2MilesMasters,2MilesMartinets and 7 Lysanders.Monday 6th September 1943: 611 Squadron arrived from Coltishall with Supermarine Spitfire LF5b’sThursday 16th September 1943: 234 Squadron arrived from West Malling with Supermarine Spitfire Mk6’s.Tuesday 12th October 1943: 350 Belgian Squadron arrived from Hawkinge with Supermarine Spitfire Mk5b’sFriday 15th October 1943: 234 Squadron departed to Hutton Cranswick.Monday 18th October 1943: 1488 Fighter Gunnery Flight renames as 17 Armament Practice Camp.Tuesday 26th October 1943: 349 Squadron arrived from Friston with Supermarine Spitfires.Sunday 31st October 1943: 350 Belgian Squadron departed to Hawkinge.Wednesday 10th November 1943: 349 Squadron departed to Friston.November 1943: 148 Gunnery School formed.Tuesday 16th November 1943: 66 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire LF9’s.Tuesday 30th November 1943: 66 Squadron departed to Hornchurch.Thursday 2nd December 1943: 317 Squadron arrived from Northolt with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9’s.Saturday 18th December 1943: 317 Squadron departed to Northolt.Monday 20th December 1943: 222 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9’s and LFIb’s.1944: RAF Southend is selected to become a V1 Barrage Balloon Network Site.Monday 3rd January 1944: 413 Polish Squadron arrived from Odiham with Hawker Typhoons.Friday 21st January 1944: 501 Squadron arrived from Hawkinge with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9’s.February 1944: No17 APC 9 Miles Martinets, 1 Miles Master 3's and 10 spitfire Mk9s.Friday 4th February 1944: 501 Squadron departed to Hawkinge.Sunday 6th February 1944: 41 Squadron arrived from Tangmere with Supermarine Spitfire Mk12’s.Friday 11th February 1944: B17 31694 of 351st BG crash-landed due to battle damage after raid on Frankfurt burned on field.Tuesday 22nd February 1944: 41 Squadron departed to Tangmere.Tuesday 22nd February 1944: 312 Squadron arrived from Mendlesham with Supermarine Spitfire LF9b’s.Wednesday15th March 1944: 413 Polish Squadron departed to Thorney Island.Friday 12th May 1944: 19 Squadron arrived flying North American Mustang 3’sFriday18thFebruary1944:TheairfieldreturnedtoNorthWealdSectoraftertheclosureofHornchurchSectorFromFebruaryto May ten squadrons used the camp for training.Friday 3rd March 1944: 312 Squadron departed to Mendlesham.Sunday 5th March 1944: 331 Norwegian Squadron arrived from North Weald with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9’s.Monday 13th March 1944: 331 Squadron departed to North Weald.Tuesday 14th March 1944: 313 Czech Squadron arrived from Mendleshan with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9’s.Monday 20th March 1944: 313 Squadron departed to Mendlesham.Tuesday 21st March 1944: 332 Squadron arrived from North Weald with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9s.Monday 27th March 1944: 332 Squadron departed to North Weald.Tuesday 28th March 1944: 310 Squadron arrived from Mendlesham with Supermarine Spitfire LF9’s.Tuesday 4th April 1944: 222 Squadron arrived from Hornchurch with Supermarine Spitfire LF9b’s.Sunday 9th April 1944: 222 Squadron departed to Selsey.Wednesday 12th April 1944: 302 Poznanski Squadron arrived from Deanland with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9’s.Friday 14th April 1944: 302 Poznanski Squadron departed to Deanland.Saturday 22nd April 1944: 66 Squadron arrived from Bognor with Supermarine Spitfire LF9’s.Monday 24th April 1944: 66 Squadron departed to Bognor.Thursday11thMay1944:B1742-107147"SweetMelody"303BG360C(SQN)diverttoSouthendduetodamagegearcollapsedtarget Checchini.Friday 12th May 1944: 19 Squadron arrived from Ford with North American Mustang 3’s.Saturday 20th May 1944: 122 Squadron arrived from Funtington with North American Mustang 3’s.Sunday 28th May 1944: 122 Squadron departed to Funtington.Monday 29th May 1944: 19 Squadron departed to Funtington.June1944:287SquadronmovedinwithAirspeedOxfords,BristolBeaufightersandLysandersinan'AckAck'andfighter coordinator role. The R.A.F Regiment used the station as a transit camp for a short time.Wednesday 12th July 1944: 127 Squadron arrived from Tangmere with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9’s.Sunday 23rd July 1944: 127 departed to Tangmere.Monday 24th July 1944: 74 Squadron arrived from Selsey with Supermarine Spitfire Mk9’7 and LF9e’sFriday 1st September 1944: Back to Hornchurch Sector Control.Friday 1st September 1944: Placed under 'Care and Maintenance' for the rest of the War.Through-outthewaryearsSouthendwasusedbymanyaircraftasanemergencylandingground.Bytheendofhostilitiesatotalof 752highexplosiveshadbeendroppedonSouthend,therewerealsocountlessV1Doodlebugs,Incendiarydevices,Paraminesand Butterflybombs.Atotalof29men,24womenand7childrenweredeadwithafurther394seriouslywounded,thelowchildratewas due to the fact that most of the towns children had been evacuated.Tuesday 31st December 1946: Airfield de-requisitioned.1946: Air Training Corps, Air Ministry Southend Gliding School opened.
1946 - 1960 Civilian Flying Takes OffFriday1stNovember1946:SquadronLeaderBernardCollisappointedfirstairportmanagerwithAlanFincherofthetowns Engineers Department becoming his assistant.Tuesday17thDecember1946:SammyNormanbecomesthefirstpilottolandatthestillunlicensedairfieldinaPercivalProctor flying from Le Touquet.Tuesday31stDecember1946:TheSouthendCorporationwasgrantedalicencetooperatetheairfieldtheearlydaysoftheairport 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.OwnedbySquadronLeader“Jack”Jones,thenewcompanyhadasingleAirspeedCourieranduseditforpleasureflightsandAd 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 and four ex-RAF Dragon Rapide’s (Dominie) to the fleet.1948:CustomsfacilitiesweresetupandflightstotheChannelIslandsandOstendstartedbyEastAnglianFlyingServices,whohad vastly increased the fleet by five DH Dragon Rapide’s and a single Miles Aerovan (G-AJKI)1948: Illuminated flying billboards.LocalelectronicscompanyE.K.Cole(EKCO)modifiedanumberofexR.A.FRapidestoflyasilluminatedbillboardstoadvertise EKCOVISIONunfortunatelyupsetmostlocaltelevisionsetsastheaircraftpassedoverheadsotheventurewasscrappedonlyfour Rapides ever flew in this set up these were G-AKRN, G-AKRO, G-AKOV and 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.There-locationofAviationTraderswastohelpmaintaintheexR.A.FHalifax'sandtheHaltonsofBondAirServicesthatwereused 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.BKSflewawiderangeofaircraftincludingAvroAnson's,DouglasDC3's,VickersViking's,AirspeedAmbassadorsandlaterthe 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.WhenMeteorF8VZ510of84sqnbroke-upinmid-airandscatteredwreckageoverawidearea.Partsoftheaircraftwerefoundin RamuzDrive,BeedellAvenue,BrightwellAvenue&HainaultAvenueoneoftheaircraft'sengineswaspickedupnearSouthendPier. ThebodyofthepilotF/OLionelMillikenwasfoundstillstrappedintohissmashedcockpit20minutesafterthecrash,whilstMrS. Smith,MrsA.M.Gilbert.MrsF.Sydenhamlaterdiedfrominjuriessustained,whilstalsoinjuredwasaMrH.Duck.Theaircrafthad 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-AirServiceswasfoundedbyshippingagencyDavis&NewmanLtdwithasinglewarsurplusDouglasDC3Dakotatheirstayat Southendwasrelativelyshortre-locatingtoBlackbushein1955.TheairlinegrewanbecameoneofthelargestintheUnited Kingdom,duringthe1980swhentouroperatorsbegantolaunchtheirownairlinesDanAirsawadeclineinprofitability.In1991the airlinemadealossof£35million,withtheairlineinterminaldeclineBritishAirwaysboughttheallyingairlineforthetokensumof £1 at the end of 1992 and the iconic brand faded into history.Saturday 20th June 1953: National Air Race.Southendwasthenselectedtohostthe1953NationalAirRaceitwasheldonJune20thwiththousandsturninguptowatchthe eventitwaseventuallywonbyL.A."Clem"PikeinhisD.HChipmunkG-AKDNandtheNortonGriffithstrophywasawardedtoW. 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:AnothergoodyearfortheairportwithAirCharter(anassociatecompanyofATEL)beingformeditoperatedtheflightsof ChannelAirBridgewhichwentbetweenSouthendandCalaisandlaterontoOstendandRotterdam.Theservicewasmainly 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:AbusyonefortheairportEastAnglianstartedaservicetoRotterdamandduringEasteraregularservicewaslaunchedto 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.Sunday15thMay1955:BKSlaunchaservicefromSouthendtoLeedsandontoBelfast.Itwasathreeflightsaweekservicewiththe 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.Onlythemainrunway06/24isnowusedwiththecentralpartof15/33beingusedasthecentraltaxiwayandtheendpartasapark for airliners waiting maintenance or in store.1956:FreddieLaker'sAviationTradershadbythistimeventuredintoaircraftdesignandbought252PercivalPrenticetrainersfrom 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.ThisaircrafthadarelativelyshortlifegainingitsCertificateofAirworthinessCertificateofAirworthiness21stDecember1950itwas operatedbyBalfourMarineEngineeringCompanyLimitedatStapleford,theaircraftwasloanedtoMilesCarHireinSouthend,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.Friday12thJuly1957:LockheedL1049GConstellationN7109CofTWAmadeanemergencylandingwithastarboardengineonfire, shehadbeenonroutetoStanstedcarryingUSArmyservicemen,TWAsentitsflyingrepairstationFairchildC-82PacketN9701F (ET-T-12) to get the aircraft back in the air.November 1957: Tradair set up.TradairflewtheVickersVikingitsfleetconsistedofG-APOO,G-APOP,G-APOR(POPandPORwereex-KingsFlightmachinesand wereusefortheRoyalFlighttoSouthAfrica).ThesameyearEastAnglianwasalsoexpandingitsfleettheyacquiredBristol FreightersG-AICTandG-AIFOfourVikingsandlateronanumberofDC3's.DuringtheyearanumberoftheSouthendbased 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.TheseareputontothehighdensityroutestotheContinentandChannelIslandswhilsttheDovesareusedonthefeederservicesto Southend.Wednesday 5th March 1958: Percival Prentice G-AONS (VS687) departed on the long flight to Melbourne Australia.TheaircraftreacheditsdestinationonTuesday29thApril1958.TheaircrafthadfirstflownonSunday2ndMarch1958uponarrival itwasre-listedasVH-BAO,however,itsflyingcareerinAustraliawasshortlivedastheaircraftwaswrittenoffatCobar,NewSouth Wales on Sunday 24th March 1960.Christmas Eve Wednesday 24th December 1958: A busy Christmas.AheavydensefogengulfsEnglandclosingdowneveryairportexceptforSouthend,theairporthandles56arrivals,untillackofspace closestheairport,onlythendoesthefogrollin.TheDouglasDC3’sareparkedonthegrassthatwastobecometheGApark,the otheraircraftareparkedoneveryavailablebitofapron,taxiwayandevenrunway33/15,aircraftincluded:AerLingusVickers ViscountsEI-AFV,EI-AFY,EI-AJK,AirFranceVickersViscountsF-BGNN,F-BGNO.ConsolidatedConstellationF-BAZM,British EuropeanAirwaysDouglasDC-3Dakota’sG-AGJZ,G-AGZD,G-AJIA,G-ALTT,G-ALXK,G-ALXL,G-AMDB,G-AMDZ,G-AMGD,G-AMJX,G-AMNW.VickersViscountsG-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,EagleAirwaysVickersVikingG-AMNX,Vickers ViscountG-APDX,DouglasDC-6AG-APON,HuntingClanDouglasDC-6AG-APNO,JerseyAirlinesDeHavillandHeronG-ANLN, KLMDouglasDC-3DakotaPH-DAA,VickersViscountPH-VIB,ConsolidatedConstellationPH-LDN,LufthansaConvairCV.440sD-ACEX,D-ACIB,MortonAirServicesDeHavillandDoveG-ANAN,DeHavillandHeronG-AOXL,SabenaConvairCv.440OO-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.