Cat no. 198

Alan Cobham's Flying Circus Display

Running time13:28 Black & White Silent 1932 Brentwood, Essex

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An air display at Maylands Airfield with mono and bi-planes.


Archive AliveTravel / Travelogue

A record of a display at Maylands Airfield, run by Hillman's Airways. The film opens with mono-planes on the ground. Alan Cobham's three engine plane, The Ferry, is used for taking people on pleasure flights. Other mono and bi-plane machines are seen flying, some in formation, and a Puss Moth taxis towards the camera. An Avro 404 is seen looping-the-loop and there are various acrobatics and stunt flying manoeuvres, one with a person on the wing. A formation of nine aircraft flies over and a Comper Swift is seen flying and on the ground. There is a shot of passengers getting out of a Puss Moth owned by Hillmans. A parachutist is seen descending in the distance. There are further shots of aeroplanes flying and on the ground. The next sequence was shot by another cameraman and many of the sequences above are repeated, shot from a different angle. In addition there are some good shots of the crowd including men passing around a bottle of beer. There is a brief glimpse of what might be a fun fair. There are shots of the main road, showing buses and other vehicles and shots of planes flying low over telephone wires and houses. At the end there is a shot of a sign by the perimeter fence identifying Hillman's Aerodrome.

Background Information:

Mr. R.H. Brighton of Norwich has supplied the following information.I am fairly certain that this was taken at Maylands Aerodrome, which belonged to Hillmans Airways and was situated alongside the A12 near Harold Wood, Essex, roughly between Brentwood and Romford.The field was officially opened on the 24th September, 1932, with the Great Essex Air Pageant, attended by the Lord Mayor of London and many civic dignitaries. There was a fly past of three 'Bulldogs' from No. 54 squadron and five 'Wapits' of No. 66 squadron, both based at RAF Hornchurch. That would account for the lone shot of high flying military planes. On the 16th July, 1934, Hillman Airways opened a new field at Abridge, Essex and Maylands became a large base for the Romford Flying Club.The three engined bi-plane was the air speed 'ferry' - G - ABSI, named 'Youth of Britain II', which the circus took on charge - 4th May, 1932. A second plane - G - ABSJ, was delivered in June that year. The stunt plane was an Avro 404K - G - ABHI, believed painted red. The man standing on the wings was Martin Hearn. The De Havilland Tiger Moth was - G - ABUL, flown by Flight Lieutenant Turner-Hughes. The front cockpit was normally covered over. The other bi-plane was a Gypsy Moth, possibly G - ABJC, but there were two so I cannot be so definite. The pilot was C.W. Berr. The high winged mono-plane was a Comper Swift - G - ABPY, which was equipped with a radio, whereby members of the public would talk to the pilot and request certain aerobatics. The pilot was H. Johnston, and the colour of the plane believed blue. Finally the Hillman Airways plane is a De Havilland Puss Moth. The company had at least two, one was registered G - ABSB. The were in blue and silver livery.

Featured People:

Martin Hearn; stuntman; Flight Lieutenant Turner-Hughes, pilot; C.W. Berr, pilot; H. Johnston, pilot

Featured Organisations:

Hillman's Airways

Featured Events:

Alan Cobham's Flying Circus Display, Brentwood, 1932

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