Barton(Beds) Aerodrome

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I am now sure the Marendaz Trainer that was built by Luton Aircraft at Barton(Beds) for DMK Marendaz was in 1940 presented to RAF Halton ATC... G-AFZX

CAA records only show it as deregistered by the SoS 1/12/46... and thats it, I have approached the RAF at Halton but had no reply(admittedly just via email)... so what other routes are there for finding out what happened to this a/c? is this the sort of thing Hendon could help with? :confused:

Likewise T-21's Lancaster information would that be a Hendon job or are there more specific weblinks to Lancaster info/preservation etc??

can anyone shed light on Reg Dagnall (RDF), history and location???

......

also:
Dart Aircraft, Ltd., of 29, High Street North, Dunstable

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James, is there any established pecking order for the source of information?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_source

In our field, photographs can be very good primary source material - but beware of retouching (now generically called 'PhotoShopping', but common then) and inaccurate (even if well meaning) captioning.

For your own research, it's vital to note where you get information from as you go; it's a nightmare trying to retravel your own path!

You don't have to work to an academic historian's standard or approach; but if you do (it's not hard, just painstaking) you'll produce material that others will thank you for in the future and be able to build on.

Some guides on historical research would be useful - as I said before, befriend a good librarian - not the klutz you got before, obviously.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/bookshop/default.aspx

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thanks James... trip to BLARS planned for later this week ;)

thought I would have a hunt through any public government info I could find and found these maps which came from planning applications from the adjacent farm (which owned the airfield site originally, and is being followed up)

http://www.raidxtreme.eu/webpics/airfield/smallmap3.jpg

the blue circled areas:
top one, Luton Aircraft Hangers to the left and airfield control tower to the right (circa 1938 build)
bottom one, Bedford School of Flying (remains?)

Now I do have issues with these maps, please note the yellow circled areas the later map (credited as October 2000 by the county council!) is NOT showing the current concrete plant which is on the earlier 1995 map (which replaced the buildings in the bottom blue circle!).

Ignoring the dates!... the larger map clearly shows the Bedford School of Flying buildings on the corner and the clubhouse that was adjacent to the apron heading south west into the airfield.

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http://www.raidxtreme.eu/webpics/airfield/smallmap4.jpg

composite of the county council map before the industrial estate was given its 'new' entrance... although a large amount of the buildings from the 60's survive, the location of the control tower and the flying school as you can see have been regenerated to a car park and the new 'Citylink' mail hub. From the pictures Luton Aircraft had just two hangers, the third although similar i suspect was built for the ATA soon after. Likewise the flying school I suspect was located in the smaller buildings at the southern end of the site the larger nearby ones again being added by the ATA. The pic below shows the building I remember as a child and was located directly under the new building.

more airfield pics... top shows the flying school buildings behind the Buzzard.
http://www.raidxtreme.eu/webpics/airfield/image10.jpg

http://www.raidxtreme.eu/webpics/airfield/Image11.jpg

http://www.raidxtreme.eu/webpics/airfield/Image12.jpg

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I can now add a bit more to this thanks to a few kind people.

Been looking more into CH latimer-Needham and his links mainly and....

Dunstable Sailplane Company started life as a joint venture by CH latimer-Needham and WL Manuel in January 1935 to develop the glider designs that WL Manuel had been previously building, these the 'Crested Wren' and 'Willow Wren' were built at Hawkinge in Kent during 1931 and 1932.

The team set to work and produced the 'Dunstable Kestrel' from their new base at Hockliffe in Bedfordshire which is just 20kms to the NE of RAF Halton where CH latimer-Needham had been an Education Officer and designed the Halton Minus and Mayfly.

The Kestrel which sold for £130 is thought to be a more astatically pleasing and strengthened version of the 'Blue Wren' and had a short life with only one being built at the works, its fate unknown as its new owner was at 'an early stage of training!'.... this said more Kestrels were built as the company sold plans at £6. 6s for a period.

One was built in England by W. E. Godson (who managed to kill himself at the 1939 nationals in it!) and a further 3 in Australia by R. New in West Australia, R. Balsillie at Horsham, and another by Pery Pratt at Geelong. The Kestrel built by Rick New is still in existence at Cunderdin, Australia. All three of these were key to the development of gliding in Australia and are both well documented and remembered....

I even found this footage of one.!!!!
Dunstable Kestrel on Movitone in Australia

At the same time as the Kestrel was being developed CH latimer-Needham had become 'acquainted' with a Pou-Du-Ciel and made the suggestion to Manuel that the company should be building these... as a staunch glider enthusiast Manuel was not impressed, so a compromise was made and they worked on a design that had interest to both parties.

Arthur Ord-Hume describes the design in ' Flight on frail wings' very well....." the result was a strange but not unattractive low wing monoplane with a pod fuselage and tail boom. The wing and the entire tail assembly, complete with all-flying one piece horizontal stabilizer, was pure Kestrel...."

Construction of the new a/c was moved to a new hanger located just 12 kms to the east here at Barton in the winter of 1935, the build taking several months culminating in registration on the 12th December of G-ADYX and the 'Buzzard' referring to the ornithological parentage of the design.

WL Manuel at this time has made the decision not to continue with powered flight so the partnership dissolves and Latimer-Needham along the Buzzard design start life at Barton Aerodrome as Luton Aircraft Limited.

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Thanks to all those that have given me information to help track down some of the history of Luton Aircraft and in particular to the time here at Barton.. many thanks especially to both Steve’s and Dave!

well this has just gone made and I seem to have opened a continually growing can of worms..

Luton Aircraft Ltd was registered as limited liability company on the 1st Jan 1935 with a registered office at 240 Luton Road, Dunstable, Beds... what’s interesting this is the same address/date as the Dunstable Sailplane Company also 'owned' by CH Latimer-Needham, thats not interesting enough well how about its also the registered office of Grice and Young, and Zander & Weyl at the same time?

Latimer-Needham had met up with Bill Manuel whilst at Dunstable Downs and formed a somewhat odd alliance, 1935 the new Dunstable Sailplane Company takes over Manuels' designs (crested wren 1931, willow wren 1932 and Blue Wren 1934 notably) and the design for the Kestrel is drafted at the new A5 Hockliffe workshop, in real terms it was a refined Blue Wren and cost £130

Sales were nonexistent of the Kestrel with just one being built (BGA221) at the works and one from plans sold costing £6. 6s. The Kestrel built from plans by W.E.Godson had a short life after crashing on 11/7/39 at Camphill killing Godson. The Kestrel was though more successful with several sets of plans being sold abroad to Australia, one of the builds by Ric New is still in existence in Cunderlin Australia. Records show at least 3 were built in Australia and they are widely credited with establishing the gliders in Australia.

Although I can find no solid records Latimer-Needham was experimenting with a Flying Flea in 1935 (possibly G-ADSE) and this had given him the idea of retailing the kits, something that Manual was not interested in causing a rift.

July 1935 both company’s move to Barton and the design for a powered glider is worked on, the LA1 Luton Buzzard starts construction from the middle of 3 new hangers totaling 1300 sq/ft at the aerodrome. Its interesting to note I do have a reference that John Sproule was working at the site at this time, it’s not confirmed yet but I know he knew Manual.

More to post up later ...

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......Luton Aircraft Ltd was registered as limited liability company on the 1st Jan 1935 with a registered office at 240 Luton Road, Dunstable, Beds... what’s interesting this is the same address/date as the Dunstable Sailplane Company also 'owned' by CH Latimer-Needham, thats not interesting enough well how about its also the registered office of Grice and Young, and Zander & Weyl at the same time? .....

Jenna, this may not be as mysterious as it appears. A Limited Company had (has) to have an address as it's "registered office" (which, I believe, had to have a letterbox for receipt of mail). In reality many companies used 'convenience' addresses - often a Solicitor's offices - particularly a company like an aeroplane company or flying club whose only building might be a remotely located hangar. The 1920's/30s private flying community had it's share of Lawyers and Solicitors who, presumably, were happy for their offices to be used in such a way.

So, my guess is that 240 Luton Road might have been a Solictor's office who, through his 'hobby' of flying, knew Latimer-Needham and the other principals involved in those companies?

Very interesting thread - am enjoying it.

Roger Smith.

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Hi Roger,

Yes I was thinking the same (I am a company sec' and have been co' director of many others in the past) so I first thought the same as you.. but!

Firstly solicitors charge for the service, and that’s an expense many small company’s don’t like especially as its not a legal requirement to use a solicitor.

After a bit more digging around the other thing that makes me wonder is that I have found yet another reference to Grice in the Flight archives that clearly shows 240 Luton Road as being the place to send/collect orders for parts.... that makes it unlikely to a post box or solicitors?

From the old OS maps it looks like the present day houses were built along Luton Road at 1935-1940 as one map of 1937 shows the now current land plots for sale/or built houses, the dates for Grice and Young look like:

May 5th, 1934:
JOSEPH BRINDLEY GURNEY GRICE
240, Luton Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Patent application:GB19340013659 19340505

Feb 20th 1936:
GRICE & YOUNG, Engineers 240. Luton Road, Dunstable. Tel.: 881,
Invite enquiries for the supply of Light Aircraft parts, wheels, brakes, tyres, fittings, etc.
All Pou metal fittings stocked, made by craftsmen.

March 19th 1936:
Grice & Young
WHEELS AND TYRES from £3 3s. per pair. Pou equipment :
29a, High Street, Dunstable.

Sept 17th 1936:
AVA 27 h.p. engines in stock, 4-eyl. flat twin two stroke, fitted petrol pumps, rev. counter, attachment, etc.. etc. Write or call, Grice & Young,
29a, High Street, Dunstable. Beds. Tel. 376.

I have also found planning application documents that Grice and Young ran a 'dope shop' in Nicholas Way, Dunstable as early as 1943 (which is now part of the Quadrant shopping center)

The last known site for Grice and Young I have is Albion St, Dunstable where they were manufacturing aileron differential gear for the De Havilland Mosquito,

Reference to Grace & Young making 'gas mask' boxes during WWII.

There has been talk from a few different places of a 'glider' factory on Luton Road, Dunstable but I just cannot find any hard evidence to say this was it or not.

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Scott light Aircraft had factory (workshop) at 27 Albion street Dunstable. It may be the same as the Grice and Young factory. My father was taken on a school trip ther pre war. I took some photo's from outside, if i can find them i will post them. Also i believe there's a gentleman who lives just up the road from me, who i have been told worked there during the war. I haven't spoken to him yet, but have wanted to for a long time.

Dave

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29 High street north was also the later address of Dart Aircraft Ld.

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Hello Dave, yes I remember you saying that Dart were at 29a too.... Dunstable has good history society so may drop them an email to see what information they can add, it would nice to nail down exactly where 240 Luton Road was in 1934/1936 and if any known solicitor was there.

OK other lines of enquiry...
I'm tracing down staff of Luton Aircraft Ltd and a few names have been given to me:

Marcus Campbell Goodall, there is a reference to this person being with company in 1936/7 and then moving on to Pye Radio and Marconi in the mid 40's... last reference I find for him is Assoc Prof at Michigan University in 1984 this name ring any bells?

More on an aviation theme i have been given the name of Nigel Ponsford who we think may be (or have been) connected with the Midland Aircraft Museum, I am keen to get in contact with him.

I am currently looking into the prototype Luton Minor (G-AEPD), all the records so far confirm that it was sold to AJ Cook of Anstruther, I can find nothing on AJ Cook? Also looking at a map of the area round Anstruther and a search for airfields nothing comes up so is it likely that this was a home address on the CAA record and not airfield?

Also connected with G-AEPD I have been told that at some time AJ Cook may have kept the aircraft at Dumbarton before it was destroyed (by a car!).... again no references to an airfield at Dumbarton, was there any other military/civil site that could explain why it was kept here???

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I have found links for both AJ and DW Cook to the Waid Academy in Anstruther at around the right time, there is also evidence that both were members of the Strathtay Aero Club..... however after this both dissapear.

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More on an aviation theme i have been given the name of Nigel Ponsford who we think may be (or have been) connected with the Midland Aircraft Museum, I am keen to get in contact with him.

I am currently looking into the prototype Luton Minor (G-AEPD), all the records so far confirm that it was sold to AJ Cook of Anstruther, I can find nothing on AJ Cook? Also looking at a map of the area round Anstruther and a search for airfields nothing comes up so is it likely that this was a home address on the CAA record and not airfield?

Also connected with G-AEPD I have been told that at some time AJ Cook may have kept the aircraft at Dumbarton before it was destroyed (by a car!).... again no references to an airfield at Dumbarton, was there any other military/civil site that could explain why it was kept here???


Nigel Ponsford purchased a pair of Luton Minor wings off the Midland Air Museum (which evolved out of the Midland Aircraft Preservation Society) some years ago.
I had been on a "wrecks and relics" trip with Bob Ogden (camping, travelling in his Mini Cooper S) around North England/South-Mid Scotland (c. 1970)when we found a pair of Luton Minor wings in the roof of a barn on a farm in the Edinburgh area (working from memory here). Not a million miles from Anstruther we thought they could be from G-AEPD. We negotiated acquisition for the MAPS and, a few weeks later, I drove the Society's J4 van up from Coventry to get them down and transport (on the roof). They had many years of dust/cr*p on them. Painted dark blue there was no evidence of any markings on them (photos of G-AEPD I think show the registration under the wings) but we still thought they could be from the prototype. We were told that the aeroplane had been run into by a car and only the wings saved and stored in the roof. The MAPS registered them as a rebuild project and acquired the registration G-BAPC (BAPC = British Aviation Preservation Council) but nothing towards a rebuild was actually done.

As I said they were eventually disposed of to Nigel Ponsford who has/had quite an interest in Luton Minors. I don't know Nigel myself - but I know a man who does :-) Will try and get contact details (unless anyone else comes up with them).

Roger Smith.

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The glider factory in Dunstable could be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dart_Aircraft

I shall try and research further glider factories in Dunstable.

Merry Christmas

I think I may have some GA drawings of the Kitten and a folding-wing project called the "Pussy Cat" in the loft. I'll dig around!

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Nigel Ponsford purchased a pair of Luton Minor wings off the Midland Air Museum (which evolved out of the Midland Aircraft Preservation Society) some years ago.
I had been on a "wrecks and relics" trip with Bob Ogden (camping, travelling in his Mini Cooper S) around North England/South-Mid Scotland (c. 1970)when we found a pair of Luton Minor wings in the roof of a barn on a farm in the Edinburgh area (working from memory here). Roger Smith.

Could these have been the wings in question?

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I have sent Jenna, Nigel Pondsfords details, I also rememeber Nigel telling me that he had the rudder? of the Dart Kitten 111 G-AMJP.

Dave

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Grice & Young. My Dad worked for them in Dunstable for a short period of time. This would be post 2nd world war and from memory it was along London Road in Dunstable and he made tow bars.

I will ask him later about any memories of the aviation scene in Dunstable as he has lived there for most of his life.

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Just been checking my book on Dunstable at war. The gentleman who lives up the road said in it, Grice and Young had a factory on the corner of Matthew st and Albion st. Which i thought it was. A workshop in Nicholas lane, which it think is between what is now Nationwide and the quadrant? They also had a workshop built towards the end of the war, near Garden rd. Plus a factory at Christchurch, near Bournemouth. Is this the same factory Scott aircraft had with slazenger, if my memory is correct. Grice and Young eventually had a work force of about 200 people in Dunstable making parts for Mosquitoes, Horsa and undercarriages for Proctors and other aircraft.

Dave

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Marendaz Mk III

Here's a photo of the empennage of the unfinished first prototype - possibly the one lost in the fire!

This one was designed and built by Geoffrey Wikner (of Wicko fame) after he left Miles Aircraft at Woodley but before he designed the Wicko G.M.1.

Tommy Rose introduced him to Marendaz, who funded the project for a wire-braced monoplane which was to have been powered by a Pobjoy radial. It was built during 1935-36 (I don't know where) but Marendaz broke the verbal contract and Wikner stopped work. (I now think it was built in the Cornwallis Works, Maidenhead ... see later posts.)

He told me that it was later redesigned as a four-seater powered by a Gipsy Six - the Marendaz Mk III. So I wonder if this was the Mk I or II ?

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b202/aero101/Marendaz.jpg