SOUTHAMPTON Eastleigh
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Updated 6 Dec 2014.

See also "Naval Air Station Eastleigh."The US Navy at Eastleigh during WW1

GDCC,later GASA,later(1960)EGHI
.Lat/Long 50 57 00N /01 21 35W .
Grid ref SU 452168 .
37 feet ASL.
Ident "JD" later "SO",
4 Miles NNE of Southampton

RUNWAYS :Grass - 21/03 3800 ft-later extended to 5050ft(1952).NE/SW 3080 ft.ENE/WSW
3750 ft.Concrete 03/21 1679x37m.

Eastleigh:As shown on map in 1920s.
sammap
Eastleigh: Grass runway layout in early 50s.

The site at North Stoneham Farm was first used for aviation on 1st June 1910 when Rowland Moon took to the air in his tractor monoplane "Moonbeam II".He had built this machine in the Wool House(near the Royal Pier),now the Maritime Museum and had moved his flying attempts to North Stoneham from the site of his earlier attempts from a paddock behind Paultons House(Romsey).

During 1910 and 1911 the field was also used by Graham White and Maurice Tetard,but nothing further occurred until the War Office decided to build an Aircraft Acceptance Park on the site in 1917.Before completion the site was handed over to the US Naval Air Service as NAS Eastleigh on 23/7/18.The USN used Eastleigh for the assembly and flight testing of aircraft destined for the war front in France until 10/4/19 when the site passed back to RAF control.Picture below shows Handley-Page 0/400 C9758 at Eastleigh in 1919.

The RAF pulled out in January 1920 and the station closed officially in May of that year.However for the next 12 years civil. aircraft continued to use the airfield as an unlicensed landing ground,and the buildings(known as Atlantic Park) were used to house immigrants en route to the USA. In 1931 the Southampton Gliding Club operated from the site.

1926 picture of Surrey Flying Services Avro 536 G-EAKP -
joy flights from the site that later became the Ford Factory.

In 1929 the Southampton Council purchased the land and,in November 1932 officially reopened the airport.Airline services started in 1934,and in 1935 the Fleet Air Arm started using a site in the NE corner of the airfield as "RAF Eastleigh",but the name was changed to RAF Southampton on 1/8/36(this was later to become HMS Raven on 1/7/39).In 1936 Supermarine moved in ,setting up a flight test facility from where the Spitfire made its first flight.In addition Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft built a factory on the southern edge of the airfield with the intention of building the Burnelli Flying Wing,a project which did not proceed beyond assembling the first aircraft.

Eastleigh after the building of the concrete runway.On the left ,the layout about 1970,and on the right showing the close proximity of the motorway built later across the extreme southern end of the airfield."A" is the location of the Cunliffe-Owen factory of the 30/40s- now Ford Motor Company ."B" is the terminal area.Below is a recent airshot.

With the coming of WW2,Eastleigh was used by the FAA mainly for training,and the other main activity became the production of Spitfires by both Supermarine with Cunliffe-Owen concentrating on repair and modification to Spitfires and a host of other aircraft types.Later in the war Cunliffe-Owen undertook production of Seafires.

Above:Miles Falcon G-AFBF at Eastleigh in 1946, shortly after restoration from war service as AV973.
The picture above , from Trevor Jago, shows his uncle Bill Tucker (- on right) and a "Bert Bosanquet" at Eastliegh where they worked for Supermarine . The three aircraft are Spitfire TR.IXs and the photo was probably taken around March 1948.

After the War Eastleigh returned to civil control April 1946,the airfield being operated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.Supermarine remained, as did Cunliffe-Owen,the former concentrating on component production,and the latter building their Concordia aircraft.This was a feeder -liner type but the project was abandoned before the second aircraft was completed.These two companies were joined at Eastleigh by Cierva who built the Airhorse and also the Skeeter.Airline services, resumed in 1945,continued to prosper,but the various manufacturers started to disappear,Supermarine moving flying activities to Chilbolton and Cunliffe Owen closing down their factory and selling it to Ford.In 1951 Saro took over Cierva and continued production of the Skeeter.

skeeter
The picture above shows Skeeter 5 G-AMDC (c/n SR907) over an Army Morris LC5 Ambulance.As the Army never used the Skeeter for CaseVac,the origins of this photo are unknown.As G-AMDC was reregistered as G-AMTZ in 1952 the photo must have been taken before that happened. If anyone has any information about this please Email me at "daveg4otu@aol.com".The photo came via Pat Honey from Wadhams at Waterlooville .

Downloadable files showing aircraft production at Eastliegh are available on my website "Aviation in Hampshire UK 1900 to 2000".

A well known figure at Eastleigh during the late 40s , 50s and 60s was Viv Bellamy.He operated the Hampshire Aero Club,overhauled and rebuilt aircraft, including the Gloster Gladiator G-AMRK.In the 60s he became involved in building light aircraft - mainly flying replicas for film work though much of this activity took plave at Lands End.A page of reminiscences about Viv Bellamy and Eastleigh Airport by J.B."Tommy" Thompson can be found here.

During the 1950s a mainstay of business for the airport was the Cross channel car ferry service operated by Silver City Airways using Bristol Freighters and Superfreighters.Below are two contemporary postcards showing these aircraft.

In 1965 a new concrete runway was built,opening for use in 1966 ,enabling the operation of larger aircraft.Since then traffic at Eastleigh ,nowadays known as Southampton International Airport,has continued to increase.In addition there is substantial general aviation activity.Ownership of the airfield has changed several times but Eastleigh's future seems secure well into the 21st century.

The Southampton International Airport Mailing Group at Yahoo provides very up-to-the-minute information on all movements etc. at Southampton.You need to follow the link and join the group to receive the Emails(Either individually or as a daily digest)

For a detailed history of Eastleigh,I recommend reading"Southampton/Eastleigh Airport" by David Hatchard(published in 1990 by Kingfisher Publications)

RAF Units

22 Sq,Vildebeeste,arr 11/37(?),dep 3/38
28 Sq(cadre only) arr 20/10/19 disbanded 20/1/20
42 Sq ,Vildebeeste,detachment arr 9/37,dep 11/3/38.
45 Sq(cadre only)arr 15/10/19,disbanded 31/12/19.
101 Sq(cadre only)arr 11/10/19,disbanded 31/12/19.
201SQ(cadre only),arr 2/9/19,disbanded 31/12/19.
224 SQ,Anson,arr 17/1/38,dep 26/3/38.
269 Sq,Anson,arr 17/1/38,dep 24/3/38
266 Sq,Spitfire,arr 12/8/40,dep 14/8/40
Southampton University Air Sq,Tiger Moth,arr 18/10/46,dep 1947
HMS RAVEN,FAA Units
716 Sq,Barracuda/Wellington,arr 7/44,disbanded 8/45
758 Sq,Osprey/Shark/Skua/Proctor,formed from the Observer and Signals School 1/7/39,dep 14/10/40
759 Sq,Skua/Roc/Sea Gladiator,Formed 1/11/39,dep 16/9/40.
760 Sq,Skua/Roc/Sea Gladiator,formed 1/4/40 ,dep 16/9/40
780 Sq,Tiger Moth/Hart/Shark arr 10/39,dep 7/10/40
800 Sq,Nimrod/Osprey, arr 7/36.
801 Sq,Nimrod/Osprey arr 7/36
802 Sq,here during 1936
806 Sq,Skua/Roc,Formed 15/2/40,dep 3/40.returned 7/40 and re-equipped with Fulmar,dep 8/40
810 Sq,Swordfish,arr 11/38
811 Sq,Swordfish,arr 1/7/39,dep 8/39
812 Sq Swordfish,arr 1/7/39,dep 8/39
814 Sq,Swordfish,formed 21/11/38,dep ?.
821 Sq,Swordfish,arr 1/7/39,dep 8/39
822 Sq,Seal/Shark arr 7/36.absorbed by 767 Sq 5/39.
822A Sq,Swordfish, formed from part of above and became 822 Sq,dep 12/8/39 1/7/39
806 SQ,Skua/Roc, arr 2/40
924 Balloon Barrage Sq ,arr 29/6/40
Left-:K9793 the seventh production Spitfire.Right -: VZ724 The Cierva Airhorse with a Cierva Skeeter behind.

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