HYTHE
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Lat/Long :50 52 06N/01 23 38W .Grid Ref SU 429077.

Hythe Air Shot
Hythe as seen from the air in 1937 .On the ramp is a "C" Class flying boat of Imperial Airways(G-ADVC c/n S.820).The aircraft in the foreground is a S-42A of Pan American.

The first marine aviation activity at Hythe was the building during WW1 by the Admiralty ,of some sheds on Shore Road for flying boat construction .These sheds were taken over by May,Harden and May and used for the construction of about 50 Felixstowe flying boat hulls.In addition 20 Porte Babies,two Pheonix P5 and the Fairey Atalanta were built there.In all cases final assembly was undertaken elsewhere.

Supermarine took over use of the sheds at Hythe and assembled seaplanes,mainly Southamptons, Seagulls and Walruses there.

For downloadable files with details of May,Harden and May,and also Supermarine aircraft production,follow the link to" Aviation in Hampshire 1900 to 2000 at the foot of this page.

Top:G-ADHL Short S.23 Empire("C"Class), c/n S.795,"Canopus" of Imperial Airways.Lower:NC822M Sikorsky S-42 of Pan American Airways.
A Sikorsky S-42 at Hythe- date unknown (photo via John Levesley)

In the late 30s,Imperial Airways rented some of Supermarine's buildings at Hythe .for use as a maintenance base for the Empire flying boats.Regular services were established in March 1937 to the Middle East,and in June 37 to South and East Africa.On 8th July 1937 the first transatlantic proving flights were made by Short S.23 G-ADHM"Caledonia",and by a Pan American S-42A.

Top: Empire Class G-AEUF .Lower: VH-ABD.Both at Hythe.
Empire Class G-ADVB at Hythe.
G-AEUD at Hythe.

Imperial Airways became part of BOAC in 1940 and continued to use Hythe as a maintenance base until the finish of flying boat services in November 1950.However the passenger terminal was moved to Southampton Docks in March 1938,then, during WW2 ,to Hamworthy(Poole).Post war ,operations were moved back to Southampton Docks,where they remained until the termination of flying boat services. For more information on operation from Southampton Docks see the Southampton Docks page. BELOW:Short Solent G-AHIY at Hythe.

Hythe Air Shot

Later,from 1967, the facilities were used by the US Field Army Support Brigade/Combat Equipment Battalion-Hythe mainly for small boat repairs.THere was a helipad at 50.52N/01.23W.The base became known as RAF Hythe.The US Army left in Sept.2006.

Although flying boats are now distant memories,the buildings at Hythe were still in existence at the end of the 20th century.


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