20 E&RFTS, Gravesend
Hawker Harts of 20 ERFTS at Gravesend. The school's Tiger Moths can be seen inside the hangar.
In October 1937 arranged
were made with the Air Ministry for Gravesend airport to be used as a training
school under the rearmament programme.
The establishment of No. 20 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School resulted in a rapid influx of service machines to Gravesend
and the available flying hours were fully utilised to train as many pilots as possible. A contract was also obtained by Airports Ltd.
to teach Royal Navy pupils to fly and the White Ensign was added to the airport flagpole.
Four Air Courses of 30 students
carried out their ab initio flying training at 20 ERFTS Gravesend in 1939
- 3, 4, 5 and 6 Air Courses.
Below are listed the students on these courses. Those marked * are known to have flown N-5490.
From the surviving pilots' logbooks, this spreadsheet lists all of N-5490's Service flying that has been traced to date.
Number 3 Air Course
Course commenced 6.3.39
No. 3 Air Course Officers,
Midshipmen and instructors in front of a school Tiger Moth.
The instructors are seated in the front row. Third from the left is F/O Matthews (who taught Amy Johnson to fly),
Fourth from the left is F/O Spanton. Fifth from the left is F/O Kirchner and sixth from the left is Flt. Lt. Tatnall, the Officer in charge of the school.
F/O Matthews and F/O Spanton were killed and Midshipman Colin Hodgkinson lost both legs following a mid-air
collision between two Tiger Moths just south of the airport in May 1939. Hodgkinson later retrained and flew operations
in Spitifres during the war. Lieutenant Francklin is seated extreme right, front row.
The twelve Sub Lieutenants and Acting Sub Lieutenants are standing in the second row (no white flashes on their lapels).
|Lieutenant (A) Malvorn Baldwin Philip Francklin||Acting Sub Lt. (A) Murray Francis Sanders Peake Willcocks||Midshipman (A) Basil Henry St. Andrew Hurle Hurle-Hobbs|
|Sub Lieutenant (A) D. C. E. F Gibson||Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) John Oswald Benson Young||Midshipman (A) Crawford John Edwards Jones|
|Sub Lieutenant (A) G. F. Russell||Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) John Ferraby Olsen||Midshipman (A) Roger Malcolm Brennen Kettle|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Evan David||Midshipman (A) George Roy Marchand Sutton||Midshipman (A) James V. Reed|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Ivan Lawrence Firth Lowe *||Midshipman (A) John Savile Bailey *||Midshipman (A) Ivor Morgan Macleod Rees|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Angus Sydney Douglas Macaulay||Midshipman (A) Richard Edward 'Dick' Bartlett||Midshipman (A) Oswald Withington Tattersall|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Walter de Garis Martin||Midshipman (A) Gerald Frank Shewell Brian||Midshipman (A) James W. M. Thom|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) John Edwin Howard Myers||Midshipman (A) Michael Thomas Maude Brooke||Midshipman (A) Douglas Percy Wellings|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Victor Edgar Sorapure||Midshipman (A) John Clutha Casey||Midshipman (A) Valentine James Nicholas John Gibbs|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) John Chute Thompson||Midshipman (A) Francis Allen Harrison Harley||Midshipman (A) Ian Roland Ritchie|
This is a photo of No. 3
Course, 1 SFTS Netheravon taken some time before 3rd June 1939 (because
Midshipman James Thom, back row, third from left, was killed in a road
accident on that date).
All but five of 3 Air Course, 20 ERFTS are depicted. Midshipman James Reed was killed in an air crash 15/6/39 and Midshipmen John Casey and Roger Kettle died at Netheravon when their Harvards collided
during formation flying practice.
(1 FTS was formed at Netheravon
on 23rd December 1919 from the Netheravon Flying School, within No 7 Group.
It flew Avro 504K's, Sopwith Snipes DH9A's, and Bristol F2B's.
It was responsible for the training of Royal Naval officers for secondment to the Fleet Air Arm until 15th February 1928, when this role was transferred to the RAF Training Base at Leuchars.
No 1 FTS disbanded on 1st February 1931.
It was reformed by renaming
RAF Base Leuchars on 1st April 1935, continuing its previous role of training
RN officers for the FAA. In August 1938 it returned to Netheravon
and on 1st September 1939
was renamed No 1 Service Flying Training School. It disbanded again on 7th March 1942 when Netheravon was allocated to No 30 Wing, Army Co-operation Command.)
Number 4 Air Course
Course commenced 1.5.39
Midshipman (A) 'Steady' Tuke is extreme right, third row back.
|Acting Sub Lt. (A) Colin Jonathan Irving Cunningham||Midshipman (A) Herbert Allenby Cheetham||Midshipman (A) Robert Walter Kearsley|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Harry Melbourne Howard||Midshipman (A) Francis Roper Crabbe||Midshipman (A) Samuel Paul Luke|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Clifford James Wynne Kindell||Midshipman (A) Thomas Louis Crookston||Midshipman (A) David Kenneth Marks|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Sydney Lyver||Midshipman (A) John Richard Crossley||Midshipman (A) Patrick Hugh Moss|
|Midshipman (A) Michael Hugh Neale Allen||Midshipman (A) Anthony Victor 'Tony' Day||Midshipman (A) John Trevor Nicholson|
|Midshipman (A) John Leslie Appleby||Midshipman (A) Anthony Jex-Blake Forde||Midshipman (A) Arthur Taylor|
|Midshipman (A) Cecil Patrick Bailey||Midshipman (A) Leonard Henry Gallagher||Midshipman (A) Stanley Timbs|
|Midshipman (A) Alexander Herbert Blacow||Midshipman (A) Arthur Stephen Griffith||Midshipman (A) Anthony Montague 'Steady' Tuke *|
|Midshipman (A) Richard Edward 'Bobby' Bradshaw *||Midshipman (A) Colin Gerald Shaw 'Hoppy' Hodgkinson||Midshipman (A) Peter Denis Urwin|
|Midshipman (A) Philip Noel Charlton||Midshipman (A) Patrick Bernard Jackson||Midshipman (A) Owen Edmund Brownlow-Wray|
Number 5 Air Course
Course commenced 26.6.39
Instructors (Front Row L
Rathbone, Higgins, Oliver, Porter, Kirchner, (C.I.) Tatnall, Hymans, Stanard (C.G.I.), unknown, Jamieson.
Porter's pupils were Delafield, Martin, Bramah, and Watts.
Derek Martin (fourth from the left, top row) resigned from the R.N. in 1966 as a Lt. Cdr. He was shot down over Norway and,
later in the war, was a P.O.W. at the same camp as Porter - Stalag Luft III, Sagan. He now lives in Devon. His uncle,
who Porter also met at Gravesend before the war, was his A.O.C. for a short while.
|Lieutenant (A) Guy Desmond D’Esterre Lyver||Midshipman (A) Anthony William Duncan Beale||Midshipman (A) A. F. Keith|
|Sub Lieutenant (A) J. M. Christian||Midshipman (A) Henry George Kenelm Bramah||Midshipman (A) Michael John 'Mike' Lithgow *|
|Sub Lieutenant (A) John Ramsay Corson Callander||Midshipman (A) Raymond Stanley Charlier *||Midshipman (A) Derek T. R. Martin|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Michael Stapylton Godson||Midshipman (A) Patrick Charles Stuart 'Pat' Chilton||Midshipman (A) Barry Hamilton Codrington Nation|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) John Vernon Hartley||Midshipman (A) Donald Bawden Delafield||Midshipman (A) Mark Cecil Nicholson|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) Frederick Arthur Lawson||Midshipman (A) Dennis Stanley Edmonson||Midshipman (A) Ronald George Oakshott|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) William Henry Stephens||Midshipman (A) Leslie Alan Edwards||Midshipman (A) Derek Bryant Allen Smith|
|Acting Sub Lieutenant (A) John Arthur Welply||Midshipman (A) Barry Pawlet Grigson||Midshipman (A) Arthur George Leonard Sutton|
|Midshipman (A) George Clifton Baldwin||Midshipman (A) Richard Frazer Hearne||Midshipman (A) Christopher Treen|
|Midshipman (A) Alwyn Balmer||Midshipman (A) John Harrington Jefford||Midshipman (A) Alban Bernard Ralph Watts|
Number 6 Air Course
Course commenced 28.8.39
Number 6 Air Course commenced
just one week before the declaration of war.
On the outbreak of war on September 3rd 1939, Gravesend was requisitioned by the Air Ministry and became a satellite base for nearby RAF Biggin Hill.
20 ERFTS was quickly evacuated to Castle Bromwich, near Birmingham.
The course list is currently being researched.
|Midshipman (A) James Orlando Burr|
|R. J. 'Dickie' Cork|
|Peter John Patterson|
|Richard Exton 'Jimmy' Gardner|
|Sub Lieutenant (A) Arthur Giles Blake|
And here are the 20 ERFTS instructors:
Flt. Lt. Hugh James Felce Le Good
F/O Higgins *
Sgt Hymans *
Mr. Jamieson *
Flt. Lt. Johnson
Flt. Lt. King
F/O L. G. A. Kirchner *
F/O Froude Ridler Matthews
F/O Reuben Michael Noblston
(Promoted to Flt Lt 27.6.39, killed on active service 2.3.1940. Here is his tombstone.)
Flt. Lt. Nugent
F/O Oliver *
P/O Geoffrey Hall 'Pop' Porter *
Mr. Rathbone *
F/O John Fyrley Spanton
Mr. Stanard (Chief Ground Instructor) *
Flt Lt James Benjamin Tatnall (the CO and Chief Instructor of 20 ERFTS)
Lt Rupert C Tillard, RN
RAF Volunteer Reserve
Peter Douglas Thompson
21 EFTS, RAF Booker
The following pilots flew
N-5490 at 21 EFTS, RAF Booker in 1949.
Jim Hutchings is the only living pilot traced so far that flew N-5490 during its RAF service life.
Jim W Hutchings, DFM*
21 EFTS instructors that flew N-5490:
Finally, a tribute to my parents:
Bill and Clarice Grace
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