Robert Nigel Hill

In September 2015 we were contacted by Michael Hill whose Father (Robert Nigel Hill) learned to fly at Yapton Aero Club in the 1930s. Michael's family kindly offered to loan us the memorabilia they have.

As a member of Yapton Aero Club, my late Father took his first Solo Flight on the 15/01/1937 in a Tiger Moth G-EBZL at Ford. Further details can be found in his Pilot's Log Book.

He was born in Moffat 1918 to a Robert Simon Hill, a Science Teacher and Top Amateur Golfer at Moffat Golf Club. He was nicknamed Botany Bob and was 48 when Dad was born, so I do not have much later history. We think that they retired to the Chichester area and thus the reason Dad was living in that area.

Dad was living at Birnock, Birdham Road, Chichester, Sussex. I think it has since been demolished as I could not find it. He spoke of a Flying Circus, (Alan Cobham?), and suggested that he flew with it, but he was a bit of a storyteller.

Dad was unable to fly during the war due to health reasons. We have some photos of him next to planes, but they have no history with them.

Michael Hill
October 2015

Robert Nigel Hill ("Bob") learned to fly at Yapton Aero Club (Ford Aerodrome) taking his first flight on 2nd December 1936, in de Havilland Gipsy Moth registration G-AADB. Other lessons followed (mostly in other Gipsy Moth's: G-EBZL but also in G-EBUS). Over the course of 6 weeks he undertook 13 flights and flew his first solo after 7 hours 40 minutes instruction.

Image copyright: DH Moth Club


More training flights with W.J. Alington ("Chief Instructor") followed, including 6 solo flights. After just under 14 hours flying time he was granted his Aviators Certificate from The Royal Aero Club on 15th April 1937.


See G-EBZL in flight in the Pathé "Air Girls" film from 1931.

We are deeply indebted to Michael Hill and the Hill family for passing on this information and allowing us to borrow their family memorabilia.

GJ Westcott
December 2016


Thanks to Michael Hill for many of the links to information used on this page. G-EBZL photo from Arborfield Local History Society. Family history of Robert Nigel Hill.