Review of Meetings 2011 (contd.)

July - August

The Yapton & Ford Local History Group’s July meeting was addressed by member Andrew Foster. He advised the members about undertaking research using Parish Church Histories and records. These records contain a wealth of information for the local historian and Andrew explained, and gave examples, of the best way to go about locating and extracting this material.

There being no scheduled meeting for August, a field trip to High Salvington’s working windmill was arranged for Saturday 6th. The mill was opened especially for the group and guided tours were given to smaller groups of 6 to 8 people at a time from the party.

Allen Misselbrook
September 2011



For their last meeting of 2011, the members and guests of the Yapton & Ford Local History Group were given a potted history of Ford Airfield by their Chairman, Allen Misselbrook. 

The room was packed to hear how, in 1917, the airfield was built in response to the rapidly increasing RFC and the requirements of the Americans with their entry into WWI. Following the Armistice it had to be closed again in 1920 after being used for demobilising squadrons retuning from France.

Allen then went on to give a brief description of the companies, and their activities, which had made the airfield their home once flying had started again in 1930. Companies such as DW Aviation from Brooklands, Ford Motor Company with their Tri-Motors and Rollason Aviation Ltd. who set up Yapton Aero Club. The world renowned aviator Sir Alan Cobham made Ford his HQ for his Flying Circus as well as setting up his company Flight Refuelling Ltd there.

Several members joined in with their memories of Ford when it was taken over again by the Air Ministry and expanded before being commissioned by the Navy as HMS Peregrine. Following the Air Raid in 1940 the airfield was taken over by the RAF and put into service developing night fighting techniques as well as being used to attack occupied Europe.

The post war years after the Navy had returned were well remembered by some of the members who shared their knowledge with the rest of the Group. The talk ended at the point where the Navy left in l959.

There followed a re-run of the slide show shown at the Ford Exhibition given by the Group to recognise the 70th Anniversary of the bombing of Ford Airfield by the Luftwaffe, covering the 40 years of flying at Ford. After a question and answer session the members and guests enjoyed a seasonal drink and refreshments.

Allen Misselbrook
January 2012