A Fleeting Peace

Golden-Age Aviation in the British Empire


The 1930 Heston Spring Flying Cruise to Germany, and the Rallye Aerien at the Chateau d'Ardenne on May 17-18

provide a fascinating snapshot (honest) of the sort of thing that rich and/or air-minded Brits did in 1930. These 30 or so people knew each other, bought aeroplanes off each other,  attended each others' weddings and dances, and sometimes even got engaged to each other. Rather a large proportion of them appear in Burke's Peerage.

They must have had a splendid time.

 The Heston Spring Flying Cruise to Germany

Edith Chalmers, Adelaide Cleaver, Sir Sefton Brancker, Rosalind Norman and Connie Leathart before the start

[Sir Sefton Brancker, the Controller of Civil Aviation, was killed in the R101 crash a few months later].

"The tour, which started from Heston on Thursday morning, April 17, merits quite a large amount of thanks from the British Aircraft industry because probably there is nothing which could have been done at the present time which will so successfully bring before all those interested on the continent, the fact that our aircraft are eminently suitable for journeys of comparatively long range.

The entire party had lunch on board the Graf Zeppelin at Friedrichshafen, and were shown over the Dornier Do. X. The visit to the Wasserkuppe Gliding School had to be cut out owing to the weather."

"the Easter party from Heston ... was received with the utmost cordiality and friendliness during the recent tour of Europe. Whatever may apply to the general public, the aviation folk of the different countries entertain nothing but the greatest goodwill towards each other, and that is why we welcome sincerely and enthusiastically such visits as that of the Graf Zeppelin [it appeared over Wembley Stadium, to less-than-universal acclaim], and such tours as that of the Heston party. The more we have of that sort of intercourse with each other, the less likelihood is there of any traces of unfriendly feelings remaining."

The Ralleye Aerien

 the crowd  Air Tour Chateau dArdenne 17 18 May 1930 Selfridge Clarkson etc 0103-0003

Susan Slade and Adelaide Cleaver, amongst the crowd. Gordon Selfridge was there, of course...

"On Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18, the Chateau d'Ardennes, near Dinant, was the scene of a very successful 'Aerial week-end,' which was organised by the Brussels Aero Club.

The aerodrome, which is rather under a mile from the chateau in an E.S.E. direction, is somewhat tricky, and even some of the  well-experienced visiting pilots were glad of the cordon of helpers who were drawn up ready to help them on landing, and prevent them running into the far hedges.

The party of about 20 machines, of which a large percentage was from England, gathered at Brussels on Saturday morning, where they were entertained to lunch by the Aero Club, after which they left for the Chateau. In the evening there was dinner, with a dance afterwards. The following morning was spent in seeing the Chateau and its beautiful grounds, and after lunch the visitors departed.

Among those who attended from this country were Lady Bailey, Mrs. Cleaver, Miss Slade, Miss Spooner, and Messrs. Norman, Muntz, McClure, Wills, and Cubitt.

Quite a wide range of machines was to be seen from a Belgian Handley-Page, down through St. Huberts, Moths, Avians and Bluebirds, to an old Caudron, of about the year 1914."

Nigel Norman's Moth, G-AAHI, on the left

 The Heston 1930 Aerial Tour to Germany

heston aerial tour 1930

l to r: Rosalind, Harald, ?, Nora, Adelaide, John, Sefton, Ivor, Valentine, Geoffrey, Edith, ?, Harry, ?, Philip, ?, Archibald, Walter, Connie (click to enlarge)

Aeroplane Pilot - click on links for more Passenger
G-AALX  DH.60M Moth   Jack Cantrill   R. A. Williams (Mechanic)

DH.60G Gipsy Moth

Hubert Broad flew it in the King's Cup, 1928

This aircraft belonged to Violet Baring (so I hope Valentine asked before he borrowed it).

It (and Violet, and Philip Noble) crashed at Arborfield on 18 Jul 31 - report here

Valentine Baker    

 DH.60G Gipsy Moth

Lord Malcolm Douglas Hamilton    

DH.60G Gipsy Moth

First Reg Nov 1928 Crashed nr Malton 24.6.34

John Chalmers Edith Chalmers
G-AAVY DH.60G Gipsy Moth Adelaide Cleaver   D. Cameron
G-AAVS Klemm L26 aII   Roderick Denman    Dr. E.W. Read

DH.60G Gipsy Moth

First Reg May 1929. Canc 8.1.47 pts used on G-AAWO restored 9.6.93

Nigel Norman Rosalind Norman
G-AALV DH.60G Gipsy Moth   Archibald Downes-Shaw    

DH.60M Moth

This is the aircraft that Oscar Garden flew to Australia in October/November 1930.

  Harry Selfridge    
G-AAHU DH.60G Gipsy Moth   John Shand   Susan Slade
G-AAAA DH.60G Gipsy Moth, registered Jul 1928. Impressed 6.2.40 Used as decoy.   Ivor McClure    

Desoutter I

First Reg Jan 1930 to National Flying Services, Hanworth. Impressed 31.8.41 Scrapped East Cowes 6.42

  Alan Muntz   Mrs. Mary Muntz

Blackburn L.1C Bluebird IV

First Reg May 1930. Sold abroad 6.35

  Harald Peake   Richard Atcherley
G-AABI DH.60G Gipsy Moth   Geoffrey Ambler    
G-AALF DH.60M Moth   John Turner    

DH.60G Gipsy Moth

First Reg Aug 1928 to Winifred Spooner. Crashed on takeoff Lea 21.8.39

  John Bryans    
G-EBOI DH.60 Moth   Philip Wills    
G-AASY DH.60G Gipsy Moth   Robert Perkins    

DH.60X Moth. 'Peridot I'

First Reg 31.5.27 to ACM Jackaman.

Crashed into and remained in tree at Canute Air Park, Ashingdon, Essex 20.6.36. Regn cld 9.36.

  Walter Macpherson   Miss Macpherson

  DH.60X Moth

First Reg. Mar 1928 to Alan Muntz.

Crashed Nazeing, Essex 24.3.34; passenger Norman Bartholemew killed.

  Walter Runciman   Connie Leathart
G-AAIB D.H.60G Gipsy Moth   Nora Trevelyan    

Westland Widgeon III

First Reg Mar 1927. Wfu 23.3.38 scrapped

  Ralph Cochrane    
website security