Pictures of Barton Le Clay
Submitted by jenna leigh-thompson(22nd November 2008)
Barton Aerodrome circa 1935
more information can be found on the Barton Le Clay community website (www.bartonleclay org) This aerial photo shows the long forgotten Barton Aerodrome shortly after its opening in January 1935, the picture clearly shows the main hangers and control tower (at the top) and the concrete buildings used by the flying school (at the bottom). Sadly there is no evidence of the Bedford Flying School buildings any more as they were demolished to make way for the new parcel distribution building not so long ago, the ‘hangers’ occupied by Luton Aircraft Ltd though still do exist having recently been refurbished. The control tower that was located between the hangers and Faldo Farm was demolished about 10 years ago and is now a small car park. The hangers were taken over by International Aircraft & Engineering Ltd in 1936 and later were used as part of the remote landing ground (RLG) set up by the Air Transport Auxiliary(ATA) in 1941 through to 1943. Whilst being used by Luton Aircraft a number of light aircraft were both designed and built at the aerodrome this included the Luton Buzzard, the prototype Luton Minor, the Marendaz Trainer and Marendaz MkIII to name just a few..... the hangers were also were CH Latimer-Needham wrote the aircraft design book that was used by the Bill Finch and other Colditz prisoners as the basis for what is widely called the most audacious escape plan from the castle, The Colditz C0ck. The airfield was used as a turning point in the 1938 Kings Cup Air Race, along with Buntingford and the start finish of each lap at the De Havilland factory at Hatfield. The Bedford School of Flying after the air race had finished played host to a small air show were its aircraft were shown off to the village residents and celebrations were held at the clubhouse into the evening. The Bedford School of Flying played host to many people of note, Amy Johnson was a regular guest alone with many key people linked to the development of light aviation at the time and later in history. More information on Barton Aerodrome can be found at www.bartonleclay.org
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