The Pilots


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 to R):
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) Parick 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:

Mr. Elliot

Flt. Lt. Hugh James Felce Le Good

F/O Higgins

P/O Hyams

Sgt Hymans *

Mr. Jamieson *

Flt. Lt. Johnson

Flt. Lt. King

F/O L. G. A. Kirchner *

Sgt. Males

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

Mr. Willis

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:

P/I Jarvis*

Sgt. Bowles*

Sgt. Quarrington

Finally, a tribute to my parents:

Bill and Clarice Grace


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