Anthony P. Cusworth

Anthony P Cusworth

Commandant of Southend Airport from 1964 to 1978(?)

Mr Cusworth grew up in Leigh-on-sea, Essex and developed a huge interest in aviation as a boy. He went on to join the Army, training to become a radio operator and air gunner prior to the outbreak of WWII, after which, he went on to serve with 2 Squadron on Army-Coop Lysanders that were at the time, operating over France. He was also present at Dunkirk and was lifted from the water by HMS Jaguar after having been unceremoniously dumped into the Channel during the evacuation. He later went on to fly on Sunderlands with 204 Squadron and was again, pulled from the sea on more than one occasion after having to ditch while on operations. His third incident involved his aircraft summarily colliding with a mountain in Iceland and of the 13 man crew, only four, including Mr Cusworth, would survive.

After the war, he went on to serve in a number of important rolls, which initially took him to the A&AEE at Boscombe Down where he flew alongside test pilots in a number of prototypes. He later went on to become a Flying Control Officer and was dispatched to India where he would gain his pilot’s licence. His next posting would see Mr Cusworth serving as a Staff Officer to the Supreme Commander of South East Asia, before finally returning to home soil where he would spent time instructing at the Joint Military and Civil Air Traffic Control School at Shawbury. His last postings would see him taking control of the Black Arrow display team at North Weald and a short period of service with 604 Squadron after which, he retired from the services as a Flight Lieutenant.

It was in 1956 that Mr Cusworth would arrive at the airport to take up the roll of Senior Air Traffic Controller, while at the same time, working as the Deputy Commandant under Mr Bernard Collins. In 1964, he would go on to succeed Mr Collins as Commandant and during his tenure, was instrumental in helping SEN grow into one of the UK’s most successful airports under his stewardship. While he was known to occasionally invoke the ire of some that he worked with, no doubt due to his military background and ‘old school’ attitude and mannerisms, it cannot be denied that during the 1960s, Mr Cusworth played a pivotal roll in helping Southend to become the second busiest airport in the UK in terms of the amount of freight flights that frequented the airport.


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