De Havilland D.H.104 Dove 1B – c/n 04114

With Channel from Mar 1957 to Jun 1960

By a margin of just one day, this Dove would be the very last of her kind to be delivered to Channel Airways, arriving at Southend on March 11th 1957. The aircraft spent a short period of time away undergoing conversion to a 1B aircraft before starting operations with the airline on April 17th, flying between Southend and Rotterdam. She would continue to operate the cross-Channel services for much of the rest of the year, although with the arrival of Channel’s first Bristol Wayfarer, she was sometimes called upon to ferry passengers into Southend on the feeder routes from Ipswich and Rochester, the first of such flights being flown by Alpha Golf on May 25th.

Going into 1958, operations would continue in much the same vein although on April 2nd Alpha Golf would be given the honour of inaugurating the all new coach-air service between Southend and Le Touquet. Nine passengers were carried on the first service with them disembarking at Le Touquet where a waiting bus would take them forward to the Paris city centre. However, this service would prove to be quite popular and on a number of occasions the Bristol Wayfarer would replace the much smaller Doves. Needless to say, during the earlier years of Channel operations, the winter months would see most of their larger aircraft being removed from service leaving the Doves to fly the Rotterdam route, although Alpha Golf would be an exception to this rule.

Alpha Golf returned to the air early in 1959 to a mixture of cross-Channel and feeder flights, including the new Portsmouth to Sandown (IoW) route which this Dove flew on a few occasions. Otherwise, a departure from the normal routine came in June when AG was called upon to fly a couple of charters between Ipswich and Blackpool, these taking place on the 22nd and 24th respectively. October would also provide a break from the monotony when she was called upon to fly Blackburn Aircraft executives between Brough and Hatfield. This Dove would also take part in the postal rail strike which occurred at the very beginning of October and as such, the route between Gatwick and Hurn would be designated to Alpha Golf.

Once again, G-APAG would be withdrawn over the winter of 1959/60 while the other Doves were kept operational for the Rotterdam service. However, with the arrival of Channel’s DC-3s the Doves would begin to find themselves being sold off or relegated to minor duties such as flying the feeder routes to Southend. By the end of June, it was all over for Alpha Golf and she flew her very last service for Channel on the 27th making one last, short hop across the River Thames from Rochester to Southend. She was sold almost immediately to B.L.R Pocock for operations in Libya, but a delivery attempt made on July 1st resulted in failure due to a technical problem that necessitated her return to SEN. She finally departed to Lyons two days later on the 3rd.


History of G-APAG

?/?? to 3/57

West African Airways as VR-NIB

3/57 to 6/60

EAFS/Channel Airways as G-APAG

6/60 to ?/67

B.L.R Pocock, Portsmouth

?/67 to ?/70

Air Bush Operators Ltd, Biggin Hill


WFU at Benina, Libya 7/70


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