Balfour (Marine) Engineering

Balfour Marine Engineering

Operated from 1947 to c.1972

Founder/Director – Sam Norman

Balfour Engineering was a moderately large company based in Ilford, Essex which was in business from the late-40s to the early-70s and was bestHeron G-APRK known for the manufacture of its BAL-AMi jukeboxes for the British and overseas market. However, other important work was also undertaken and as such Balfour eventually started producing parts for the aviation industry such as Olympus turbine blades for Rolls Royce which were destined to end up in the engines of Concorde and the ill-fated TSR2. Other work included the manufacture of ice cream machines and record players for the home market. However, from the early 1950s to the early 1960s, this company had also assembled a fleet of smaller aircraft that were mostly used for sales, marketing and executive transport purposes, the majority of these types being based at Southend or on smaller airstrips within Essex.

One of Balfour’s most interesting aircraft was its Miles (H.P) Marathon which was purchased from West African Airways at the end of April 1955. The aircraft itself was destined to cross the Atlantic on a sales trip to America during 1956 and in anticipation of this, Gemini G-AKDDthe cabin had been fitted out as a mobile showroom filled with the company’s jukeboxes which would be displayed to prospective buyers as she flew from city to city. However, on the day that the aircraft set out for the U.S, the flight crew quickly came to the conclusion that the aircraft simply did not have the range to get across the pond and thus got only as far as Scotland before ultimately turning back. The aircraft returned somewhat ignominiously to SEN and from that day foward, she would never fly again. Golf X-Ray sat at the airport for several more years before eventually being cancelled from the register during November 1962, although it is likely that she was scrapped some time before this date.


Balfour (Marine) Engineering fleet:

Miles Gemini

G-AKDG – 11/47 to 9/50

Sold overseas

G-AKEG – 1/57 to 3/58

Sold to E Crabtree

G-AMEJ – 6/51 to 3/52

Sold to Miles Car Hire Ltd

G-AKDD – 11/57 to 3/59

Sold to E. F Thurston

Miles (Handley Page) Marathon

G-AMGX – 5/55 to 11/62

CoA expired – 8/56 – B/U – 11/62

De Havilland Dove

G-ANGE – 11/53 to 6/55

Sold to B.R Robertson Ltd

G-AOYC – 2/57 to 2/59

Sold to Silver City

De Havilland Heron

G-APRK – 1/59 to 4/61

Sold to Keegan Aviation

Lockheed 12

NC 79820 – ?/?? to ?/??



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