SEN Historical Titbits

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been handed or have during my rather intensive researching endeavours, come across a number of pictures and videos that for one reason or other, I’ve found difficult to place elsewhere on this website. So, rather than letting them sit and fester on my ageing hard drive, I have instead decided to create this ‘Historical SEN Titbits’ page where I will also attempt to add any relevant information that is knocking around within the ever expanding SAAD archives. Please note that despite extensive efforts, I have been unable to source the original owners of a number of the photographs below and as such, if you do see a picture that belongs to you then please do not hesitate to contact me on saadinfomail@gmail.com and I will gladly apply the appropriate credits or indeed remove said photo if you so require (however, please note that removal requests do not apply to postcards, promotional pictures or adverts).

 

August 9th 1947

While SEN had already acquired a licence to undertake civil flying on the very last day of 1946, it was on August 9th 1947 that the airport or aerodrome as it was still then known, officially reopened to great fanfare with a number of events taking place, including air races. Southend stalwart ‘Ladi’ Marmol was also on hand to wow the crowds with his gliding prowess. At the time, the pre-war hangar with ‘Southend Aerodrome’ painted on its roof had become the domain of Southend Municipal Flying Club, who on this most auspicious of occasions, offered flights in their Auster or Tiger Moth. Meanwhile, from January 1947, the Bellman hangar to the far left had been occupied by East Anglian Flying Services (later Channel Airways) and possibly a couple of smaller outfits. This hangar later went on to become the customs shed and still stands to this very day while the grassy spectator’s area in the picture above would eventually go on to house the airport’s terminal and control tower. 

With thanks to Ian Callier for sourcing this image

 

1950

An extremely early and immensely evocative publicity shot of SEN’s fledgling years. Clearly apparent are close to 20 ex-RAF Halifax bombers and Halton civil conversions, some of which were leased to other companies for use on the Berlin Airlift, while the rest would eventually be broken for spares. Indeed, most of these aircraft had been scrapped by the end of 1950. You can read more about these aircraft by clicking here.

Many thanks to Peter Clark for sourcing this image.

 

October or November 1953

Another, glorious, early SEN picture courtesy of Cliff Stone showing B.K.S. Anson G-AMBE which was initially procured for the sole purpose of flying internal newspaper services within Germany. These papers were flown into Dusseldorf or Hannover by the company C-47s and Vikings after which they were then distributed by this aircraft. She remained on the Continent from August to October 1953 and then returned to SEN. However, she was soon off to Germany again just few weeks later, this time on lease with Hunting Aerosurveys. However, of further interest is the row of Avro Tudors in the background. These aircraft were procured by Aviation Traders in 1953 and from September of that year, they began flying in from Tarrant Rushden and later Ringway where they had been in storage for several years. The aircraft were then parked up awaiting their turn for overhauls or delivery checks before being handed over to Air Charter although a couple of them would remain grounded at SEN for the foreseeable future. Assuming that the date is correct, then these three Tudors are likely to consist of either G-AGRG, G-AGRJ, G-AIYA or G-AJKC all of which had arrived at Southend by the end of the year.

 

c.1957

A typical late ’50s view of SEN with Channel’s two ‘new’ Bristol 170 Freighters evident on the northern apron. A number of Air Charter’s ‘Air Bridge’ Bristol 170s are also present, along with what were the backbone of Channel’s fleet at the time, namely several D.H.104 Doves. Also of note is the languishing pile of Aviation Traders’ Percival Prentices to the centre right of the shot.

 

c.June 1958

In this evocative shot, Brian Doherty has captured Aeronca C.3 Collegian G-AEFT parked by the side of the original A.T.C. tower at SEN. Behind this aircraft can be seen the tail of Bristol 170 Mk.31E G-AIFO, the tail of a D.H.104 Dove and the nose of a D.H.89A Dragon Rapide, all of which are likely EAFS/Channel Airways aircraft. Also of note is the old Bedford airport ambulance. The cream hut on the left was where B.E.A. had their engineering set up between October and March and it became the local haunt of B.E.A. engineer Tug Wilson who was based at SEN during the winter months to handle the Heathrow diversions that had become a regular occurrence during the late-50s though to the early-60s.

With thanks to Peter Clark for providing the information above

 

Summer 1958

This wonderfully rare colour picture taken some time after April 1958 shows what appears to be a beautiful summer’s day at SEN. The original control tower is clearly evident although what makes this picture exceptional is that to the extreme right, a Channel Air Bridge Bristol 170 can be seen making something of a rare take off on the former 15 runway. Also visible is Channel Viking G-AHPH, the first of the type to enter service with this airline, although sadly she would be DBR the following year after landing at Southend with only one wheel locked down. Just to the right of the tower is Ercoupe 415CD G-AKFC which had been owned by Aviation Traders up until May 1955 while in front of the tower are two Austers, one being the privately owned G-AGTV while the nearest is almost certainly one of Southend Municipal Flying School’s machines.

 

Summer 1959

Probably taken from one of Southend Municipal Flying School’s Austers, this picture is relatively easy to date by virtue of the fact that the construction of the new ATEL hangar had already begun. This is also likely to be one of the last existing pictures taken before the northern apron was constructed sometime between the end of 1959 and the beginning of 1960. Otherwise, SEN looks unusually quiet in this picture with what are likely four Channel Air Bridge Mk.32s and one Mk.31 B170 present (the latter likely being G-ANMF, the only remaining B170 with a flat topped vertical stabiliser). Otherwise, on the western edge of the grassy area nearest the camera sit three Channel Airways aircraft, namely one of their B170s (probably G-AIFO being as G-AICT was withdrawn for much of 1959), a De Havilland Dove and a De Havilland Dragon Rapide, the last of this particular type being removed from service the following year.

 

Spring 1960

This picture would have been captured around the spring of 1960. It’s taken from the eastern end of the brand new northern apron, facing east toward the threshold of Runway 33 which at the time was being used for extra parking. D.H.114-2D Heron G-ANUO was at the time owned and operated by the Shell Company of the U.K. while behind her to the left is an Overseas T.A.A.C. (Trans-Africa Air Coach) Canadair C-4 Argonaut (possibly G-ALHT). To the right are Tradair 707 Vickers Viscounts G-APZB & G-APZC and one Channel D.H.104 Dove; the registration of which is undetermined.

With thanks to Peter Clark for providing the information above

 

Summer 1960

Another great Ken Woolcott shot this time taken from the air, shows a bevy of Channel Air Bridge and Channel Airways B170s, not to mention a Tradair Viscount and of course, the huge gaggle of Prentices that had been unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the airport by ATEL’s Freddie Laker. Peter Clark has provided a more detailed account of this picture which you can find by clicking here. With thanks to Graham Mee and to Marc Wilmott for sourcing the picture above.

 

1960/1961

This is a rather interesting picture of the Southend Corporation Transport Daimler bus which was converted to give tours around the airport in the late ’50s and early ’60s. The bus itself could be boarded from the public enclosure in front of the ‘Greasy Spoon’ that was so beloved by those spotters who were around at that time, while at the very same kiosk that had been erected in this location, you could also book joy flights. Of note are a Tradair Viking and a Tradair Viscount either G-APZB or ZC loading passengers and on the right is a lone Channel Airways Douglas DC-3 Dakota that looks to have received attention from one of the Shell/BP oilers that were at the time operated by the Southend Municipal Corporation duty crew. Of further interest, on the ground to the right of the bus is the original signal square including the lighted ‘Runway in Use Indicator’. I would estimate that this picture was taken shortly before the main ramp was extended to the east as part of the major upgrades that occurred at SEN in the early 1960s.

With thanks to Peter Clark for sourcing this image and for providing the information above

 

c.Spring 1961

Another famous postcard shot of SEN taken by John R. Simmons shows Southend Municipal Flying School’s Auster G-AMFP cruising over the airport. To the extreme left of the picture, the western section of the new ATEL hangar has been completed while the original Bellman remains being as at the time, prototype Caravir G-ANYB was still under construction. Clearly evident on the apron are a number of Channel Air Bridge Bristol 170s and B.U.A. C-54s/DC-4s while in the lower left hand corner, Mike Keegan’s Catalina G-APZA and the Falcon Airways Hermes G-ALDC which ran off the runway the previous October can also be clearly seen. One further point of interest is that the large pile of unwanted ATEL owned Prentices had been cleared from both the centre and the rear of the airport and melted down by the time that this shot was taken.

 

May 1961

This picture shows Flying Enterprise Canadair C.4 Argonaut OY-AFC (ex-G-ALHD) being prepared to go off on lease with this fledgling Danish airline (an overseas associate of Overseas Aviation). Behind is Vickers Viking G-AGRV of Tradair still in Hunting Clan colours, this aircraft having been withdrawn from use in March. To the rear is Vickers Viking OO-EEN of Aviameer Airlines which had also been looked after by Overseas Aviation, although by this time, it too had been removed from service. Behind OO-EEN is the black, ATEL Bellman hangar and finally on the extreme right behind G-AGRV is the completed western end of the ATEL flight shed. With thanks to Graham Mee and to Peter Clark for sourcing the picture.

With thanks to Peter Clark for providing much of the information above

 

Summer 1961

Another familiar postcard shot is this fine Ernest Joyce picture of the eastern end of the SEN apron where Channel mostly operated from. Likely taken around the early summer of 1961 and probably not long after the John Simmons image above, a number of Channel aircraft (Doves G-ANVU and G-AOBZ, plus Viking G-AJJN) steal the shot, while Airwork’s Cessna 310 G-ARCI nestles between the two Doves. While the rear of this postcard suggests that these aircraft are bound for the Continent, by this stage of the proceedings these two Doves had mostly been relegated to the Southend – Ipswich – Norwich feeder route while Channel’s Bristol 170s, DC-3s and Vikings had instead been tasked with maintaining the cross-Channel services. Off in the distance are two other aircraft of note, namely Mike Keegan’s Catalina G-APZA which would finally be scrapped at the end of June while just to the right of her is ex-Falcon Hermes G-ALDC which had come to grief the previous October. It would appear that her nose has been covered to prevent weather ingress while a decision was being made as to her fate. However, she was eventually scrapped at the airport in March 1962.

 

c.1962

Anyone stumbling upon this picture could probably be forgiven for wondering why a worn out, Tradair spares ship that was on her last legs was in any way worthy of inclusion on this page (more about this aircraft here). However, further investigation will reveal that there is more to this picture than initially meets the eye. To the left of the Viking in the background is SEN’s lairage that had previously been built by Air Charter to rest livestock (mostly cattle) prior to the company delivering them by air to a multitude of destinations around Europe and the Middle East. This work went on for several years as many countries built up their overseas herds and such operations eventually became an important part of the company’s business. Indeed, not many people in Southend knew that SEN was an important transit point for cattle and livestock, but it proved to be a very profitable business for Air Charter and Channel Air Bridge alike who moved more than 5,300 tons of cattle between 1956 & 1958 alone.

With thanks to Peter Clark for providing the information above

 

Summer 1963

This wonderful Flightglobal picture shows SEN in its prime, when passenger flights, freight operations and car-ferry services were more or less at their peak. Numerous aircraft are present too, the nearest of which consists of unidentified BUAF Carvairs and Bristol Superfreighters, although the Sabena B170 is unequivocally G-APAV being as she operated the Ostend – Southend service between June 1962 and July 1964. Meanwhile, further away are a couple of Channel Vikings, a pair of DC-3s and a single Dove. Also of note are Channel’s two (black nosed – well dark green actually…) Mk.21 Freighters on the northern apron. Finally, a DC-4 is present which could well be Channel’s G-ARRY.

Other aircraft of note in the bottom right hand corner include EKCO’s Anson G-ALIH and engineless, ex-Continental Viking G-AIKN which had at the time been impounded by B.K.S. for the non-payment of debts incurred prior to the collapse of the airline. Meanwhile, moving up is yet another Anson tucked in between the hangars in the form of ex-Federated Air Transport G-ALXC which had initially been purchased for spares more info here. To the left, against the side of ATEL’s hangar is an Ambassador fuselage. Indeed, G-AMAF was known to have been transported from Wymeswold to SEN by road on April 29th for spares use with B.K.S. Finally, in front of the ATEL hangar is a Prentice, registration unknown although this could well be Bob Batt’s machine.

With thanks to Ian Callier for providing additional information relevant to the image above

 

1964

Likely taken sometime during the latter half of 1964, this marvellous shot provided by Neil Punnett shows a few changes from the year before. Working from right to left, the B.K.S. Ambassador fuselage is gone, having departed to Luton by road while another aircraft that was flown to SEN for breaking, namely Bristol 170 G-AHJI stands in front of the ATEL hangar where she remained for this and much of the following year before finally being towed to the rear of the airport for reduction to scrap, this taking place in November 1965. Also just evident inside the ATEL hangar is what is possibly G-APNH, the second of three Carvairs to be built at Southend. This Carvair was rolled out in primer during April 1964 and was finally completed and delivered to BUAF in January 1965. Otherwise on the apron, the usual collection of BUAF Carvairs and B170 Superfreighters is clearly evident, along with a Channel Viscount and Viking to the extreme left of the picture.

 

1965

Yet another superb classic shot, this time taken by a relative of Terry Kent from the much loved viewing deck, almost certainly during the latter half of 1965. While difficult to make out, the original image reveals that the letters on the starboard wing of this Channel, 700 series Viscount would seem to suggest that this aircraft is either G-AMOA or G-AMOH, both of which had been removed from service by the end of 1965. Of further interest are two former Aviaco Bristol 170s on the north side, four of which were taken in part exchange by Aviation Traders for three Carvairs.

 

September 1965

Another damp and dreary day at SEN captured by Richard Nash and yet as any aviation enthusiast from this era would no doubt gladly acknowledge, the weather could never dampen your spirits especially with an apron full of classic beauties such as these to drool over. Present on the southern apron is Bristol 170 G-APAV which had previously been flown by B.U.A.F. crews on behalf of Belgian carrier SABENA between Southend and Ostend. This aircraft was the last of three B170s to service this route with the contract finally coming to an end in July 1964 after 7 years of operations. Why she still remained in a SABENA livery at this late stage though is unknown. Otherwise, An unknown Carvair and a C-54/DC-4 sit outside ATEL’s hangar with a B170 (likely G-AHJI) nestled between them.

The Bristol 170 nearest to the viewer tells another interesting story. With the merger of Channel Air Bridge and Silver City in 1963, the fleet was subsequently brought together under the banner of BUAF although the equipment that had previously operated with each of these former airlines invariably remained at their original bases (either Lydd or Southend). However on occasion, a former CAB B170 would temporarily operate from Lydd, while the opposite would also ring true as seen in the picture above with ex-Silver City G-ANWK awaiting her next load of cargo and/or passengers. The main reasons for these changes would seem to revolve around attempts to either boost capacity where it was needed or to temporarily replace aircraft that were undergoing overhauls or maintenance. 

 

1966

Harry Faber’s short Cine 8 film of Southend movements during 1966

Click here to view

 

c.1966

Another familiar SEN postcard shot taken from the A.T.C. tower around 1966. Present on the apron are numerous Channel Airways aircraft including former Tradair 700 series Viscount G-APZB just to the left of the tower, while one of the company’s newest arrivals, an ex-Continental 812 Viscount sits on the northern apron flanked by another 700 series aircraft (evident by the missing black wrap around the cockpit windows). Channel’s sole DC-4 G-ARRY also sits to the left of Viscount ZB, no doubt awaiting another load of passengers for the short hop to Ostend. Meanwhile, the western part of the southern and northern apron is dominated by BUAF’s Bristol 170s and Carvairs.

 

1967-1970

Typically representative of the scene around Channel’s two north-side hangars during the late 1960 was an ever growing pile of broken, decaying airframes all of which had been withdrawn from use, initially to provide a source of spares for any aircraft that remained in the fleet. However, as time went by these aircraft simply languished until finally meeting with the fall of the scrapman’s axe which for all three aircraft including DC-3s G-AMNW and what looks to be G-AJIB came in January 1970. Attempts were made however to save Viking G-APOP by offering her to the museum, although at the time, she was missing a lot of parts while also not being considered historically important enough to save and thus also met the same fate. 

 

1967-1970

Probably taken around the same time or maybe a little later than the picture above, this image shows two, unidentified Channel 810 Viscounts and DC-4 G-ARRY which had likely been withdrawn by this time outside north-side hangar 1. As something of an anomaly in an otherwise all British built fleet, this DC-4 had been procured for conversion into a Carvair for use on the Irish Sea routes, but when this plan subsequently fell through, she was instead put to work primarily on the busy Southend-Ostend service until being withdrawn from use on September 16th 1967. She remained in open storage on the north-side and looked destined for a place in Channel’s proposed aircraft museum in Ipswich. However, by the end of the 1960s, Channel’s financial situation had taken a turn for the worse and with the museum plans falling by the wayside, the DC-4 was finally scrapped in January 1971.

 

c.1968

Another slightly different perspective of SEN as viewed from the eastern perimeter of the airport. Taken from beneath the wing of Avro Lincoln RF342 this wonderful Myke Pocock image displays a number of other aircraft (Left to Right: Supermarine Sea Hawk XE489, SAAB J29F ‘Tunnan’ 29604 & Hawker Sea Fury WJ288) all of which had been acquired by the original Southend Historical Aircraft Museum from May 1967 onwards. These aircraft were at this time stored in this location, before finally making their way to the purpose built H.A.M. facility on Aviation Way in 1970. While an exact date is difficult to pin down, this picture would have been taken some time after October 1967 (by virtue of the BAF Carvairs). Of further interest, one of Keegan’s ex-T.A.A. 700 series Viscounts is still present on the northern apron while a Channel 812 Viscount can be seen just behind the tail of the SAAB ‘Tunnan’.

With thanks to Cliff Stone for providing this image

 

October 1971

Different, more carefree days indeed, as several passengers make their way across the SEN apron (having disembarked from one of BAF’s Carvairs which often parked up on the northern apron) seemingly oblivious to the fact that they have come a hair’s breadth from being mown down by a Vickers Valetta of the A&AEE Boscombe Down. As many well know, Vickers Vikings (of which the Valetta was a military variant) were regular visitors, not to mention also long term residents at SEN with the very last flight of the type occurring on January 30th 1965. However on October 6th 1971, this Valetta arrived to transport the flight crew of the Beverley which had been delivered to the Historical Air Museum, back to Boscombe Down and in doing so, probably made this one of the very last visits to SEN by any member of the Viking family. Of further note, on the horizon is the written off fuselage of Moormanair DC-3 PH-MOA which came to grief here on June 3rd of this year.
 

 

July 1973

For many of us more seasoned SEN enthusiasts, the shot above both epitomises and captures most effectively what the airport was all about, namely a place where you could go to see an eclectic mix of old and ageing airliners that had found a second, third or even fourth lease of life with smaller airlines. The two outer aircraft were still fully functional during this period with Vanguard SE-FTI having previously returned from a lease with Air Trader of Sweden several months earlier. At the other end is Aer Turas DC-4 EI-ARS which was a regular visitor to SEN for maintenance and the odd freight charter flight. Meanwhile, nestled between them is corrosion riddled Vanguard G-BAMX which was scrapped the following year having returned from a lease with Merpati of Indonesia. Finally, former Eastern Provincial Carvair CF-EPV spent her last few years as a spares donor for BAF’s aircraft and was finally broken up in 1978, although her cockpit was saved and is as such the only major part of a Carvair still extant in the U.K.

 

1975-1976

The end of an era befalls Southend as BAF slowly replaces its Carvairs with Heralds. By the middle of 1975, only six Carvairs remained in the fleet with some of these aircraft now being tasked with either fulfilling leases or hauling freight rather than transporting cars to the Continent on the cross-Channel routes, although these latter services would still continue until the very first day of 1977. The only recognisable aircraft here is the all silver Carvair G-ASDC which during the early part of 1975 was stripped of all paintwork and unnecessary internal fittings, this effectively increasing her cargo lifting capacity by a ton to 8.5 tons, something that BAF went on to proudly promote on her vertical stabiliser. 

 

1976

Ron Circus has put together a nice video compilation of pages from the 1976 Southend Airport Official Manual.

Click here to view

 

November 1976

The more observant amongst you will probably recognise this classic Richard Vandervord shot from the SAAD website banner. Captured from Warner’s Bridge after a rather busy evening of diversions due to many of the surrounding airports being fogged in, the SEN apron finds itself packed full of a number of rather unusual visitors. Four British Caledonian BAC 1-11s are instantly recognisable, their registrations being G-ASJF, G-AWYT, G-AWYV and G-AZMF while three BIA Heralds are also evident and consist of G-APWE, G-APWG and G-AVEZ. Finally, Air Anglia F-27 G-BDVT completes the line-up. However, CL-44 G-AXAA clearly takes pride of position in this image and while these Transmeridian aircraft were regular visitors to SEN during the 1970s, it would again seem that this aircraft’s arrival was the result of a diversion. Finally, a Carvair can be seen lifting off probably on a car-ferry flight. By this time, Carvair vehicle operations had been reduced to 5 per day (Ostend x 2, Rotterdam x 1 and Le Touquet x 2 with a single Basle service on Wed, Fri & Sun only) and less than two months later on January 1st 1977, they would be abandoned permanently.

 

May 1979

During the mid to late 1970s, the H.P.R.7 Herald was the main type being operated from SEN by British Air Ferries. However, while these aircraft would continue to operate daily flights to Ostend, Le Touquet, Rotterdam, Basle and Dusseldorf with the addition of Channel Island flights at the weekend, by the beginning of 1979, these scheduled services had been sold on to British Island Airways with a number of Heralds also departing on lease to said company. As can be seen in the picture above, a Herald in the orange livery of BIA sits at the end of the apron although the majority of these aircraft were flown in the BAF bee livery with a simple title change. The two BAF Heralds on the northern apron meanwhile, were more than likely reserved for cargo and passenger charters.

Two further aircraft of interest outside the Heavylift/Britavia hangar (from L to R) are Short Belfasts XR363 and XR365, the former becoming G-OHCA that was later put out to pasture on the eastern perimeter for spares use until being scrapped in 1994. XR365 on the other hand became G-HLFT and saw many years of service with Heavylift before departing for Cairns, Australia where she still resides, somewhat tenuously to this day. However, the picture above also hides a rather melancholic tale, especially where Southend Airport’s history is concerned. On this day, photographer Richard Vandervord took to the sky to record one of the very last flights of the Carvair from SEN. You can read more about this here.

 

July 1981

During the early 1980s, SEN’s northern apron would become something of a parking lot for an ever increasing number of H.P.R.7 Heralds which were slowly but surely finding their duties being usurped by the growing volume of Viscounts that were arriving from ex-British Airways stock. In fact, by the time that this picture was taken, ten Viscounts had been taken on by BAF with most of them having already entered service with the airline. That said, some of these Heralds would operate on with G-APWA (far left) going off on one final lease to Air Ecosse during the winter of 1981/82 before being WFU. G-BCWE meanwhile was leased to Air UK for part of 1981 and much of 1982 while G-AVPN was a Air UK owned aircraft. At this time, Air UK were operating flights in and out of SEN although the reason why these two Heralds have been parked up in this position is unknown.

 

June 1982

One of my very first shots taken at SEN with my brand new 110 camera, which obviously left a lot to be desired as far as picture quality was concerned. Nevertheless, this view of the former G.A. parking area, taken from the old viewing deck shows a fully functioning corporation shed, Heavylift’s spares ship, Belfast G-OHCA and if you look carefully, a reflection of the sign which warned aviation enthusiasts “It is regretted that the operation of portable radios is prohibited under the terms of airport bye laws”.

 

Autumn 1983

From the late ’60s through to the mid-80s, SEN’s northern apron never failed to disappoint and as can be seen only too well in this great Simon Hills shot, a significant number of elderly aircraft await their return to service… or the fall of the scrapman’s axe. Thankfully though, all but one of the aircraft above would live on for several years to come, while one of the Heralds and the Britannia still exist today. Proceeding from L to R on the northern apron are four Heralds, all of which are identifiable thanks to this era being well catalogued. G-APWA begins the line up with TAA Herald G-BCWE next to her. While Whiskey Alpha had been PWFU in 1982, the TAA Herald (while becoming something of a regular sight on the northern apron between 1982 & 1985, would still operate the odd, occasional flight. The Herald line up is then completed by ex-Transavia (lease) G-BEYJ and G-BEYD, the latter of which never flew again and was scrapped in October 1984.

Moving further to the right is what was at the time, BAF’s only converted, full-time freighter, namely Viscount G-AOYS. Next to her is a former Inter City Viscount G-ARGR which was purchased by BAF and then flown to SEN in September 1983. Why BAF purchased this 700 series aircraft is unknown, but she would eventually end up being sold on to Hards Travel/Janus Airways in December of the same year. Next to her is what was to be New Zealand bound Britannia G-AOVF. However, the deal fell through and she languished on SEN’s apron until being donated to the museum at RAF Cosford where she remains on display. Completing the line up is Viscount G-AOHT which had recently returned from a sub-lease to British Midland/Pandair. Unfortunately, the Bandit and Viscount on the southern apron are not so easy to identify although it is possible that the Viscount is G-AOYN being as she was the only BAF Viscount operating in a pure white livery during this time.

 

August 1984

Another great shot taken by Mike Hopwood clearly displays the end of another SEN era as much of the BAF Herald fleet finally makes way for their Viscount replacements which had been arriving at Southend from 1981 onwards. For a good part of 1983 and 1984, the northern apron at SEN had become something of a storage area for these now redundant aircraft. Here can be seen (from left to right) Heralds G-APWA, G-BEYD, G-BEYJ, G-BEYE and finally G-BCWE in a Trans Azur livery. Somewhat curiously, it was the TAA adorned Herald G-BCWE that would end up being the only one of the five to gain a reprieve, even if this return to service was somewhat temporary. However, G-APWA was later saved and is now preserved at Woodley.

 

Summer 1988

Another Ken Woolcott picture taken from roughly the same aerial position as the picture from 1960 above. Indeed, as far as the main airport buildings are concerned little has actually changed, the only noticeable addition being the former ATEL hangars which were constructed during the early ’60s. Evident in this shot are two BAF Heralds (the example on the northern apron being G-BEYE which had been wfu during the winter of 1982/82), two BAF Viscounts (the one outside the Heavylift hangar being G-APIM which had been clobbered by an errant Shorts 330 in January of this year) and a Heavylift Belfast. Other aircraft of interest are what looks to be a pair of either BAC or Hubbardair D.H.C-6 Twin Otters and of course the venerable Vulcan which arrived at the airport in 1986. Next to the Vulcan is likely a National Airways King Air 200 as this was where this airline tended to park its aircraft during this time.

Many thanks to Graham Mee and to Peter Clark for sourcing this picture.

 

Summer 1989

An easy picture to date by virtue of the fact that the Heavylift/Refurbishair hangar has two B-17s sitting outside it. These aircraft were flown in for refinishing before departing to take part in the 1990 film Memphis Belle although rumour has it that either 3 or 5 of these aircraft actually visited the airport during this period. Otherwise, the tail of Conroy CL-44-O Skymonster EI-BND can be seen poking out of the Heavylift hangar while a Maersk Fokker F-50 waits to fly another load of passenger to Billund in Denmark, having replaced the D.H.C. Dash 7s that flew this route until 1988. 

 

Winter 1990/1991

From 1987 onwards, the SEN skyline would increasingly become littered with stored or unwanted Viscount fuselages. G-AOHT, G-AOYL and G-BNAA would be the first to appear, having been withdrawn from BAF service and were over the coming years, slowly pulled apart for parts and spares. This Dave Connor picture shows a typical scene from this era with (left to right) Viscounts G-AZNA, G-OHOT, G-BAPG and G-BAPF all awaiting their fates. Curiously enough, despite the mass scrapping of Viscounts that took place at Southend up until 1997, only one of the four aircraft above (G-BAPG) ended up being broken up at the airport, while two of these aircraft survived until recently with G-AZNA still acting as a gate guardian for a nightclub in Belgium while in August 2017, G-BAPF was sadly broken up at the Morton-in-Marsh fire training facility where she had previously been used for non-destructive, smoke hood training. As far as G-OHOT was concerned, she was later reactivated only to be destroyed in a crash near Uttoxeter on February 25th 1994.

 

Summer 1992

This Austin J. Brown picture displays a similar perspective to the 1949 ATEL shot above and clearly shows how much SEN has developed since the post-war period. Present is a Heavylift Belfast and to the left their Canadair CL-44J EI-BRP, the fuselage of which was later broken up during August of this year. Also present are a number of unidentifiable BAF Viscounts although the Viscount (2nd left) on the northern apron is likely to be G-CSZB due to the fact that she was the only one of her type in full BAF livery with a black radar nose cone. Meanwhile, next to her sits BAF 1-11 G-AZUK which was stored here for some of 1992, while an OCS Short 330 sits at the other end of this apron.

 

March 1993 to March 1995

Robin J. Pinnock has produced a wonderful series of seven videos that cover a good number of 707 visits to SEN between March 1993 to October 2001. All of these videos are available to view on YouTube.

Click here to view Part One

 

September/October 1994

Another typical although admittedly quiet SEN apron shot taken during the early autumn of 1994. Evident to the left is Boeing 727 VR-CCB which came to Southend for pre-delivery checks and a slight adjustment to her livery on September 28th before heading off to new owner H.S. Aviation as VR-CHS via Heathrow on October 11th. This aircraft would eventually return to Southend in 1996 to be fitted with a pair of winglets. On the northern apron is long term resident Phoenix Aviation Boeing 707 9G-TWO which finally departed as 5Y-SIM in March 1995, having sat idle at the airport since August 1993.

 

Mid 1990s to Late 1990s

Robin J. Pinnock has produced a compilation video of Boeing 727 visits to SEN. This video includes footage of N721MF, TC-AFC, TC-AFB, VR-CCB, VR-BHN, VP-CWC, HZ-AB3 and G-BNNI, the last of which was dismantled at SEN before being transported by road and ship to Denmark where she was reassembled and is now used as an advertising showroom and conference centre.

Click here to view

 

Spring 2000

By the late 1990s, the sight of multiple, ageing Boeing airliners having taken up long-term residence at SEN had become something of a common one. These four Boeing 707s languished at the airport for several years where they either awaited new buyers or had been impounded for non-payment of debts incurred due to engineering work. Only two of them would gain a reprieve while the other two would be scrapped at Southend. You can read about the individual SEN history of each aircraft by clicking here.

 

If you have any other classic shots of SEN which were taken between 1947 & 2002 that you would like to add to this page, then please don’t hesitate to send them to saadinfomail@gmail.com and I will more than happily upload them.

Many thanks from the SAAD Admin team.