Personal Memories of Prewar
Cambridge Aviation
As told to Webmaster Dave Homewood

Bryan Cox Remembers

Bryan Cox has told me of a few personal memories of early Cambridge aviation. He recalls that in the 1930's most farming folk would come into town about once a week, travelling by horse and gig (a type of cart). Of course once in town the horse and gig had to be parked up somewhere while shopping was attended to. Bryan says there used to be a large brick stables building where this occurred. From what he describes it must have been situated on the plot of land where Briscoes store is now located - next to the National Hotel.

Anyway, Bryan recalls seeing inside that stable a bright red De Havilland Gipsy Moth. The Gipsy Moth of course had folding wings so it could be stored in a small space, unlike most aircraft. We are now trying to establish who's Gipsy Moth that was. It is possible that it may have been the one owned by Teddy Harvie, as he definitely had one that he kept at the Cambridge Showgrounds (ie Cambridge Racecourse). Whether or not it is red and he kept it in the stables at some point is yet to be discovered. It must have been quite a sight when the Moth was rolled in and out of the stable for use. I wonder where they took off from. No doubt the Cambridge aerodrome at the Showgrounds.

Another memory that Bryan imparted to me was that the first headmaster of St Peters School, on Hamilton Road, also had his own Gipsy Moth. Bryan says that Mr Broadfoot used to sometimes fly it from the paddocks of the private school. Does anyone else remember this at all?

To see Bryan's memories of Stanley Blackmore and Scotty Fraser see the update on their page here

Charlie Christiansen Remembers

Charlie Christiansen recalls that the famous World War One and pioneering pilot 'Mac' MacGregor used to run something of an airline service between Cambridge and Hamilton. It was by no means a scheduled service, but apparently locals could telephone him to get a lift in his plane from the Cambridge aerodrome at the Showgrounds over to somewhere in Hamilton. The destination was possibly the Claudelands showgrounds.

Charlie said that Mac's plane was often whizzing back and forward taking passengers across, because the main road was so poor this was a better way to go. The alternatives to the road, which was only paved to about St Peter's School and after that was rough, corrugated gravel, were the riverboat, the train or the aeroplane. Of course the plane was the quickest and no doubt the most exciting mode of transport. So peoplewould fly into the city with Mac.