Aviation pictures - on the beach
Six of seven planes lined up on the beach at West Park ready to depart, showing just how busy Jersey's seaside 'airport' became in the mid-1930s. Jersey Airways had eight planes in their fleet at the time, so presumably this photograph was taken from the eighth. The coach which served as a waiting room for departing passengers was caught by the rising tide soon afterwards and damaged beyond repair
A biplane, Not part of Jersey Airways' fleet, on the beach at West Park
Stills from Pathe film
These images are taken from a 1933 Pathe newsreel film promoting the new service from Heston to Jersey. We have not been able to establish the identity of the young lady travelling alone and greeted by a group of friends. Perhaps they were all actors recruited to create a promotional film
History of flying at West Park
This edited history is taken from the website www.ukairfieldguide.net. It contains a number of inaccuracies, particularly concerning the period when the beach 'airport' was in use, but has been included for the benefit of aviation enthusiasts, who will doubtless be interested in the history it contains of some of the aircraft used by Jersey Airways.
St Aubin's Bay: Civil seawater and also beach aerodrome/airport (Aka West Park)
Location: Adjacent to and west of St Helier
Period of operation: 1930 to 1951
In 1930 Kirston and Mace Ltd operated a Saunders-Roe Cutty Sark G-AAIP from here to Southampton. Converted Short Sunderland flying boats were used for the Aquila services later on, after WW2. Jersey Airways used the beach in the 1930s often with several DH84 Dragons flying in formation from Heston and lining up abreast on the beach after landing. Later other De Havilland airliner types were also employed. An incredible spectacle both in the air and on the beach.
In his book The Triple Alliance, Neville Doyle states: “Probably the first landing by a Dragon on the beach of St Aubin’s Bay in Jersey took place on 19 June 19 1933, when Hillman’s Airways' Capt Flowerday arrived to collect Mrs Hidden of Holland-on-Sea, who had been taken ill on holiday. Seats were removed to make room for a stretcher.” This would make sense as the Kirston and Mace Saunders-Roe Cutty Sark was an amphibious type, so it might have ‘moored’ near a pontoon or pier? Indeed, the same might had applied to the Supermarine Seagull, which Neville Doyle mentions, operated briefly by the Tour and Travel Association from Southampton.
In 1934 Jersey Airways were operating a fleet of eight DH Dragons flying from both Southampton (Eastleigh) and Heston. They landed on the beach, and due to the tide, which can rise to 40 feet, no doubt their stay was fairly short. At the height of the season, it was not unknown for all Jersey’s eight Dragons to be in the air at once. Jersey Airways had exclusive rights to operate from the beach.
Jersey Airways also flew their DH86 Express and DH89 Dragon Rapides onto this beach.
Jersey Airways 1930s fleet
DH84 Dragon: G-ACMC, G-ACMJ, G-ACMP and G-ACNH
DH86 Express: G-ACYF, G-ACYG, G-ACZN, G-ACZO, G-ACZP and G-ACZR
DH89A Dragon Rapide: G-ADBW
- G-ADBW: Jersey Airways, based at Heston in west London, operated G-ADBW from 28 May 1935 until 21 of July 1938. Airwork at Heston then acquired it from 30 January 1939 until 15 July 1040, basing it at Shoreham.
- G-ACZR: Registered to Jersey Airways, Jersey, from 27 January 1934 until 21 July 1940, and was based at Eastleigh.
- G-ACYG: Based at Heston.
- G-ACNH: Registered to Northern and Scottish Airways, and based at Renfrew from 4 July 1935 until January 1937.
- G-ACNG: Registered with Spartan Airlines at Cowes, Isle of Wight, then British Airways. Finally end with Northern and Scottish and British Airways at Renfrew.
- G-ACMP: Registered to Jersey Airways, and based at Jersey, from 31 January 1934 to 30 December 1937.
- G-ACMO: Registered to Northern and Scottish Airways at Renfrew from February 1934 to September 1940. Presumably Jersey Airways hired aircraft to cope with their 'high season' workload.
- G-ACCR: Registered to Doris Godley who ran Commercial Air Hire from Croydon. Commercial Air Hire operated it from 13 December 1934 until 21 January 1936, when it crashed in the Channel.
- G-ACMP: Registered to Jersey Airways from the 1 December 1933 until 22 July 1935, when it crashed on mudflats near Cardiff.
- G-ACNI: Registered initially to British AW Ltd, (Heston) from February 1934. Then to Airwork at Heston, from 31 December 1936 until March 1937.
- G-ACNJ: Registered to A C Pearson at Heston from 1 February 1934, when it went to Allied Airways, Aberdeen from 6 December 1937 until 29 June 1945.
- G-ACZO: Registered on 7 July 1934. This registration was cancelled on the 21 July 1940.
- C-ACMJ: Registered to Jersey Airways from 7 December 1933. Later it went to Weston-Super-Mare and appears to have been registered to a private/company owner before being registered to Western Airways, from 1 July 1938 until 2 April 1940.
The batch of DH86 Express, G-ACZN, G-ACZO, G-ACZP and G-ACZR were all registered to Jersey Airways at Portsmouth.