Desford flying sites
Note: This map only shows the position of Desford town within the UK.
DESFORD: Private airstrip
Operated by: Roger Clark (famous rally driver)
Location: Close to Alder Hall
Period of operation: 1980s only?
NOTES: Roger Clark used to fly his Cessna 182 from here.
DESFORD: Military RFC WW1 landing ground later civil aerodrome soon operated mainly for military training flying contracts and later manufacturing. From 1929 the Municipal aerodrome for Leicester. BRAUNSTONE was the Municipal airport.
(Originally RFC PECKLETON).
Note: This picture was obtained from Google Earth ©
The outline of the WW2 airfield can be clearly seen here, and is now pretty much fully occupied by an industrial/trading estate.
Military users: WW1: RFC 38 (Home Defence) Sqdn
WW2: RAF 51 Group
7 EFTS (Tiger Moths)
Post 1945: RAF No 1969 AOP Flight (1949 to 1953)
No.5 BFTS (1952 to 1953)
Airline user: Pre 1940: Provincial Airways (briefly in 1935)
Aero club: Pre 1940: Leicestershire Aero Club who also managed the site from 1929 to 1935
Air taxi: Pre 1940: Leicestershire Aero Club using a DH.60 Moth G-AAUH ‘Foxhound’
Charter: Post 1945: Reid & Sigrist (launched in 1947 but not successful)
Flying school: Pre 1940 & WW2: Reid and Sigrist Civil Flying School operating RAF CFTS and later No.7 ERFTS contract (1935 to 1939)
No.7 EFTS (1939 to 1947).
No 3 CANS (1938 to 1939) Later 3 AONS (1939 only)
No.7 RFS (1947 to 1953)
Gliding school: M44 Gliding School (ATC) 1948 to 1950
Maintenance: No.9 MU (Dispersal), Reid & Sigrist CRO
Manufacturing: WW2: Components, final assembly and flight testing of Vickers Armstrong Spitfires
Pleasure flights: Post 1945: Reid & Sigrist
Location: 6nm WSW of Leicester
Period of operation: WW1: 1916 to 1918 Civil: 1929 to 1953
Military: 1935 to 1953
Runways: WW2: NE/SW 1097 grass E/W 823 grass
NOTES: DESFORD was previously the RFC PECKLETON landing ground, established on J.H. Cart’s farm in mid-1916, little used as a night landing ground by RFC 38 (Home Defense) Squadron, downgraded for day use in 1917 and vacated by 1918.
A CIVIL START
Formally opened as Desford Aerodrome in September 1929 by the Leicestershire Aero Club which was formed on 30th November 1928 and I believe that they had only one DH.60 Gypsy Moth G-AAIF initially?
In 1929/1930 an air-taxi service was started first with a DH.60 Moth and soon after with a DH.80A Puss Moth charging sixpence a mile.
On the 18th June 1932 a LAC DH.60 Moth took part, on the request of the Police to help make an air search for factory burglars. The attempt was successful and an arrest was made, this being probably the very first use of an aircraft for police search duties in the UK?
FLYING CIRCUS VENUES
Venue for Alan Cobham’s initial 1929 Municipal Aerodrome Campaign Tour?
Venue (14th July 1932) for Alan Cobham’s National Aviation Day UK Display Tour
Venue (20th September) for Alan Cobham’s 1934 Tour.
A NEW ERA
1935: The Leicestershire Aero Club ‘decamped’ to BRAUNSTONE in March but on December 13th Reid & Sigrist opened their military contract Civil Flying Training School.
THE EFTS PERIOD
EFTS stands for Elementary Flying Training School and in 1939 Tiger Moths seemed to be the main training aircraft, 120 of which were based here. On a good flying day up to ninety possibly even a hundred were in the air many operating fairly close to the airfield! Today this would be viewed as a ‘nightmare’ scenario.
It seems that in 1953 both Avro Anson and Percival Prentice types were based here before the aerodrome closed.
1999, 10th June. The Red Arrows displayed together with the BBMF Spitfire Mk.11 P7350 to help celebrate the 100,000th UK Caterpillar product built on this site.
DESFORD HALL: Helipad
Operated by: Next Retail Ltd
Location: Near Desford of course but where?
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