Rearsby - UK Airfield Guide

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A Guide to the history of British flying sites within the United Kingdom
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REARSBY: Civil private aerodrome

Operated by: Originally provided to the County Flying Club by Lindsay Everard later a ‘Sir’.

Taylorcraft Aeroplanes later Auster Aircraft Company


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I cannot be entirely certain but I think I probably cut these pictures out of an article in Aeroplane Monthly many, many years ago.
Picture One: Autocrats in production at Rearsby during the winter of 1945-46
Picture Two: Autocrats being assembled circa 1945/46
Picture Three: The first production Autocrat G-AGTO  (Copyright E J Riding)
Picture Four: I simply cannot resist including this astonishing picture here, of the Aeroplane magazine's Autocrat G-AERO, landing on HMS Illustrious on the 15th October 1946, somewhere in the English Channel.

Notes: Pictures One, Two and Four are all the copyright of Aeroplane magazine. 

The last picture is a good illustration of where the limits of this 'Guide' might be - considering it is supposed to be inclusive of all UK flying sites. Let's face it, as this picture proves beyond any doubt, the Royal Navy aircraft carriers should most certainly feature - despite them moving around all over the world.

To address this problem, a list of some of the Royal Navy aircraft carriers is included - see seperate listing - Aircraft Carriers. 


Charter user: Post 1945: Bond Air Services

Flying club/schools: Post 1945: Auster Flying Club, Beagle Flying Club, Casair

Note: In the 1957 The Aeroplane directory, the Auster Flying Club were operating just one Auster.

1959 ‘snapshot’. Auster Flying Club

Gliding: WW2: RAF M44 EGS until 1947

Post 1945: Leicestershire Gliding Club (very briefly after 1945) then in 1960 home to the East Midlands Gliding Club. In 1962, by then amalgamated with the Coventry Gliding Club and the EMGC together they formed the Leicestershire Gliding Club which re-emerged at this site.


Manufacturing: WW2: Taylorcraft later becoming the Auster Aircraft Company

Repairs: WW2: Taylorcraft were repairing first DH Tiger Moths later Hawker Hurricanes and Typhoons


Sales: Pre 1940: Midland Aircraft Company (Early UK Piper agents in 1939 with one aircraft, a J-4A Cub registered G-AFTE which crashed shortly after)


Location: Off Gadsby Lane, Rearsby 6nm NNE of Leicester

Period of operation: 1937 to 1971


Runways: Pre 1940: 86 acres and possibly an all-over grass airfield?


NOTES: Originally operated from the early to mid-summer as an un-licensed aerodrome, very naughty in those days. After a visit from the County Police it eventually gained a temporary license in September 1937. Even so a somewhat lax approach was adopted and after a ‘shake-up’ call by an MCA inspector the CFC eventually got its act together and the aerodrome was officially opened in July 1938 with a permanent license being granted in October.

THE C.R.O. (Civilian Repair Organisation) 
To quote from the book Hurricane by Leo McKinstry this was: "....a large network of contractors and engineering companies overseen during the Battle of Britain by that managerial dynamo Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister of Aircraft Production." He then explains; "Like the Dowding system, the CRO was a masterpiece of administrative effeciency, embracing no fewer than forty-three different companies around the country, while there were also mobile CRO contractors that carried out repairs at the Fighter Command airfields. Among the firms that worked on the Hurricane were Taylorcraft of Rearsby and David Rosenfield based at Barton near Manchester."

"By mid July 1940 the CRO was returning aircraft to operational service at a rate of 160 a week.It has been calculated that 35 per cent of all the fighters issued to squadrons during the Battle of Britain were repaired aircraft. No fewer than 60 per cent of Hurricanes that crashed on British soil ended up back in service, the other 40 per cent serving as a useful supply line for components. Altogether during the war, 4,000 damaged Hurricanes were put back into service by the CRO, a remarkable achievement that not only lessened the impact of the Luftwaffe but also highlighted the durability of Sydney Camm's design."

As pointed out elsewhere, the Hawker Hurricane was the mainstay of the RAF at that period, and, highly regarded by its pilots, being a much better 'gun platform' than the Spitfire. 

The International Auster Pilots Club held a Fly-in to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Taylorcraft using a portion of the airfield on 10th September 1988 attracting twenty eight Austers. Later the IAPC became the International Auster Club. A similar Fly-In in (20th September 1997) attracted forty nine visitors. The 2002 and 2003 other Fly-Ins, mostly using a field next door to the original airfield? At the 2003 IAC AGM twenty-five Austers flew in to LEICESTER, many visiting REARSBY landing in the stubble field.




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