Memories of air race over Redditch revisited - The Redditch Standard

Memories of air race over Redditch revisited

Redditch Editorial 27th Mar, 2021   0

MOVE over Birmingham Airport!

Those magnificent men in the flying machines thought nothing of landing in Redditch and indeed back in the 1930s it boasted its own aerodrome less than a mile from the town centre.

That’s just a two of the facts from the people behind the Redditch Local History Museum which organisers hope can open in the town in the not too distant future.

Museum trustee Pete Harris said: “In August 1913 an air race was arranged (possibly organised by the Daily Mail) between Benfield Hucks and Gustav Hamel, both well-known aviators of the day.

“The race consisted of a 75mile route starting and finishing at the Tally Ho grounds adjacent to Canon Hill Park in Birmingham, and going via Redditch Coventry, Nuneaton, Tamworth and Walsall.

“Hamel won the race by 20 seconds!”

Pete added: “At Redditch they landed at the old racecourse at the bottom of Beoley Road.

“The postcards show Benfield Hucks arrival and Gustav Hamel prior to departure – and tou can imagine what happened to all those hats when he started the engine!

“The Redditch Needlemakers Almanac for August 30, 1913 records ‘Messers Hamel and Hucks made Redditch a control in a flying competition, alighting in grounds in Beoley Road; the flight over the town was watched by thousands of people’.”

And that’s not all.

In the summer of 1932 The Redditch Garages Ltd of Unicorn Hill, opposite the railway station, inaugurated their own Aviation Department.

It boasted that ‘every facility is provided at their private aerodrome (situated within a mile of the centre of town) for their travel and private and commercial aircraft maintenance’ with ‘all classes of repairs undertaken’.

The Redditch Garages Ltd were also agents for De Havilland aircraft, the firm behind the wartime ‘Wooden Wonder’ the De Haviland Mosquito.

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