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Days Gone By: Your memories of flying from Ipswich Airport for the first time

PUBLISHED: 14:30 27 May 2020

Landseer Boys School flight from Ipswich Airport in October 1963 Picture: ARCHANT

Landseer Boys School flight from Ipswich Airport in October 1963 Picture: ARCHANT

Readers have been sharing more memories of Ipswich Airport following our previous article about its 70-year history.

Landseer Boys School flight from Ipswich Airport in October 1963 Picture: ARCHANTLandseer Boys School flight from Ipswich Airport in October 1963 Picture: ARCHANT

John Marney was born in Clapgate Lane, Ipswich, in 1943 and said: “We always played on the airport.”

He remembers the special events which used to be held to mark Battle of Britain Day. John said: “One time the mushroom air raid shelter was bombed by six Mosquitos - later on we found out that they were dummy bombs!

The Queen's arrival at Ipswich Airport on her Silver Jubilee visit on July 11, 1977 Picture: ARCHANTThe Queen's arrival at Ipswich Airport on her Silver Jubilee visit on July 11, 1977 Picture: ARCHANT

“My father was a member of the Triangle motorcycle club. which met at the airport. One day they were doing trips around the drome for five bob. This was my first time in an aircraft.”

John said he was about 10 or 11 at the time, and the aircraft was a De Havilland Dragon Rapide biplane. He now works at the De Havilland Aircraft Museum, in Hertfordshire, which is in the process of rebuilding a similar plane.

Crowds of well-wishers waiting to greet the Queen at Ipswich Airport on July 11,1977 Picture: ARCHANTCrowds of well-wishers waiting to greet the Queen at Ipswich Airport on July 11,1977 Picture: ARCHANT

Margaret Watson also took her first flight from Ipswich, with Channel Airways. She said: “The first time I flew was in September 1954. We were flying to Ostend, but we had to fly from Ipswich to Southend and then change over to a bigger aircraft.

“It was a very small plane and there were only about 16 of us. My friend and I were about 17, and it was quite exciting, because we had never flown before.”

Members of the Ipswich Town team setting off from Ipswich Airport for a match with Plymouth in October 1966. Picture: ARCHANTMembers of the Ipswich Town team setting off from Ipswich Airport for a match with Plymouth in October 1966. Picture: ARCHANT

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Margaret said there was something wrong with the aircraft before they set off, so they had a delay of four hours, which made them nervous, but her friend’s dad took them for lunch while they were waiting.

Ipswich Airport air fete in 1993 Picture: ARCHANTIpswich Airport air fete in 1993 Picture: ARCHANT

READ MORE - Flying back through the years at Ipswich Airport

Graham Day of Stowmarket also has memories of the airport. He writes: “My main memory of Ipswich Airport is watching my sister depart on honeymoon in either 1964 or 1965 from the airport. My sister and her fiancé were holidaying in the Channel Islands.

“I had never been to the airport before, and I cycled up from my home in Ipswich to see them depart. The terminal building was very simple, but there was a certain amount of magic for my 15-year-old self when I watched them walk across the terminal and out on to the grass airfield with their cases. They walked towards a Dakota aircraft resplendent in the livery of Channel Airways.

Damage caused to Ipswich Airport by the Great Storm of October 1987 Picture: ARCHANTDamage caused to Ipswich Airport by the Great Storm of October 1987 Picture: ARCHANT

“Walking up the steps into the fuselage of the aircraft, they disappeared from sight. It was not long before, with a little hesitancy, the propellers started to turn as engines very quickly roared into life.

The Dakota then taxied to the end of the runway. Suddenly, the engines began to open up, and it was not long before the plane was thundering down the grass runway, and taking off, gained height as it flew south eastwards. Its route took it over the chimneys of the old Ipswich Power station; it appeared to hang momentarily, almost becoming one with the structure beneath, before rising further over the river Orwell and rapidly becoming a smaller and smaller dot until it disappeared from view. The plane then flew on to Southend Airport, where passengers had to change to the connecting flight to the Channel Islands.

“I walked out of the terminal building, pleased that I had witnessed something which was new to me .I collected my bicycle, and rode the four miles back to my parents house in Old Stoke.

“In the late 1970s I can recall watching the Suckling Airways flight departing for Amsterdam. It was really the first scheduled air service since Channel Airways departed, but eventually they relocated to Cambridge.

“In later years I remember the airport being very busy on air-show days and well remember seeing what I considered to be intrepid and courageous people doing parachute jumps for charity. When working in Ipswich in the early 1990s, I remember that one of the secretaries at the solicitors’ office, Liz, showed me some photographs of her doing such a jump. Rather her than me!”

Do you have memories of Ipswich Airport? Email judy.rimmer@archant.co.uk To order photos, visit www.eadt.co.uk/myphotos24, or call Diane Townsend on 01603 772449.


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