Taylor Scott joined the Royal Navy in 1964. After training he flew Sea Vixens before a tour with the US Navy,including the Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) at NAS Mirimar.
From 1974 to 1977 Taylor was an Air Weapons Instructor flying F-4 Phantoms from Ark Royal before being appointed the Royal Navy’s Sea Harrier Project Liaison Officer at Dunsfold. Continue reading “Taylor Scott”
Hugh Merewether FRAeS(1924-2006)
Merewether was appointed Deputy Chief Test Pilot at Dunsfold in 1956. He was the second pilot to fly the P.1127. In 1963, he was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air for crash landing the P.1127 rather than ejecting and thereby saving the machine to be examined to locate the fault. He became Chief Test Pilot in 1967. Continue reading “Hugh Merewether FRAeS”
Neville Duke DSO, OBE, DFC & Two Bars AFC, FRAeS (1922-2007)
Duke had a “remarkable record” as a World War II fighter pilot, flying Spitfires over France and later, North Africa and Italy. He became a test pilot for the Hawker Aircraft Corporation in 1948. He held the world air speed record in 1953 flying a Hunter but had to retire as a test pilot in 1956 following a serious accident. Nevertheless he continued flying to the day he died, aged 85 – and not as a result of an air accident. He wrote several books including Sound Barrier, Test Pilot, The Crowded Sky and The War Diaries of Neville Duke; and even endorsed a card game named after him in 1955! Continue reading “Neville Duke DSO, OBE, DFC & Two Bars AFC”
Bill Bedford OBE AFC FRAeS (1920-1996)
Bedford was a World War II pilot, flying Hurricanes and Mustangs. From 1956 until 1963 he was Hawker Aircraft Ltd.’s Chief Test Pilot, “and then chief test pilot for Hawker Siddeley Aviation at Dunsfold from 1963 to 1967. He worked on the development of the Sea Hawk, the Hunter and the P.1127, Kestrel and the Harrier aircraft, making the first flights of all of the last three aircraft.” During this time the family lived at Primemeads Farm on Dunsfold Aerodrome. Primemeads Farm, used as wartime flight offices by 180 Squadron, is an historic building in its own right, dating from 1685. Continue reading “Bill Bedford OBE AFC”
This aircraft arrived at Dunsfold in 2005 after being purchased by film prop company Aces High. It displays a fictional US registration number, a unique engine configuration and outboard fuel tanks on pylons – all created for extensive scenes in the James Bond film Casino Royale. Dunsfold was the location set for filming many of those scenes – portraying Miami International Airport.
For decades, staff at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in southern England talked of the dead Canadian beneath the runway. Clifford Davies heard the story when he started working there in the 1960s, 20 years after the Royal Canadian Engineers built the airfield during the Second World War.
The story, as Davies recalled, was about a Canadian accidentally killed by a machine during construction of one of the runways. Under war-time pressure to finish the aerodrome on schedule, the Canadian serviceman’s comrades kept working, leaving him entombed in the cement.
“It was just general knowledge, really,” Davies said, adding that he had never seen any evidence of the claim. “It was a very strong rumour.”
Now the historic aerodrome, 60 kilometres southwest of London, is facing the prospect of being replaced by an 1,800-unit residential development. And Davies — a long-time opponent of the proposal — has raised concerns that construction on the site might amount to the desecration of a grave.
But after conducting an investigation this month, an official with the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) said the story is just folklore.
So it begs the question – does anyone know more? Who lived or worked at Dunsfold in 1942 and would have direct memory of any incident?
Track layout on current runway - note VTOL tethering pads next to "Hammerhead"
Top Gear Track in location on 1938 Map
The BBC Top Gear track has been laid out on the main runway of the former WWII RAF and RCAF air base. The perimeter roads used for Gambon and the finish line were laid over the route of original B-Roads that were ripped up when the airfield was constructed in 1941. One cottage, Broadmead, was situated where the TopGear FollowThrough is now, but the cottage was lifted whole and winched half a mile on rollers to the otherside of the airfield.