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.
Dunsfold was second home to a lot of people in the last 70 years. We hope to build a record of just some of those people that are a significant part of the history of the aerodrome. We will be adding more information over the coming months – additional information and corrections most welcome.
Dunsfold Chief Test Pilots in chronological order:
Wimpy Wade CTP on move to Dunsfold – 1951
Dick Whittington, Follands CTP– later Dunsfold Communication’s Pilot
Primemeads is an early 17th century oak timberframed farmhouse, with a possible smoke hood and early diamond mullioned window. Brick house with decorative dentil course shows the house built in two phases. It was Listed by Historic England in April 2017. Home to the test pilot Neville Duke – in 1955 Duke set the world air speed record of 727.63mph flying the Hunter WB188.
WB188, the first P.1067 and Neville Duke’s record breaking aircraft