Bill Tomkins’ interest continued after the last war, and for many years he owned the de Havilland Tiger Moth G-AHME, which he kept on his land in Northamptonshire. In April 1947 he made the news when he had 20 acres of rain-sodden land sown with wheat by air from a Miles Aerovan. The job took 2hr, including reloading. Bill Tomkins is seen here with his Tiger Moth positioned outside his own front door.
Bill Tomkins takes off for a quick circuit of his house.
Loading up the Miles Aerovan with sacks of wheat.
The Miles Aerovan, G-AILF, flies low over the waterlogged field with wheat cascading out of the rear to fall in even lanes 12yd wide. The aircraft was flown by Sqn Ldr Nelson, an ex WWII Eagle Squadron pilot.
G-ADIN at Sywell, showing the uncowled crankcase and cylinders of the Jupiter engine.
Bill Tomkins, watched by a farm dog, straps on a parachute in preparation for flight.
Bill Tomkins flying over a ploughing team on his farm at Apethorpe in January 1936.
"- TO PLOUGH AND SOW, TO LOOP AND ROLL -." Mr. J. W. Tomkins, a farmer of Apethorpe, Peterborough, Northants, is an aerobatics enthusiast and has bought himself an old Gloster Gamecock fighter and, from the R.A.F., a radial - which looks like an early Mercury or late Jupiter - for ?7. The whole outfit cost him ?25. Sword into ploughshare indeed!
The Gamecock matches its horsepower against that of the ploughing team.
The fuselage of Gamecock J8047 as it arrived at Manor Farm in May 1934, with Bill Tomkins, centre, and two friends who helped in the reconstruction work,
A happy partnership, Bill Tomkins and friend.
Bill Tomkins taxies G-ADIN prior to its first flight after rebuilding. Note that a spinner has been fitted.
Bill Tomkins' Gamecock before civil conversion. It is being flown by Capt Howard Saint at Hucclecote in August 1928, and has enlarged fin and rudder, lengthened fuselage, additional centre section strutting and parallel chord ailerons. The armament has been retained, and is visible in the fuselage side troughs.
The Gamecock on its back after the undercarriage had collapsed, making it a complete write-off.