Aviation Historian 40
P.Marson - Southern charm
Vivian Bellamy in the cockpit of one of the Supermarine Spitfires he flew for the making of the film Battle of Britain in Spain in 1968. Bellamy flew at least one of the two-seat Spitfires used for filming from the back seat, as discussed in the late Melvyn Hiscock’s article A Missed Opportunity? about long-range Spitfires in TAH36.
Acquired by Bellamy for the Hampshire Aeroplane Club in April 1959, G-AHKB (c/n 6596) retained the blue and white colour scheme applied by its previous owner, Vickers-Armstrongs, although the club’s titles were applied to the forward fuselage beneath the cockpit. The aircraft is seen here at Eastleigh with one of the club’s D.H.87 Hornet Moths, G-ADLY, in the background.
One of the many de Havilland D.H.89 Dragon Rapides acquired and operated by Viv Bellamy. Seen here over the South Coast circa 1959-60, G-AHKB (c/n 6596) wears its Hampshire Aeroplane Club legend on the nose. Colourisation by RICHARD J. MOLLOY.
Wearing the red, yellow and black colour scheme used by the Hampshire Aeroplane Club, G-AIYR (c/n 6676) was acquired by Bellamy in July 1971 and used for pleasure flying and parachute-dropping with the legend “Land’s End Aero Club” applied beneath the cockpit. It later operated with Classic Wings at Duxford as HG691.
Originally RAF Dominie I serial NR769, G-ALWL (c/n 6845) was acquired by Bellamy’s Flightways Ltd at the end of January 1950. Bearing the company’s name on its fin, the Rapide served with Flightways until February 1952, when it was sold to a new owner in France. It crashed in Laos in late 1960.
Rapide G-AHGF (c/n 6903) was the first to undergo Viv Bellamy’s Mk 4 conversion, and is seen here in the Eastleigh hangar following the modification. Note the larger propeller spinners and air intakes on the cowlings of the new Gipsy Queen II engines. This Rapide went to New Zealand in 1954 and later to Australia where it became VH-AWG and VH-BIF.
Rapide G-AHPU (c/n 6963) was acquired by Bellamy in January 1957 from Luton Flying Club, and was modified to Mk 4 standard in January 1958. It is seen here in the Hampshire Aeroplane Club’s Eastleigh hangar just after being repainted in the club’s new red, yellow and black scheme. Note D.H.86 G-ACZP in the background.
Another Brush Coachworks-built Dominie I, serial HR715 in RAF service, G-ANET (c/n 6700) was leased from Silver City Airways in the summer of 1954 and carried Flightways titles on the fin. After conversion to Mk 4 standard it went to Aden Airways in June 1955 and on to Ethiopia in September 1958, where it became ET-P-22.
The first Dragon Rapide (or simply Rapide) to see service with Viv Bellamy was G-ALAX (c/n 6930), hired from Autowork in late 1948. The aircraft retained its colour scheme of overall silver with blue trim throughout and is seen here at a Kidlington sales weekend some time after its acquisition by Saunders-Roe in June 1949.
Built by Brush Coachworks at Loughborough, Rapide G-ALWN (c/n 6729) was another former Dominie I, serving with the RAF as NF858 from 1944, before being acquired by Bellamy in January 1950. It is seen here in the Eastleigh hangar with the Flightways legend on the fin some time before it went to a new French owner as F-BGPG in early 1952.
A rare colour portrait of the last surviving D.H.86B, G-ACZP (c/n 2321), resplendent in its distinctive Hampshire Aeroplane club colour scheme at the Kidlington sales weekend in April 1958. The aircraft had been impressed into Royal Navy service as AX843, but it was not taken up and was operated by Railway Air Services.
Bellamy acquired D.H.90A Dragonfly G-AEWZ in 1949 and applied tiny Flightways titling on the nose, too small to be visible in this photograph taken at Eastleigh on August 6 that year. Originally operated as G-AEWZ by Air Service Training Ltd at Hamble before the war, it was impressed into RAF service as DJ716 in January 1941.
Reunited with an old friend - Bellamy re-acquired Dragonfly G-AEWZ in 1960 and painted it in the Hampshire Aeroplane Club’s red, yellow and black colours, as seen here at Eastleigh. It was only a brief reunion, however, the Dragonfly moving on by the end of the year. It came to grief during a take-off accident at Elmdon in March 1961 and was damaged beyond repair.