atchistory | An archive of 20th century air traffic control photographs and other media sponsored by the Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers

EGLL Heathrow ATC

EGLL 4bda

These photos from 1945-47 from Brian Davidson

NEW 1947 article and photos of the first tower interior  EGLL TOWER 1947


Starlight 2



LL0b “After WW2 the airfield was operated by the RAF for a few months., but Donald Bennett of Pathfinder fame had by this time founded British South American Airways (BSAA) and wanted to use Heathrow for international services. He got permission to land the first civil aircraft: G-AGWG Star Light, a Lancastrian-at the proposed airport on 6th December 1945. Heathrow was officially handed over to the Air Ministry on 01 Jan 1946, and BSAA claimed another first when the same Lancastrian took off for Lisbon on the same day on a proving flight to Buenos Aires. The photo shows the aircraft preparing for the inaugural flight from Heathrow.”  – photo legend!

The photo LLOa in fact shows G-AGWH called Star Dust, not G-AGWG called Star Light.  Sadly Star Dust was lost on 2nd August 1947 when it crashed in the Andes. It was 1998 before any wreckage was found.- atchistory.  Star Light is shown below.

EGLL 5bda

LL0bb G-AGWG Star Light, tower in the background

EGLL 1949 bd 6 20

LL0c Avro Tudor of presumably British South American Airways  showing the original tower in the background.  the original photo was dated 1949

Below, the original tower on the North side. photos dates from 1948 and is courtesy Malcolm Hemming


Barry Davidson has sent us several more picture of early Heathrow. Here are two more showing the original tower.


LL1a Hawker P1081 VX279

bd4 comet


I know Heathrow had a very early Federal GCA, one of about 18 that the ministry obtained from the USAAF. it may be at one of the other units though, more info would be welcome. Via Malcolm Hemming are these photos of the inside of a GCA/PAR truck




inbound radar pictureLL3

is this the tracker position in the Federal GCA?



Malcolm also sent me a link to a BBC archive about post 1945 ATC radar at London which also has some footage of the original tower. I’ll also put in the link on the SATCC post.

Early London Radar Services

Barry Davidson sent in some photos below showing the second tower under construction and newly complete.

GAGNG 1950

LL3b DAKOTA G-AGNG (no its not an aircraft carrier in the distance – its Heathrow Central under construction)




LL3d This is not what it seems! It is a mock up of the VCR for the movie Out of the Clouds but the personnel are real EGLL ATC staff.

Les Tranter has sent in a large collection of photos of Heathrow ATC from the early 1950s onwards. Some we also have below, others are new. I’ve combined all of Les’ collection into a nostalgic slide show….enjoy.

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LL3f  Celebrating the first  first jet prop service in 1953. The original tower just visible on the left.

EGLL 1963_2


bd4 early users

LL3g  some early users.

and some more from Barry Davidson from 1959-61

LL3h  Barry say the number of police bottom right suggests a Royal Flight

EGLL 1963_1


EGLL users 1959

LL3i and some 1959-61 users

EGLL tower views (1)LL4

EGLL tower views (2)LL5


below: Heathrow VCR circa 1955

EGLL VCR 1955 (1)LL7

EGLL VCR 1955 (2)LL8

Heathrow ATC July 1963

Control TWRLL8a

bd10 1955

LL8b 1955


Air controller runway 28 position and GMC controller, looking East. Barry Davidson thinks on the right is Margot Trickett later ATSA 4 at LATCC.

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (2)LL10

Air controller position Runway 10 position,  looking West, John Toseland on right



EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (3)LL11

ATCA’s desks with Strip Holder delivery on left. Barry Davidson and others confirmed this is being Margot Trickett later ATSA 4 at LATCC.

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (4)LL12

Detailed view of new airfield lighting control panel and ticker tape/control panel desk on right

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (5)LL13

Precision Approach Radar position (PAR or GCA)

LL GCA position cuttingLL13a

Picture of _ and Geoff Bullock in APC @ LAP(reduced)2LL13b

EGLL ApproachLL13c

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (6)LL14

Detailed view of ACR 6 console, No 2 director, position

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (7)LL15

Nos 1 and 2 Directors Radar position and low level ACR 6 display

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (8)LL16

General view of ATCA and Approach controller Mk III standard control desk units with part of supervisors desk on right

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (9)LL17

General view of complete approach radar room layout

below two later views dated June 1968

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (10)LL18

EGLL ATC JULY 1963 (11)LL19

Jean Sturrock ATSA 4 EGLL AIS Pinner & AIS Heathrow (Barry Davidson)

egll ADC Bill McCollLL20

Heathrow Tower, Bill McColl

egll tower adcLL21

Lighting Operator facing right is Mike Davies

Mystery tiles stored for years on the airfield. Believed to be part of the manoeuvring area surface. photo (and car) by Mike BloodworthLL22

photograph by Mike Bloodworth of concrete hatch covers that had once been installed on the main runway (s) at Heathrow, seen stacked around the SATCC building

Mike suggested that many years ago they were unable to withstand the rolling loads imposed by the big aircraft. The edges crumbled so they filled the pits with timber to support them. The result was that instead of sinking they compressed the wood and sprung out of their holes some landing on the runway. They took the covers away and filled the pits with concrete to keep the airfield open. Later they rebuilt the runways.

Further research by Mike suggests the problem dated from about 1955 when after each departure a runway inspection was carried out, and that problems with these hatch covers were at least part of the reason for the inspection

Lighting panelLL23

later lighting panelLL24

ground movement radarLL25


 fps boardsLL26


approach director radar consoleLL27

approach director radar console


EGLL App 1968-70

LL28 a        The picture in EGLL App is from the Careers Brochure – Alastair C Campbell

Number One SouthLL29

Kathy Barsh on South Director, Malcolm Hemming on South Approach

egll app 2LL30

the following 4 photos were a bit of a mystery until published in Readability 5. My thanks to Richard Dawson, Chris Huggett, Malcolm Hemming, Brendan McCartney, Dave West and Howard Thomas for the info below

EGLL ex_mystery (1)LL31

two photos above are and below are the old approach/approach radar room at Heathrow.

the positions right to left are. Names in bold everyone seem to agree on, option are in italics

South Approach Al Carter

South Director   Tony Watkins or Nick Crawford, majority for Tony Watkins

SVFR  Alistair McClean

No 2 Director  Pat Flynn or Tony Paitin-  the majority view is Pat Flynn

N Director George Dyer

North Approach Pete Bish.

(thanks to Pete Bish for clearing up some of the names, can anyone else solve the last two?)

More clarification is hoped for.

 EGLL ex_mystery (2)LL32

The  Assistant’s position with  Sharon Louden.

.EGLL ex_mystery (3)LL33

Heathrow Approach Radar simulator 1st Floor

EGLL ex_mystery (4)LL34

Heathrow Approach radar simulator ACP positions. Dave West is nearest the camera then Eric Percival then Kay Lawrence.   Eric Percival was involved in the training section and was also a very good airport lighting operator.

Air controller consoleLL35

Air controller console

Heathrow geography over the years as shown by maps, SMR screen shots and aerial photographs



egll aerial view 3LL38

EGLL aerial photoLL39

EGLL aerial photo 2LL40

Scan_20150828 (4)LL41

Scan_20150828 (3)LL42


LL SMR with BAW1 – John Faulkner  (BAW1 along with Speedbird (BAW) 2, 3 and 4 then used by Concorde)

Before UK controllers had to attend approved courses it was possible to obtain the ATCO licence and it ratings by home study it was difficult to practice for the approach and approach ratings. This approach to study was confined to those non NATCS/NATS controllers around the UK. Initially there had been series of Field Training Units established in NATCS control towers to augment the simulation facility at the civil School of Air Traffic Control at Hurn and any spare capacity at the FTUs could be hired by other controllers or their employers to assist with their studies. As NATS units gained their own simulators and the now College of Air Traffic Control expanded its simulation capacity the FTUs became redundant to NATS and they closed. To provide simulation facilities for practice by non-NATS controllers and for their examination (?) a simulator was provided in the Heathrow Control Tower Building in rooms 108,109,110. The six colour photos below feature this simulator.

EGLL nonNATS simulators (1)LL43

approach procedural simulator

EGLL nonNATS simulators (2)LL44

ACP (Pseudo pilot) radar simulator input

EGLL nonNATS simulators (3)LL45

EGLL nonNATS simulators (4)LL46

EGLL nonNATS simulators (5)LL47

EGLL nonNATS simulators (6)LL48

egll smr fitting june 1989 (1)LL49

egll smr fitting june 1989 (2)LL50

egll smr fitting june 1989 (3)LL51

egll smr fitting june 1989 (4)LL52

egll adc positionLL53

Scan_20150828 (5)LL54

Bob Neville on the desk,  Paddy Treacy (identified by Dave Richards) on the lights, Chris Huggett on easterly Air Arrivals and Nick Wright on Air Deps. Chris added extra info “E watch duty with Nick doing a day shift from A Watch. Date Circa 1985”

Scan_20150828 (7)LL55

Scan_20150828 (6)LL56

Mike Male tells us that the picture above is of Sue Clifford on GMP, Brian Piket on Air and Mike Davies on the lights

Scan_20150828 (8)LL57

Mike Male on right. Mike thinks it is Rob Spooner in the picture with him.

the next four VCR photos are from Malcolm Hemming


LL VCR GMC2 facing south – John Siddell GMC2, Mike Turner with U/T GMC1, Al Haines (WM)


LL VCR GMC2 handover – Ian Montgomerie/John Siddell


LL VCR GMC split – two lighting Ops – Andy Marsh, Malcolm Judge, Monty, and Angus McCormack distracted on Air Deps


VCR one Xmas day – Ray Hutchings, Rachel X, Amy Hutchings (youth opportunity…), Angus McCormack, Chris Wilson, Mike Baggaley (up from SVFR for some daylight), Mick Dyer, Craig Greenfield, Kevin Day doing the work.

Howard Thomas sent in the next two photos of the VCR

LHR 1114LL61a

Celia Kunert, Richard Dawson, Tony Paintin, Howard Thomas with, in the background, Geoff Bullock and Roger Kunert

LHR 2116LL61b

Roger Kunert talking to Bob ??, Howard Thomas, Tony Paintin and Richard Dawson, and ?? in far background

Scan_20150828 (9)LL62

Scan_20150828 (10)LL63

This is a ‘posed’ publicity shot of the 1989 Ground Floor approach room prior to O date.
ATSAs simulating position occupancy, Eric Percival on the desk

egll VDULL63a


Thames Radar 1995LL64

The legend says Thames Radar 1995. Its the Thames/Special suite but probably staged as ‘Thames Radar’. Shows City Radar position manned but radar is set to Thames long-range search.

Heathrow radar towerLL65

EGLL HSA radar (6)LL66

Heathrow radar tower

Marconi 264 1960 maybe EGLLLL67

Marconi 264 radar, possibly at Heathrow

264 radar EGLLLL68

ACR 6 colourLL69

ACR 6 radar

EGLL glidepathLL70

ILS Glidepath

EGLL Thompson CSF ILS (1)LL71

EGLL Thompson CSF ILS (2)LL72

PAR plus truckLL73


some more photos from John Douglas



egll tower 2 jd


egll adc_gmc jd2


egll arrival info




egll lighting panel


sids egll

LL80  Standard Instrument Departures


LL82 EGLL ASPR display, on the right the SVFR position showing the Heli-Routes


LL84 Below the Approach lighting at EGLL

EGLL app lighting

And now a selection of photos from Mike Inglis



Phil Layton and Tony Croft – North Approach and No1 Radar Director, EGLL APP, 1984/5



R to L – Gerry Nicholas, No1 South Director, Kevin Day, SVFR, John Siddell, No2 Director, Tony Croft, No1 Director, unidentified ATSA – he/she was moving too fast!



Paul Louden – Approach Supervisor



Gerry Nicholas – No1 South Director



Radar Console – No1 South Director


LL90 This is a serious looking me doing 09L Arrivals at Heathrow being watched by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Lord King (British Airways) and Keith Williams.


LL91  its been suggested that on GMC this is Ian MacKay. Pete Bish tells us that the assistant is definitely long serving Robina Wallace and my money for the GMC controller is on Geoff Nash. Possibly George Ennis standing at the back…?


LL92 ……and that this Heathrow north approach controller is Chris Swann.

EGLL Heathrow ATC Part 2

First printed in the Engineer magazine an contemporary article marking the opening of Heathrow


From Tom Singfield, a new photo of the original Heathrow Tower

Heathrow tower 1953


EGLL 1 Pre 1953

2LL01a and a view from inside

EGLL 1 1955BD

2LL01aa and from Barry Davidson, the second tower in 1955 and

EGLL 2 1960sBD

2LL01b in the 1960s

Below a wonderful photo from Barry Davidson of the GCA/PAR talk down radar at Heathrow, probably not long after it opened. The radar and its tow vehicle are on the right, in the centre is an ex military Bedford QL truck with a runway caravan built to a RAF design. The use of the vehicle on the left, possibly an ex military Ford truck, is less clear. The little concrete structures on the left are toilets.

EGLL GCA talkdown Radar


Just in from Barry Davidson is the 1948 guide to Heathrow published by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. This includes several photos of ATC in 1948 including  photographs taken in the original RAF tower on the north side, inside the GCA and a very early search radar on page 18 that I did’t recognise. It looked like it might be a former airborne search radar adapted for ground based used. The radar is now believed to be an ACR 111X that the web site radarpages describes as follows “Transportable Airport Control Radar. ACR 111X. Two Separate Radars. One was installed at Defford in July 1945. Two Aerials mounted back to back on a turntable, one 5′ Dia Parabaloid for 25 Mile range and one 51 x 3’9” High Cosecant for 5 Mile Range. One source say 600mhz & 3GHz??  The equipment below is believed to be the original display unit for the  ACR111X. but also shown below is a later display from 1947 at Heathrow.




following it up Barry sent this Flight article on Heathrow that shows AIS, the lighting panel and an early radar console in 1947.



Barry Davidson reminded us about the book Heathrow ATC the first 50 years by Brian Piket and Peter Bish.

2LL05 it is available on line (at a high price these days but worth it).

from Barry Davidson a Flight clipping from 1955



from Ray Draper

a link to a film about building Heathrow

Building Heathrow

from Jo Suter comes a NATS Heathrow brochure

1978 CAA brochure – Air Traffic Control at Heathrow

NATS Heathrow Brochure 1987

and from Barry Davidson six brochures on London Airport dating between the mid 1950s and early 1960s. Barry has omitted the spotter information guide from some of them and sadly the free cut out models are also missing.


another-early-heathrow-brochure  (some good text on ATC inside)

Heathrow guide 1957

esso-egll-guide from 1962

egll-gateway-to-the-world from 1954

boac-egll publication between 1955 and 1960

Ian Allan Guide from the 1950s ian-allan-egll-brochure-1950s

an Airway Article about the retirement of the old ACR6 and its movement to  a museum




and another article about an early Heathrow simulator




From Barry Davidson, a page from the Illustrated London News of June 21st 1952 showing the ongoing construction of the Tunnel.



EGLL 1950_2

2LL10 from Barry Davidson

EGLL 1953

2LL10a from Barry Davidson

EGLL Chris Prentice

2LL11  Chris Prentice posed with a Heathrow simulator, doubtless the EGLL community will a details.

Flight Clearance Christmas day 1975 mod

2LL1a  Flight Clearance Christmas Day 1975

Martyn Swann, Yvonne ???, John (lighting Operator), Richard Almond, Maggi Singfield, Martin Trickett, Dave Mills. photo by Tom Singfield

EGLL 6_16




EGLL 1957

2LL14 1957


2LL15 a chart from Steve Balfour


2LL16 1966 this chart and the next two from Colin McKeeman







2LL20   Heathrow aerial photo on postcard probably taken pre 1953

More photos from Barry Davidson



Heathrow with Keith Waud on left

2LL21a Heathrow with Keith Waud on left –  info from Tom Singfield

Rita Leather

2LL21b ATCA Rita Leather in LHR TWR from Tom Singfield

2LL22 Tom Singfield also sent in a single strip, the last Trident into Heathrow.

Last Trident inbound to LHR





EGLL 1958

2LL24a Starways DC-3 G-AMSN at EGLL 1958. In the background G-AMDB, a BEA Pionair.


2LL25   Malcolm Hemming has sent in this Heathrow Radio Range Let Down chart. Malcolm guesses its from about 1950 – 10 deg W Variation might be a clue.

Looking at the runway configuration and the fact its “Restricted” it may well be even earlier.


2LL26 from a post card via Barry Davidson



EGLL 1971

2LL28 EGLL aerial view 1971

2LL 29

2LL30 The VCR in 1990, Steve Hobbs at centre







2LL37 The location of this is uncertain. Its a Fairey Aviation hangar with Fairey Swordfish aircraft outside so its in the period 1933-44. It could be several sites in West London, at least one of which was incorporated into Heathrow airport. Any ideas which, Hayes or the Great West Aerodrome perhaps?



2LL40 so whats the bay window balcony for?

2LL41 The 21st Century tower


2LL42 The first 1940s tower on the right.

2LL43 BOAC Boeing 77-10-34 Stratocruiser, Speedbird G-AKGJ “CAMBRIA”

2LL44 Sikorsky H-19 (?) USAF 09 serial 27509



2LL47 Field Aircraft Services Ltd




2LL51 lets go to watch the planes………. innocent days gone by

2LL52 a bit of a mystery. These are not ATC staff they are in a civilian uniform and those are not ATC headsets. Is this apron control, airline or airport operations?

2LL53 Before Heathrow

G-ACWF Weir Autogyro, Hounslow Heath


RAF Hendon

The aircraft is an Airspeed Queen Wasp. Thanks to my friends in Poole Vikings Model Club the location is identified as RAF Hendon, as the ‘set piece’ for destruction in 1937, the year the Queen Wasp flew, was a port complete with lighthouse and ship

Croydon Control Tower


from Barry Davidson: This a rare photo of a British Nederland Air Services Dakota. This is G-AJZX which took part in the Berlin Airlift.

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations has a project  to establish the sources of the Air Traffic Control service in order to celebrate the centenary and history of ATC, a project entitled 100 years of Air Traffic Control or ATC100. The Paris – London air route was the environment in which most of the early development work was carried out between 1919 and 1922.  Sadly the Covid pandemic continues to frustrate any  planned centenary celebration of ATC 100  at meetings in 2022. 

Ian Walker, the Chair of Trustees of the Historic Croydon Airport Trust has sent in a copy of a memo from 1920 requiring the provision of a control tower at Croydon.

authorising croydons aerial lighthouse 1920



CRYOa from Barry Davidson

photos via Ray Draper.

Ian Walker  tells us that post WW1 all civilian aviation in the UK was prohibited with ad hoc approvals for individual international flights and temporary suspension of the prohibition.

All UK restrictions on civil aviation were lifted on 25/8/1919 leading to the launch of regular scheduled services between U.K., France and Belgium. Hounslow Heath was temporarily the London customs aerodrome until 28/3/1920 when operations were relocated to Croydon. Lympne ( on the Kent coast) was the designated diversion aerodrome for the cross-Channel route. .The C.A.T.O. at Hounslow was Major S.T.L.Greer. Major Greer moved to Croydon Airport when Hounslow closed. Croydon became operational on 29/3/1920.

Croydon Aerodrome was two aerodromes merged into one- the former RAF airfield know as Beddington and the National Aircraft Factory No.1 testing airfield known as Waddon (Waddon is a Parish in Croydon). The airport was known under various titles. Hounslow and Croydon both had radio on opening. Croydon had D/F on opening with approved radio position fixing in 1922 (from memory Paris implemented radio position fixing in 1926).

croydon bd 11 19 (1)croydon bd 11 19 (2)

CRYb and c from one of a set of cigarette cards that you see as a bound volume available here. a day on the airway

Once operations were moved to Croydon in 1920 radio and C.A.T.O operations were located in the Control Tower. The Radio Officers at the opening of Croydon were:- Officer in Charge- Mr. W. A. G. Price Radio Operators- Mr. F.S. Mockford, Mr. L. Luger, Mr. F. S. Close & Mr. C. V. Lane.  Mockford became Officer in Charge in 1923-  C.A.T.O’s- Lt. E. H. “Bill” Lawford, G. J. H. “Jimmy” Jeffs (from 22/2/1922), Commander Deacon, Captain Morkam, Mr. Russell and later H. W. Chattaway.

Ian provided this material on major ATC innovations developed at Croydon relating to the work of the Controllers and Radio Officers at the London Airport- many of which are still in use today. Air Traffic Controllers were originally known as Civil Aviation Traffic Officers (C.A.T.O’s) and were supported by the Radio Officers. CATO’s managed and administered the Air Traffic. Radio Officers held the licences to handle wireless and telegraphic communications. Radio Officers were examined and licensed to Class 3 (U.K. standard). C.A.T.O’s and Radio Officers were initially ex-military having served in WWI. Some had worked on developing air/ ground communications during WWI (e.g. F. S. Mockford). Croydon handled 11,888 radio messages in a 6 month period during 1920.

A few examples of Croydon milestones follow –

1920- The term “Control Tower” is a British term and first used to describe the construction of the world’s first Control Tower at Croydon. This was approved in and recorded in the Air Ministry minutes of 25th February 1920. Before there were ATC Towers there were Radio Offices. The ATC Tower was a specific technical building developed for ATC tasks rather than just radio comms. First installed at Croydon in 1920 (timber) and further developed with the more substantive 1928 development of the Croydon terminal and Tower. Comms transmissions were on 900m, Met transmissions were on 1260m, Route Traffic information (between airports) was on 1380m, The First Croydon Airport equipment was Marconi 100W/ CW/ ICW telephone transmitter with Type 55 Bellini-Tosi D/F.

1920 Met Office opened at Croydon on 28/3/1920.

1922- G.J.H “Jimmy” Jeffs became the first licensed Controller on 22/2/1922 with Air Ministry ATC Certificate No.1 (the licence is on view at the Croydon Airport Visitor Centre). It was issued retrospectively.

1922- Radio position-fixing (originally known as Wireless position-finding). System developed, tested implemented and controlled from Croydon:-

Croydon 4

CRYd Radio Officers manning a later version of the radio and direction finding room.

1923- Croydon Radio Officer Fred Mockford  developed the “Mayday” distress phraseology. The Air Ministry approved the phrase which was published in the first UK Air Pilot issued in 1924. In 1927 Mayday was accepted as the international standard at the Wireless Radiotelegraph Convention held in Washington USA.

Click here for more on the tower but specifically a photo of Fred Mockford at work. The wicker seat was one of several private enterprise seats first made for and sold to allied fighter pilots in the 1914-18 war

1933- Low Visibility Ops and first Controlled Airspace- Known as QBI procedures implemented at Croydon.

Weather reports were a joint agreement between Britain and France (transmissions at 20 past and 10 to the hour) that was later expanded to include Belgium that transmitted at 25 minutes past the hour.

The first major change to regulations occurred after a 1922 mid-air collision. After the accident a meeting was convened at Croydon with French, Belgium and British pilots and Air Ministry Officials with new Air Traffic rules agreed. Rules included keep to the right of a line feature and aircraft with more than 10 seats were to have radios installed. The U.K. operators were quick to adopt the requirement (with a slower pace from European operators).

Britain was very good at documenting, regulating and approving infrastructure and procedures. Unfortunately, there’s not much in electronic form. For example the Air Ministry produced Annual Reports of the Progress of Civil Aviation from 1919 through to the 1950’s. The early reports detail how many radio transmissions were made, how many weather reports were requested, traffic figures etc.

Croydon has a superb museum in the top of the old tower. Check out the web site link below and plan a visit

Croydon Airport History

Tom Singfield points us at another site Airport of Croydon. (atchistory warning: this site could easily consume a weekend of online browsing)


John Faulkner has sent some photos in the Museum including Jimmy Jeffs’ ATC licence No1


Phonetic alphabet early

CRY2a Tom Singfield sent in this example of an engraved/embossed plate giving an early version of the phonetic alphabet. Its not from Croydon but its a great place to post it.

CRY TS (1)

CRY2b Tom also sent in his photo of Jimmy Jeffs ATCO Licence No 1.  Tom also photographed three cartoons on the tower wall.

Steve Balfour has been in contact his Manchester colleague Nick Phythian. Nick has provided a great set of pictures of the Museum. Once again do please visit the Museum its absolutely fascinating. – see link above.

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Dave Smith sent in a link that shows Croydon operations in the 20s including some period ATC footage late in the film.


From Brian Davidson an avalanche of period photos, post cards and philatelic covers. This photos that I have no copyright or other attributable data on I’ve published below. There are also two slides shows featuring postcards that are I think the product of extinct publishers. If you know otherwise please use the comment tab above to contact us and they will be taken of line.

croydon 1920s

CRY3 1920s

croydon aerial view 1020s




croydon terminal panorama


Croydon 1934 AIS maybe

CRY6 1934 flight clearance/flight briefing unit/Aeronautical Information Service

Croydon Briefing xxxx


croydon dornier

CRY7 Dornier D223

croydon instone


croydon hp42 night

CRY9 Handley Page HP42


CRY9a a Builder plate from HP42 G-AAXC sent in by Grenville Paget who explained how he got it

“My Dad was an engineer with Imps before the war at Croydon.  During the war he was seconded to the Air Transport Auxiliary.  Wearing one of those uniforms he was despatched to Whitchurch where the HP42s had been sent for the duration.  I have a page from the Silver Wing magazine, retired staff journal of BEA, which tells the story of another engineer feeling a strong gust of wind and looking over to Heracles to see my Dad hanging on for dear life as the aircraft was lifted into the air.  As were others.  When the wind stopped down they came and were somewhat broken.  Dad was then involved in breaking up the aircraft and that registration plate came into our hands.

croydon 1939

CRY10 1939 G-ACVY

croydon 1939_2


croydon 1939_3

CRY12 1939

croydon tower inside


croydon 1950s decca anson

CRY14 Decca Navigator Company Avro Anson G-AGWE 1950s

croydon 1950s

CRY15 1950s G-AMYJ

croydon 1957

CRY16 1957

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miscellaneous post card and annotated photos slide show

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Pamlin Photos post card slide show includes G-EBLO, G-AAXC, GAGSH, F-ALCS, D-AMHC, F-AOHB, F-AQNP. G-AFDX

below, some of Brian Davidson’s  Croydon philatelic covers. he tells us that the plainest example has the rare “London Airport ” postmark.

Croydon PH

Barry says of the one above that “Croydon Airport cover with Airport postmark, very scarce item as Croydon had about 5 different airport postmarks during its life.”

two new photos from Barry Davidson of Croydon in 1928 initially published in the  “London’s Great” magazine






CRY19 an early photo of a building at Waddon,  one of two airfields that were amalgamated to form Croydon.


CR20  a photo from an 1947 pamphlet on the Ministry of Civil Aviation. the legends says MCA training: a loop aerial being explained to budding radio operators.

Croydon 1921

CR21 1921, a Handley Page W8B G-EBBH 0f Imperial Airways, named originally Melbourne, later Prince George.

Mystery towers

Our Friends at the Control Tower site have asked for more input on the following 3 towers.


MT1a a USAAF manned tower on an airfield with a runway 06. One vehicle (second right) is a Command Car usually reserved for high rank officers.


MT1e Terry Clark suggests “I’ve found 3 towers with this ‘full width’ VCR added, Coleby Grange, Tangmere and Weston Zoyland. The first two appear to have the stairs to the roof/VCR on the wrong side, so I would suggest it’s Weston Zoyland with an additional post war ‘scaffolding’ holding the anemometer, (photo I found was dated 1954) the airfield remaining in flying use until 1958”.


MT1f  One suggestion is Snetterton Heath in which case the home squadrons flew B-26s and B-17s? There is one Mustang parked up far right but the other indistinct aircraft look more like B-24s, twin fin, high wing. Looking through the B-24 allocations with the Eighth Airforce the tower doesn’t match any I can find photos of,  the number of slit windows and lack of a high stairwell at the back make it distinctive. There are three that are not recorded photographically so far as far as I can establish;  Boxted, Cheddington and Mendlesham. Of these three the last two had B-24 units so maybe its one of those?

MT2 below showing a rather “casual” tower facility

Mystery 2

The swastika was not yet a sinister emblem, rather the opposite and it may be a unit or personal marking of a British squadron.  This is a Blackburn T2 Dart, a FAA Torpedo bomber in service 1923-33. Another Dart was recorded with similar wheel centres, in service with 461 Flight that served on HMS Furious but also at Gosport. The Dart doesn’t carry the usual markings for a carrier based aircraft so may be one of 461s aircraft used for shore training  “D3” Flight at Gosport.


tower with messenger

MT5  Miles Messenger G-AJVL in front of a possible pre 1939 single storey tower/watchroom/chief pilots office. Built at Newtonards there are links with Woodley and a Woolsington air taxi company before going to first Australia and then New Zealand.



NEW MT7 dated 1940 a very small civilian tower. Possibly an offshore or manufacturers airfield?

RAF Wyton


 Phil Williamson says “Here are a couple of Photos of Wyton Tower from around 2002 ish when VT Aerospace were running the place.  The controllers featured are Sally Belshaw and John Hudson. I include a copy of the cheat sheet I devised for QGH approaches !”


QGH approach see Chapter 10, page 29 on this link and here is a video

An archive of 20th century air traffic control photographs and other media sponsored by the Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers