Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter Since 1995

Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter

Since 1995

Reprinted from NetLetter # 960

Recollections of London (Heathrow) International Airport (LHR) from 1954 to 1965 by Terry Baker.

The original accommodations for Trans-Canada Air Lines were on the north side of the Heathrow airport, at the junction of the Bath Road and Sipson Road, in huts.

The nearer hut contained the administration and next to it was the hut for ramps, communications and flight dispatch. The cargo complex was several hundred yards east and the commissary, maintenance and stationery were on the south east near Hatton Cross.

Later, the administration office was moved to a hut near the control tower when the entrance off the Bath Road was improved to service the tunnel to the centre of the airport.

Food was usually available in the Green Dragon and, off the airport, at the Three Magpies and The Air Hostess.

Personnel who I recall during this time were:

  • Alf Lake and Reg Stoakes - Cargo
  • Archie Furzer and Jim Barber - Chauffeurs
  • Alex Murray, Les Powell, John Baker and George Steele - Flight Dispatch
  • Harry Berry, Tony Blencoe, Bill Alderson - Ramp
  • Edie Etheridge, Margaret Ewing - Communications
  • Jack Ross - Station Manager
  • Nancy Perry, Valerie Phipps - Secretaries
  • Audley Summers - Asst to Station Manager
  • T. Carr Hodgson - Purchases & Stores Manager
  • Ron Munson, Jack Morath, Cyril Cavanagh, Phil Smythe, Ted Dean, Derek Strevens, Peter Hodge, Terry Baker, Wally Evans, Jim Arnold - Customs
  • Tom Howson - Stationery
  • Daphne Steele, Hilary Decourcey Donovan - Secretaries
  • Al Coutts and Bill Singer - Seconded from YUL
  • Don Wiley - Maintenance Manager
  • Colin Bailey, Andy Cunning, Bill Cameron, Rae George - Commissary Manager
  • Dickie Summerell, Erica Frost - Passenger Service
  • Ted Rogers (YUL), Bill Swidnicki (YWG), Danny Sweetman (YUL) seconded for cabbage patch DC-8.

The only events I recall were the Vulcan aircraft crash, the Edgehill Air Stairs, arrival of Pan Am Boeing Stratocruiser, Comet 4, B-707 and Concorde first flights - who can forget the black smoke from the B-707 with the water methanol injection on take-off - the passengers pouring out of the double deck Air France Bréguet 763 Provence, the marquee (large tent), which served, temporarily, as the departure lounge at one time, in the central area and the DC-8 Cabbage Patch incident.

Many of us took the fam flight of the Super Connie to Dusseldorf and of the DC-8 to Shannon.

Arriving at customs and being asked the fatal question "Anything to declare" and the relief on having a chalk mark applied to your luggage, which allowed one to exit - now you can breeze through the 'Green - nothing to declare' exit, which is generally staffed by groups of a few customs officers chatting to each other, seemingly paying no attention to the throngs passing before them.

Of course all the accommodations have changed or are long gone, especially the huts on the north side.

In the 1960's TCA/Air Canada moved the administration, Purchasing, Flight Dispatch and Communications into the Queen's building located in the central area of the airport.

Editors' Note: We invite anyone with memories to share with us, please do so!