Cardiff's Annual Air Display (June 1933)
"Flight" July 27th 1933
The Principality during the past few months has been showing
increasing indications of airmindedness, fostered by the Cardiff
Aeroplane Club, and
enhanced lately by the visit of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales in the
Vickers " Viastra " (2 Pegasus). The enforced stay of the Mollisons
has also had a great effect, and brought aviation into prominence,
many thousands of visitors having journeyed to the Municipal
Airport, to view the Seafarer, which was kindly loaned to the Club
for exhibition. In addition, Cardiff is somewhat exceptional as a
provincial Municipal aerodrome in having two scheduled air lines
operating, using Cardiff as a junction the G.W.R. line, which now
runs from Birmingham to Ply-mouth, via Cardiff and Teignmouth, and
the Bristol-Cardiff air ferry, which has now accomplished some
35,000 miles in twice-daily trips. It is not surprising, therefore,
that approximately 25.000 people turned up on July 22 for the annual
pageant organised by the Cardiff Aeroplane Club, and were treated to
an. exceptionally attractive and well-organised display, favoured
with magnificent weather.
Mr. A. J. Styran flying Sir Derwent Hall-Caine's " Leopard Moth " ("
Gipsy Major ")
in which he won the Heston-Cardiff race on Saturday, July 22.
In spite of the depression, the usual Cardiff exhibition of fine
cars and fashion-able gowns was much in evidence. The Rt. Hon. Sir
Philip Sassoon, Under-Secretary of State for Air. declared the
meeting open, having flown from Hendon in a Hawker " Hart " (R.R.
Kestrel), with an escort of three machines. His speech was carried
to every corner of the aerodrome through the loud speakers, and he
emphasised the merit of co-operation between the civic authorities
and club promoters, visualising a day not long distant when flying
enterprise, which had commenced so well in Cardiff, would play an
important part in the restoration of economic prosperity in South
Wales. Sir Philip was introduced by Mr. C. Temple Morris, M.P., who
is an enthusiastic member of the Cardiff Club, and in whose
constituency the pageant was held.
The first event was the arrival of the competitors in the Annual
London (Heston) to Cardiff Air Race, which again proved its
popularity by attracting a good entry in spite of the other meetings
scheduled for the same day. It will be seen, from the table below,
the field comprised a good
mixture of aircraft types, with many good hands (and feet) to steer
As the competitors assembled at Heston so the day grew hotter and
the vagaries of the wind in strength and direction increased. In
fact, when the time came for the race to start, it became necessary
to decide on a wind direction in order to maintain a constant
position for the starting line. An after-luncheon siesta on the part
of the well-known Heston wind indicator played its part in this
The inspection of the competing aircraft passed without incident
other than the necessity to inspect Mr. K. E. Lloyd's Parnall " Elf
" in the repair shop. An under-carriage fitting had come to grief
during the previous evening, and whilst mechanics worked hard to
prepare for re-placing the fittings, so new fittings were being
rushed up by air from Yate. Until the very last moment it seemed
hopeful that the " Elf " would be a starter, but in spite of every
effort it could not quite make it, the starting time of the race
being governed by the need for the finish at Cardiff to be at 3.30
p.m. in order to fit in with the remainder of the programme at that
end. As it was, and in spite of the " ubiquitousness " of Miss "
Susan " Slade in her efforts to drag some of the competitors from
their luncheons, the start was 5 min. late ; otherwise, all went
according to plan.
The handicapping by Capt. Dancy was as effective as last year, and a
really thrilling finish was witnessed by the crowd, Sir Derwent Hall
Caine's " Leopard Moth," piloted by A. J. Styran, being first over
the line, followed in quick succession by A. Henshaw on the Comper "
Swift " with which he won the Siddeley Trophy in the King's Cup, and
Norman Edgar in the " Puss Moth " entered by Mr. Richard Cadman, of
the Cardiff Aeroplane Club. Mr. Percival, Lady Bailey and Mr. A. H.
Cook were all within a few seconds of each other, providing
excel-lent testimony to the skill of the handicapper. Col. L.
Strange, who was the first man away, told us that the handicapping
was so good that he was not overtaken until after Newport, when he
could see the finishing line, and then all the machines came past
him in a bunch.
Sir Derwent Hall Caine's " Leopard Moth " was quite a centre of
attraction, after its success in the King's Cup, and this was the
first occasion on which the new D.H. production has been seen in the
West. Capt. Cyril Uwins, who has been a regular performer at Cardiff
since the inception of the Club. save his usual polished exhibition
on the Bristol " Bulldog." His climbing slow rolls are still a joy
to watch. Strictly to schedule time, No. 501 (Bomber) Squadron from
Tilton, Westland " Wallaces " (" Pegasus "), flew over the aerodrome
under the command of Sqd. Ldr. W. Elliott, and gave a perfect
example of Royal Air Force training and discipline. At Bristol in
June, even in a very high wind, the formation was beyond criticism,
but on Saturday the squadron certainly excelled itself, calling for
much enthusiastic comment. The crazy fying of Mr. H. B. Field in an
Avro was of a very high order, and Capt. " Wingy " Wyndham and Mr.
G. de Greeuw furnished some very spectacular parachute jumps. The
delayed drop of the former was the first event of this nature seen
in Wales, and tremendous excitement prevailed as the parachutist
dropped for some 2.000 ft. before opening, landing in the middle of
one of the enclosures, without, however, inflicting any damage.
(Left to right) Sir Philip Sassoon ; Mr. J. A. Sandbrook,
Hail and South Wales News ; Mr. A. J. Styran ; Mr. A. Henshaw ; Mr.
Edgar and " An Other." Mr. Styran was the winner of the
Heston-Cardiff race for
the Western Mail Trophy.
About 50 machines attended the meeting, and it was somewhat
unfortunate that the date clashed with two other important events.
The organisers, however, have every reason to be satisfied, as every
item went off without a hitch, and to schedule time. Joyriding took
place until a late hour, and the Lord Mayor of Cardiff (Alderman C.
F. Sanders) and the Lady Mayoress (Miss M. Muriel Sanders) took
The Corporation was represented by Sir Illtyd Thomas (Chairman,
Aerodrome Committee), the Town Clerk, Mr. D. Kenvyn Rees, Councillor
George Williams, Councillor A. E. Shippobotham, Mr. William Forbes,
whilst visitors included Mr. O. Temple Morris, IMP., and Mrs.
Morris, Mr. Tom Griffiths, M.P., Dr. G. Arbour Stephens, Mr. Robert
J. Webber, Managing Director of the Western Mail, and Mr. J. A.
Sandbrook, Editor-in-Chief of the Western Mail. The Cardiff Club
have reason to be especially grateful to the Western Mail for the
Flying Scholarship scheme recently inaugurated by that journal.
an occasion when team work alone is responsible for such success, it
is difficult to single out individuals, but special mention must be
made of the work of the Chairman, Capt. W. R. Bailey, and Secretary,
Mr. Arthur Davies. Mr. Evan Roberts handled the publicity extremely
well, and Mr. Norman Nash was responsible for control of the crowd
and layout of the aerodrome arrangements. Councillor O. C. Purnell
was his usual bright self on the announcing, assisted by
Mr. C. H. Phillips. Cardiff hospitality is proverbial amongst the
flying fraternity, and Saturday's event was exceptional, even for
Cardiff, in this respect. Mr. Charles Keen and Mrs. Keen, together
with Mr. Kenneth Davies and Mrs. Davies and Mrs. Bailey, entertained
all the guests to dinner and dance at the Angel Hotel, the party
after-wards migrating to the latest Welsh inspiration, " The Blue
Horizon "a charming old mansion converted into a very entertaining
country clubwhere dancing and bathing kept the entertainment going
until an early hour.