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Southampton Airport boasts a long history, with the first aircraft taking off from the original site at Stoneham Farm in 1910. Requisitioned by the War Office in 1917 as an aircraft assembly area, it was given to the US Navy to develop. The current airport was established in 1932, and was the test bed for R. J. Mitchell’s prototype Spitfire.

The airport was commissioned as HMS Raven in 1939, and subsequently spent most of the war in service with the Royal Navy. Regular air services returned in 1945, and by the early 1950s Southampton was one of the busiest airports outside of London. Despite the nationwide slump in air passenger traffic during the 1970s, huge investment was made by its owners Airports UK Ltd, and a decade later it was purchased by the British Airports Authority. Currently owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings, it is steadily climbing the ranks of the UK’s busiest airports.

Southampton Airport Through Time (978-1445687445)

Amberley Publishing (15 June 2019) 96 pages (Illustrated)


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This book is based on the memoirs of Mrs Augusta Mary Tawke, who was born around 1819 at Priors, near Brentwood, Essex, and lived, for the most of her life, by condition of marriage, at The Lawn, Rochford. She was married to Arthur Tawke of Chigwell, Essex, Magistrate of Rochford, and they had one child, Augusta Saumarez Tawke, who was born c1856. Arthur Tawke died on 11 May 1884.
The household members at The Lawn were Mary A. Stock of Hockley (Ladies Maid), Alice Stock of Hockley (Housemaid), Margaret Keeling of Danbury (Parlour Maid), Mary A. Smith of Rochford (Cook) and Adelaide Blowers of Rochford (Kitchen Maid). Details obtained from the 1881 Census of Rochford.

The River Wild

Augusta Mary Tawke’s memoirs had been been recorded by her daughter by 1911 as her mother, then in her 93rd year, was quite blind. She later died on 14 January 1916 at Belgrave, The Cliffs, Southend-on-Sea. Probate on 9 March 1916 settled Augusta Saumarez Tawke (who was a spinster) with effects to the value of £7,049 9s. 6d.

In her memoirs, the reader being taken on a gentle tour around Southend-on-Sea, and will meet some of the tradesmen of Prittlewell, and then stroll towards the sea via Whitegate Corner to meet some of the most interesting and, even taking into consideration today’s generations, most quirky townsfolk.
The reader is then taken to the Terrace by the Royal Hotel and the library opposite, which was frequented and favoured by royalty, and meet some of the residents, including Mrs Pilton, who ran her little shop in the depths of the Shrubbery, and then back around past the fields to where Alexandra Street would be built (this road being taken from a portion of the beautiful garden of Mr John Page). There is a front row seat too, for the visit by special train of HRH Princess Louise to Southend on 9 December 1912, who declared an extension of the Victoria Hospital in Warrior Square open. Invited guests were crowded into the reception room in the Winter Garden at the Palace Hotel for a special afternoon.
A treat is in store, too, as the reader is taken on the first steam train out of Southend -well, as far as Wickford, anyway. The return journey was delayed because of a derailment further up the line, but it is worth noting the differences in the level of interest and enthusiasm towards this new transport system as it has just reached our town! The book also takes the reader to Southchurch, Prittlewell, Rochford, Hawkwell, Hockley, Rayleigh, and Thundersley.
The final chapter includes an extraordinary List of Executions in Essex in the 100 years leading up to 1871: crimes include many highway robberies.

17 April 2019  ASIN: B07QQ3F325

115 Pages Kindle edition available from Amazon


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In the event of a ‘No-deal’ between the UK and the EU post Brexit:

A draft regulation to ensure air connectivity, which would be the basis for EU countries to give UK airlines permission to operate in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement, was published in December 2018, and intended to apply until March 2020 (or sooner if alternative arrangements are put in place in the meantime), and the rights it provides to UK airlines are conditional on the UK granting equivalent rights to airlines from EU countries. A final version of the draft regulation has been provisionally agreed by the EU. This is expected to be confirmed by the Council and the European Parliament shortly.

Passenger Screening

The security screening requirements for all direct passenger flights to and from the UK will remain as they are today.

The EU has stated that it will recognise UK passenger and baggage screening. This means that passengers flying from the UK will continue to be able to transfer at an EU airport for an onward flight without experiencing additional security rescreening procedures.

Cargo from the EU to the UK

The UK intends to recognise EU cargo security from the outset, and will not require new cargo security designations for carriers from EU airports. This recognises that security standards are already aligned and equivalent. It will minimise disruption to the European and global cargo networks.

Cargo from the UK to the EU

The EU has stated that it intends to recognise the UK cargo security regime as equivalent and allow cargo to continue to fly into the EU. This means that cargo can fly from the UK to the EU without a security designation.


The EU has been clear that UK airlines would no longer be able to operate their intra-EU services. The UK’s position remains that liberalised markets in air services (based on liberalised air traffic rights such as cabotage) promote choice and connectivity for consumers. However, the UK also has to ensure a level playing field and fair competition for UK businesses, and as such airlines from EU countries will no longer be permitted to operate intra-UK services.

Nevertheless, to provide short term continuity of air services within the UK and provide time for the market to adjust to these new arrangements, the UK intends to allow member state airlines to operate services wholly within the UK for the duration of the IATA summer season 2019 (that is, up to 27 October 2019). In terms of the market adjustment required, member state airlines operating such cabotage services would be able to continue air services wholly within the UK beyond the IATA summer season only if they establish an airline in the UK with an operating licence issued by the CAA, or an agreement is reached allowing cabotage for all UK and member state airlines.

The UK will start discussions on the potential for future cabotage within the UK by member state airlines from the perspective of a level playing field.

source: http://www.gov.uk/guidance/air-services

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Early in 1953, following the death of Josef Stalin, and despite indications that dramatic changes might be taking place in the government of the Soviet Union, political and military authorities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), collectively, continued to perceive a growing threat to world peace. This was evident in the numbers and state of readiness of the forces of the Soviet Union and the Soviet satellite nations stationed in Europe – the largest military formations ever maintained by any nation, or grouping of nations, in time of nominal peace.

The speeds of newer aircraft, with which the Soviet Union’s forces already had been equipped, and the introduction into the Soviet armoury of modern, intercontinental and medium-range ballistic missiles had reduced the size of the Continent of Europe – in terms of time and air-distances – to one third of the area it had represented to military planners during the Second World War.

A number of far-reaching, practical measures had been taken during the first two years of the existence of Allied Command Europe (ACE) to defend the NATO nations against a Soviet attack. But much of the progress that had been made was of a preliminary planning and organisational nature.

NATO military leaders still lacked assurances that a sufficient number of combat-ready divisions, reserves, air-defence units , command-and-control systems, logistical systems, and other resources, which were required to guarantee a fully effective military defence of the ACE area, would be immediately available to them when needed.

As a result, beginning in 1953, a new approach to Allied defensive concepts was sought along with their progressive implementation. The Standing Group (which was made up of French, British and US representatives, and acted as Chairman on a rotating basis) subsequently issued strategic guidance to the Regional Planning Groups, and instructed them to make plans on the hypothesis that war would break out in 1954. These plans, when completed, were coordinated by the Standing Group, which then estimated roughly the total aggregate forces required to defend the NATO area. The Regional Planning Groups also produced emergency plans to be used in the event of a sudden outbreak of hostilities.

Mr Georgy Maximilianovich Malenkov temporarily assumed leadership over both the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) following the death of Stalin, and, as Chairman of the Council of Ministers in the USSR, was quick to announce that the United States had “no longer a monopoly of the hydrogen bomb.”

“On the Brink 1953: Britain’s Part in Exercise Momentum” captures the key strategies and events that took place in preparation to defend the United Kingdom from any such attack.

“On the Brink 1953: Britain’s Part in Exercise Momentum” is now available via Kindle

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The Russian Government’s request for permission to award the Ushakov Medal to British veterans of the Arctic Convoys in May 2012 was flatly refused by the British Government. The rules on the acceptance of foreign awards clearly state that in order for permission to be given for an award to be accepted, there has to have been specific service to the country concerned and that that service should have taken place within the previous five years.

It was only in a Ministerial Statement published on 17 June 2013, that The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague) announced that formal approval had been given to a recommendation for an exception to the rules on the acceptance of foreign awards to allow eligible British nationals to accept and wear the Russian Ushakov Medal. Applications and eligibility for the Ushakov Medal would be a matter for the Russian authorities.

The statement came the day after the Prime Minister (David Cameron) and President Vladimir Putin presented the first medals to Arctic Convoy veterans at a ceremony in Downing Street.

Photo: http://en.kremlin.ru

During Mr Putin’s speech (through an interpreter) he said:

“Distinguished Prime Minister, dear friends and veterans, in Russia we try to treat those who contributed to the victory over the Nazi Germany with special attention and respect, and we have governmental programmes to support and back our veterans in Russia. This is why we want to pay tribute to everybody who contributed to that victory, including our allies.”

“Therefore, we feel special respect for you and for your comrades in arms. And it’s not only about the huge volume of aid provided to the Soviet Union with your help during the Second World War; the reason is that you and your comrades in arms demonstrated unparalleled heroism during that struggle and you instilled in everybody’s minds hope that the victory over the Nazis was coming soon. And I’d like to emphasise not the titanic goals that we had in front of us back then, but I’d like to emphasise your courage and your heroism.”

“It’s hard to imagine that under the severe Arctic conditions of frosts and storms, of waves reaching sometimes five to seven metres of height, every now and then armless Arctic convoys moved along the route and reached their final destination, being in line with their sacred debt. We remember you and we believe you are heroes, and I’m humbled by the honour to be here today and to decorate you – to see and to decorate you with this Ushakov Medal. And Fyodor Ushakov is our great Fleet Commander and back in 1800, in concert with the British ally, he carried out a joint operation with Admiral Nelson. Dear veterans, I’d like to express my respect and tell you – say to you the words of gratitude and thank you from my heart. Thank you so much.”


The four-year struggle to provide material to support the Soviet war effort cost the lives of around 3,000 sailors and merchant seamen, and over one hundred civilian and military ships were lost, with the nadir coming in the summer of 1942 when convoy PQ-17 was mauled by the Luftwaffe and nine U-boats.

The Arctic convoys were renowned to be the toughest voyages, and were described by Winston Churchill as “the worst journey in the world”. In addition to the threats from U-boats, bombers and surface craft to all convoys, the main enemy was the bitter cold. After their watch, being too cold to sleep, crewmen had to keep chipping away at the ice. They were all aware that the build-up of ice had led to ships capsizing and disappearing below the surface with all hands.

The Arctic Star campaign medal was instituted in the United Kingdom on 19 December 2012, and is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32’N) from September 3 1939 to May 8 1945, inclusive.

The Arctic Star is awarded posthumously; the Ushakov medal is not.

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Early in the Second World War, Germany invaded and occupied many of its neighbouring countries in mainland Europe. Germany and the Soviet Union had secretly signed a non-aggression pact agreeing that they would not attack each other, but Germany invaded the vast country in June 1941 and soon pushed deep into Soviet territory. With this turn of events, the Soviets joined the Allied powers and agreements were quickly reached to send supplies in order to assist them in their fight against the invaders. The western Allies knew that if the Soviet Union fell, Germany could then turn its full military might to the West.

The Soviets desperately needed weapons, fuel and supplies, especially after their country’s most-industrialised areas had been captured by the Germans. Getting these supplies to them, however, would not be easy. Land transportation routes were cut off and the best sea routes were blocked by the enemy. Shipping supplies to the Soviet Union via the Indian or Pacific Oceans was a very long trip. That left the Soviet seaports on the Arctic Ocean as the fastest way to deliver goods—but it was also the most dangerous.

Beginning in the late summer of 1941, a total of forty-one Allied convoys sailed to the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel during the war. The Arctic convoys delivered millions of tons of supplies from the United States, Great Britain and Canada, including aircraft, tanks, jeeps, locomotives, flatcars, rifles and machine guns, ammunition, fuel and even boots.

The first series, PQ (outbound) and QP (homebound), ran twice-monthly from September 1941 to September 1942. The route was around occupied Norway to the Soviet ports and was particularly dangerous due to the proximity of German air, submarine and surface forces and also because of the likelihood of severe weather

The second series of convoys, JW (outbound) and RA (homebound) ran from December 1942 until the end of the war. Outbound and homebound convoys were planned to run simultaneously; a close escort accompanied the merchant ships to port, remaining to make the subsequent return trip, whilst a covering force of heavy surface units was also provided to guard against sorties by German surface ships, such as the Tirpitz. These would accompany the outbound convoy to a cross-over point, meeting and then conducting the homebound convoy back, while the close escort finished the voyage with its charges.

Dubbed by Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Britain, as “The Worst Journey in the World”, the toll taken on the Arctic convoys was horrendous. 104 Allied Merchant ships were sunk, along with eighteen British Navy warships. The human losses were 829 merchant mariners and 1,944 navy personnel. The Soviet Union lost thirty merchant ships and an unknown number of personnel, and there was almost no let-up from the high-level bombing by the Luftwaffe, low-level U-boat attacks with torpedoes and ship-to-ship surface gunfire. The Germans lost five warships, thirty-one submarines and many aircraft.

Arctic Book Cover Work - Copy217

‘Tales from the Arctic Convoys’ (kindle edition) is now available via Amazon and features the stories from veteran Royal Navy seamen from: HMS Victorious, Edinburgh, Belfast, Sheffield, Rhododendron, Punjabi, Eskimo, Wrestler, Scylla, Ulster Queen, and Faulknor, and Merchant seamen from: ST Chiltern, MT Marathon, SS Rathlin, Empire Gilbert, Chulmleigh, and Steam Merchants Ocean Viceroy and Ocean Voice.

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UK Regional airline Flybe placed itself up for sale in October 2018 following a significant drop in pre-tax profit expectations, triggering a 37% drop in its share price. Increased oil prices (fuel is priced in Dollars but paid for in Pounds – which is steadily decreasing in value against the Dollar) with the seasonal drop in passenger numbers being the key factors.

EasyJet at SEN

London Luton Airport-based EasyJet is looking at purchasing a part of the failing company, and Stobart Air, lessee of London Southend Airport, which operates an airline with Flybe under a franchise agreement, dropped plans to buy the company outright in March after its bid was rejected, but may go to the table again despite experiencing its own recent tremors at management level.

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