Merged image of a V8 engine, Sherman Tank,  Clementine the Cat, and my MGA in the Alpes

Training in Ramsgate, 1937

"Summer, 1937 saw the part-time squadron flying its nine Avro Tutors and Hawker Harts down south to Ramsgate for a two week long 'Summer Camp'. This appears to have been regarded as something of a paid holiday by many of its pilots, some of whom gained the unnerving (though valuable) experience of flying and landing whilst still suffering the after-effects of a previous night out in nearby London."

(Extract from The History of 609 Squadron by Frank Ziegler.)

Jack Lister describes his first flight:

"We were at Ramsgate Airfield for the 1937 camp. We were still a bomber squadron in those days and out aircraft were Hawker Harts. One day the officer in charge of the photo section, PO Drummond-Hay, came along and offered to give us all a short flight".....

Ramsgate airfield from the air

....."I had never ever flown and awaited my turn with eager anticipation as I was being prepared (parachute and harness fitted). I then realised I would be standing behind the pilot and wondered would I fall out if he looped the loop."......

View of Ramsgate from the air

....."However there was a wire anchored to the floor and the other end had a fitting which in some way fastened to the harness. It gave me some comfort to know I was now part of the aircraft and there was no way that sort of accident could happen."

"Hawker Harts had no canopy to protect the crew from the elements so it was rather breezy when airborne. Ramsgate airport was just a grass field so we bumped our way to the edge and took off.".....


Jack Lister poses with the CO's deHavilland Moth.

....."We did not fly very high and as we flew along the coast over Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate, some of the people on the beach waved to us. Coming back we took the inland route to the airfield."

"Coming down I expected to get that sinking feeling but with the excitement of the flight I was too thrilled to have any feelings until we were bumping along the ground. The whole flight was a sensation I have never forgotten."

(From an article in Tally Ho - the 609 Squadron Association Newsletter by Jack Lister.)

609 Auxiliaries at Ramsgate Camp in 1937.

609 Auxiliaries at Ramsgate Camp in 1937.

From left to right then top to bottom: P Kendall, Cpl Daniels, L Garrit, J Lister, R Parke

John Payne, a mechanic with 609 squadron

John Payne

A mechanic with 609 squadron, relaxing in his tent at Ramsgate Camp.

My grandparents would keep in touch with John Payne until his death in the 1990s. He would be a regular dancing partner to my grandmother who remembers he was particularly good at quickstep.

Boulton Paul Overstrand

Boulton Paul Overstrand

Piloted by flying instructor Flight Lieutenant N Odbert. It was presumably used to transport 609 Auxiliaries from their base at Yeadon to Ramsgate Camp.

A group photograph of 609 squadron

A pre-war group photograph of 609 squadron

The photograph includes both pilots and ground crew.
Jack Lister is 8th from the left in the bottom row.

Next: Fun in Broadstairs - 609 Off Duty

Back to 609 Squadron Photographs