AIR TRAINING CORPS GLIDING SCHOOL

Flying Officer Jack Aked (left) and 'his ATC staff' during a visit from two squadron leaders This centres on Jack Aked, who joined the RAFVR in November 1943, as a P.O. helping with 2007 Squadron. He went on a training course at Cosford in January 1945, and got his "A" and "B" badges in May 1945, by then a Flying Officer. On the 31st May 1945 he proudly started a new (BGA) logbook as Flt.Lt., C.O. of ATC No. 181 Gliding School, Stanley Park Airfield, Blackpool ( now the site of Blackpool Zoo ). The previous C.O. was Llewellyn H.Barker, who was an engineer with I.C.I. and presumably worked at their Fleetwood plant, and was then moved to Yorkshire or Durham.

John Scholes Aked ( he hated the John, and loathed the S ) was born on the 7th November 1910 (or was it 1912 ? His log books quote one, his PPL the other !). He joined his father William T.Aked in managing the garage at St.Annes. He trained as a motor engineer, up to Higher National Certificate, to be able to supervise mechanics with authority, and thus in wartime he apparently had a reserved occupation that exempted him from call-up into the armed services. This was remarkable, because Jack had learned to fly between June 1933 and April 1935 at Blackpool on Avro Avian and DH Gipsy Moth biplanes. Between these dates he flew 41.10 hours as P.2 and 10.10 hours as P.1, but apparently he didn't continue to fly. Even so you would have expected him to be called up when the RAF was short of pilots in 1939. Aked's garage was between the Empire cinema and the police station. Jack helped his father to manage this as a munitions factory; there were a few cars on the second floor, but the ground and first floors were stuffed with lathes to make shell casings. Several appeared from a dark corner many years later.

As a sideline in "war work" Jack's flying experience was enough to supervise solo training for ATC cadets. Civilian gliding was illegal from January 1940 to December 1945, but the ATC used Sutton Bank and the Long Mynd to train ATC instructors. They used two-seaters, and got in some soaring while nobody noticed. Jack didn't keep a log book until May 1945, but then guessed that he had done 20 hours gliding. This is quite incredible. He then records five flights in a Cadet (Slingsby T.7) at 5 minutes each (not timed) on 14 June 1945. Not bad for the new C.O. of a school giving solo training ! Photographs show the Wild winch (ex-barrage balloon), Beaverettes for fast retrieving after long hops, and many gliders. Jack's log books record :-
T.7 Cadets TS 301, RA 885, 907, 945, 946, 986, 989
T.8 Tutor VM 637 ( and was photo'd with TS 348 )
RFD Dagling (nacelled ?) NW 4 ( Mysterious.........)
Grunau Baby (registration not logged. Mysterious.........)
In July 1945 Jack went on an ATC course at Sutton Bank. Mostly circuits, but including Falcon 1 and Kite 1, plus 21 minutes as P.2 in Falcon 3. He went again in September, and then in December 1946 he got real lucky, 26 minutes dual hill soaring in Slingsby Type 20 (a huge tandem prototype, later flown from an aircraft carrier, and ditched), then let loose in a T.8 Tutor for 37 minutes of "C" badge, peak height 970 feet.

His instructor was Llewellyn H.Barker, who became C.F.I. for the Yorkshire G.C. when they re-started. He had been soaring since pre-war, and had owned an Abbott-Baynes Scud 3 (the glider version of the Carden-Baynes Auxiliary) since 1936. Barker had made several good cross-country flights in the Scud, which escaped the attention of the RAF in 1940, so that it spent the war in storage at Stanley Park, within its trailer. In 1947 Barker gave the Scud to one Jack Clarke, who had been his second in command ( and not to Jack Aked......) and it was overhauled by Martin Hearn at vast expense, so Clarke had to sell it. At least he let Jack have eight flights in it. By then they had moved the ATC GS to Warton aerodrome but it was disbanded in July 1948 "due to lack of suitable cadets coming forward." During 1946 Jack had been getting mentions in the local paper, and was shown landing after a record high launch. 900 feet........

 

Jack managed two more jollies at the taxpayers expense, a trip to BAFO, Salzgitter (Germany), to fly Grunau, Olympia, SG.38 (open primary) and Kranich two-seater. He was also invited to fly at EFTS Derby from January 1946 under the auspices of RAFVR and made 19 dual flights in Tiger Moths, total 10.50 hours, before going solo. He went on to get his PPL, and flew a few hours each year, mostly in Austers, eventually being cleared to aerotow at Lasham in 1967.

 

With his ATC gliding ended, in September 1948 Jack went for a week to the Long Mynd, where he was checked out in their brand new T.21 (and was hooked). Let loose for an hour in T.8 Tutor, promoted to Kite 1 for an hour, then 5.13 silver hours. Next spring he joined as a country member, and got the Kite up to 3,800 feet........without a barograph ! It took Jack 15 more years to complete his silver badge ! He flew at the Long Mynd until 1952 , as well as Kite using an "Eon Grunau", Olympia and that lovely T.21. Stay tuned. There in 1950 he first met Gordon Bleasdale, then in 1951 he met one Keith Emslie, on camp from Cranfield, and in fact while Keith was pole squatting in a Grunau, Jack was catapulted off to join him in an Olympia. Next year Keith was blown away in a thermal, and landed 40 miles away, so when he settled at Lytham in 1952 and went to see Jack's new gliding club he was disappointed to be unwelcome. It took some time to realise why; Jack didn't want a member with higher soaring qualifications than the CFI !

In 1956 a group working at Warton (Keith Emslie, Mike Henney, Dennis Carey and Martin Cowburn) bought that Scud 3 (BGA 283) and started to do car tows using Keith's Armstrong Siddeley (1937, six cylinders, pre-selector gearbox). They were very unpopular with a man who had hens in a garden up to the fence near to the runway that was used by the P 1 (Lightning prototype). The hens went berserk when the large hawk floated across, although the P 1 jets never worried them ! They only flew at Warton on three days, just to get the feel of the glider, then took it to the Long Mynd for one glorious month. Keith managed two weekends there, and three good hill soaring flights, but the others felt that they were unable to take enough advantage of the glider, and they did not have a workshop to lay out the bits for overhaul of this delicate casein-glued structure, so this attempt at a private soaring group just faded away. The Scud languished in its trailer alongside Keiths' house in Lytham until in 1961 Dennis Carey had moved to Nympsfield and found a potential buyer. Mike Garnett, in conjunction with Peter Philpot, who came to view, haggled just a little, and bore away the Scud in the trailer from Rhubarb & Custard, their original Skylark 2. It's a small world, isn't it !

The trailer that had housed the Scud 3 from 1936 until 1961 was left behind. This was clad in commercial non-waterproof plywood, covered with tarred roofing felt. Wilting a little, but still not letting in any water. When Jack was moving the B&FGC to Samlesbury he needed a housing for the Eon Baby, so Keith offered him the old Scud trailer, which would hold together for one last trip on the road, (which Keith had to do !) and remain static at Samlesbury. Jack and Ivor Stretch came to view the trailer, offered free, and they spent more time inspecting it and dithering over whether to accept, than Peter Philpot had taken to view and buy the airframe !

Now, where were we ?

 

SOURCES.

 

Jack Aked's papers, log books, photos.
Blackpool Gazette & Herald, 5th Jan, 4th May, 29th June 1946
Sailplane & Glider, 1937 - 1939 (L H Barker & Scud 3).
Keith Emslie's records (Scud 3).
Comments from Eric Gillett, Aked employee from 1938 - 1942 & 1945 - 1950.