Montage of books and diecast model linked to Ian GleedAviation and Aerospace – People

An important aviation centre from the 1930s, Hatfield was home to the London Aeroplane Club, the RAF Flying Club, the Stage and Screen Aero Club. It hosted many key aviation competitions. Over the years many of the great names in aviation history (and associated fields) have visited Hatfield. Below are just a few of them (in alphabetical order). However, while not all were famous but it does not diminish their contribution to the Hatfield story in any way.




Gordon Brettell and The Great Escape

Flight Lieutenant Edward Gordon Brettell DFC was a racing driver turned Spitfire pilot. He flew with 92 Squadron, and with 133 Eagle Squadron before being shot down and becoming an important member of The Great Escape team – and was murdered on Hitler's orders.

Click here for more...



Casualties of the Luftwaffe air raid on 3 October 1940

In a surprise raid a single Junkers Ju88 dropped a stick of bombs on the factory killing 21 and wounding around 70. Six of the casualties are buried in a mass grave in St Luke's Churchyard. All 21 are listed on the town war memorial.

Click here to visit the Roll of Honour page...



Espionage – Agent ZigZag

The October 1940 air raid appears to have been an unplanned target of opportunity strike (due to bad weather the intended target is thought to have been Reading). However, once the Germans learnt the power of the DH.98 Mosquito they decided to attack – this time with their feet planted firmly on the ground. More information can be found under Claims to Fame and the Hatfield in WWII feature.

Click here for Claims to Fame – Espionage


Click here for Hatfield in WWII



Wing Commander Ian Richard Gleed

This WWII fighter ace saw action in the Battle of France, Battle of Britain, and later over the Channel and Continental Europe as the RAF took the fight to the foe. He was killed in action in North Africa in 1943. But his first flight was from a peaceful Hatfield.

Click here for more...



Vincenzo Lunardi – First man to navigate the skies over England

While Hatfield is known for its contribution to heavier-than-air flight, its first brush with manned flight happened centuries earlier.

Click here for more...



Moorhouse, Rhodes and Rhodes-Moorhouse VC, DFC

The first man to fly a plane over Hatfield went on to become a legend. His wife, a passenger on one of his historic flights also became a pilot. His son followed in his father's footsteps – to glory and a tragic end.

Click here for Moorhouse, Rhodes and Rhodes-Moorhouse VC, DFC – Part 1



John Stroud – illustrator, aviation expert and historian

John Stroud spent part of his childhood in Hatfield and watched aviation come to the town. He later got a job with Imperial Airways and devoted the rest of his life to aviation. Apart from his skill as an artist, he also became a renown aviation writer.

Click here for more...



John Stroud's Hatfield memories

First as a child then as an adult John Stroud witnessed many of the key aviation developments and events that form Hatfield's aviation heritage. An article detailing his memories was published in 1975 (and is reproduced here by courtesy of Key Publishing, publishers of aviation titles like Aviation News and FlyPast). 

Click here for more...



Royal Visits

Hatfield's position at the cutting edge of aviation led to several visits by British and overseas Royalty. Some even learned to fly here.

Click here for Claims to Fame – Royalty



Dr Lokusatu Heva Sumanadasa – pilot, engineer and educator

The story of one of the many individuals from overseas (in this case Sri Lanka) who came to Hatfield, and went on to achieve great heights in their home countries. It is also a reminder that Britain did not stand completely alone against Nazi ambitions.

Click here for more...



More information can be found in the Claims to Fame section.

Aviation – Overseas Pilots


Aviation – Pioneers and Test Pilots


Aviation – Aces



Top ^


Back to: Aviation and Aerospace


Copyright © 2009, 2012 D H Markus. All rights reserved. No liability is accepted for the accuracy of information in this site.