Happy Birthday Bix

Bill Clark in 1972

Bill Clark in 1972

Bill (Bix) Clark, who opened the Fairey Surveys Livingston office back in the 1970s, will be turning 90 on 5th March.

Bill Clark joined Fairey Surveys in 1947 following 6 years in Royal Engineers Surveys, then left after 10 years to work in the US, where he worked in photogrammetry.  He returned to the UK in 1960, and rejoined Fairey Surveys in the Photogrammetric Section.  He became Photogrammetric Section Supervisor in 1964 and transferred to UK Marketing as Assistant Manager in 1969, reporting to Marketing Manager Peter Forsey.

The opening of the office in Livingston followed the FSL contract to provide mapping for the planning of the new town at Stonehouse, south east of Glasgow.  Bill Clark became Managing Director of Fairey Surveys Scotland, and opened the office in November 1973.  It had a small map production unit equipped with a Zeiss Stereometrograph and cartographic facilities.

We understand that Bill played the trumpet, and that his nickname came from the jazz musician Leon BismarkBixBeiderbecke, who played the cornet and piano in the 1920s.

Syrian survey 1947

These photographs and newspaper cuttings came from Kieran (Ken) Roche via his brother Gerry Roche.  Kieran was the Flight engineer on what was described as the first ‘Fairey Surveys’ flight out of White Waltham in 1947.

KR Syria_0001  KR Syria_0002

Air Survey aircraft (AIRSPEED OXFORD). First ‘Fairey Surveys’ flight out of White Waltham, 1947. Left to right: Brian Attwell (management), Richard Younghusband (pilot), Ken Roche (engineer), Group Captain Lawes (management).  Richard Younghusband, has a claim to fame from even earlier.  He was apparently flying back from France the day war broke out, and triggered off the first English World War 2 air raid alarm.

KR Syria_0003

Hotel Baron, Aleppo, Syria.
This was our hotel and x marks the spot where we usually sit at night nattering.  This was taken during the siesta period, hence the deserted appearance of the street, shops closed etc.  Only a few Bedouin at large.

KR Syria_0004

Aleppo, Syria.  Air Survey photographers and Ken Roche with medieval citadel in background.  From left: Freddie Worton, John Rushton, Ken Roche, ?

KR Syria_0006

Aleppo, Syria.  Time off …  Left to right: ?, Ken Roche (engineer), Richard Younghusband (pilot).

KR Syrian dam survey newspaper cutting

Newpaper cutting from the Daily Telegraph in 1968, about the building of the Aleppo dam on the Euphrates river.

KR Syrian Hotel Baron newspaper cutting

The Hotel Baron in Aleppo had a long history and many interesting guests on the register.  The last sentence of this press cutting is quite poignant.  A couple of website links give information on the current state of the Hotel Baron and the Mazloumian family:

http://pvewood.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-hotel-baron-at-war.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11239988/War-in-Syria-takes-toll-on-Aleppos-oldest-hotel-in-pictures.html?frame=3111065

More news of the Hotel Baron from the Times on 14th May 2016.  Mr Mazloumian died recently, and the hotel has taken a couple of mortar hits, but it is still standing and occupied by Mr Mazloumain’s widow and three refugee families.

Hotel Baron Aleppo update May 2016

 

 

 

 

Fairey Surveys presentations 1959

We know the date and most of the people in the photographs, but not what the presentations were for.  Attendance?  Good behaviour?

Fairey Surveys presentations 1959

Fairey Surveys presentations 1959

Left picture, L-R: ?, ?, Ken Pinkney, Bob Embleton, Rex Ackland, Peter Challis, Dave Parker
Right picture, L-R: ?, ?, Bob Embleton, Ken Pinkney, Peter Challis, Dave Parker

From Ian Smith

These photographs came from Ian Smith, but we have no information on date or place.  We would love to know where the Hotel Du Parc is (or was)!

Ian Smith 10 Ian Smith 09 Ian Smith 08 Ian Smith 07 Ian Smith 06 Ian Smith 05

These two look like a pair, from the paper, size and age.  And the third and fourth from the left on the top row of the left hand picture are surely the same two facing forward in the foreground of the right hand picture.  Was it a conference?

These two look like a pair, from the paper, size and age. And the third and fourth from the left on the top row of the left hand picture are surely the same two facing forward in the foreground of the right hand picture. Was it a conference?

This is half the story of an unfortunate incident with an Avro Anson.  No date or location given

This is half the story of an unfortunate incident with an Avro Anson. No date or location given

This is the second half of the story of the Avro Anson that landed badly in the desert, with a single camel to take the strain.  No date or loction again, but it doesn't look as if it's very warm.  Perhaps the clothes of the locals might give someone a clue to where it is?

This is the second half of the story of the Avro Anson that landed badly in the desert, with a single camel to take the strain. No date or loction again, but it doesn’t look as if it’s very warm. Perhaps the clothes of the locals might give someone a clue to where it is?

 

These seem to be a pair, with the same mountains in the background.  Morocco?  Libya?

These seem to be a pair, with the same mountains in the background. Morocco? Libya?

These look like a set, all stamped February 1960 on the back (Kodak processing date).  Perhaps the barman is a clue to the location?  Or the flowers?

These look like a set, all stamped February 1960 on the back (Kodak processing date). Perhaps the barman is a clue to the location? Or the flowers?

Ian Smith 11

 

History of Fairey Surveys

THE RECORD OF AIR SURVEY

A short history of the survey company taken from an old brochure circa 1955

The Air Survey Company was formed in 1923 to carry out an aerial survey of the Irrawaddy Delta for the Forestry Department in Burma.  The Company worked as a private concern under contract to the Indian Government.

An area of 1400 square miles was mapped on a scale of 1:20,000 during 1923-1924 and the successful completion of this programme laid the foundations for the Company’s expansion into an organisation equipped to deal with every type of air survey work in any part of the world.  Many thousands of square miles of virtually unmapped territory were covered in India and the Far East during the ensuing years while the subsidiary company, Indian Air Survey and Transport Limited, produced the maps used by the Director of Land Records (Government of India) as the official basis for planning and the settlement of boundary issues.

In 1929 the Air Survey Company became a subsidiary of the Fairey Aviation Company and with greatly increased capital resources its activities spread to include surveys in Africa, Egypt and other parts of the Middle East.  By 1939 aerial photography had established its value for a variety of purposes other than map-making when a temporary halt was called by the war years.  The India Company was reorganised and modernised after 1945 when its activities were resumed, and its name was changed to the Air Survey Company of India in 1948.  At about the same Aero Surveys Limited of Vancouver B.C., joined the group and subsidiary Companies were formed in Pakistan and Southern Rhodesia.  The latter has since been responsible for the mapping and photography of may thousands of square miles in East and Central Africa.

In 1956 the name of the Parent Company was changed to Fairey Air Surveys Limited, the group of companies thus comprising the parent unit and associated companies in Canada, Rhodesia, India and Pakistan.

 

WHITE WALTHAM

Originally the parent company comprised little more than a London Office to support the work of the Indian company.

Since 1945, however, it has become the headquarters of the United Kingdom company with a long series of successful survey missions to its credit in all parts of the world.

The laboratories are situated at White Waltham in Berkshire, where modern buildings house the complex precision apparatus required by an up-to-date survey company.

The aircraft are conveniently based on White Waltham Aerodrome, and the Company’s establishment there houses the administrative control and all technical sections under one roof.

The advantages of the group system of companies were emphasized in 1950-1951 by the successful completion of one of the most remarkable operations ever carried out by an air survey team.

In September 1950 two Dakota aircraft were sent from White Waltham to photograph 20,000 square miles in the Caribbean for the Directorate of Colonial Surveys, Colonial Office, London.  After flying the North Atlantic they turned south to British Guiana where they were employed for several months.  They then split and between them completed successful surveys in British Honduras, Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and Tobago.  One aircraft then returned to the U.K. in May 1951.

The second Dakota was diverted to assist the Group’s Canadian subsidiary, which was for the Federal Government.  This part of its operation lasted several weeks during which, on one day, a single aircraft photographed 5,800 square miles at a scale of 1:40,000.  By the time it returned to White Waltham, the first Dakota was already on its way again for an important Government survey in Southern Rhodesia.

 

GROUP SYSTEM

This demonstrates well the flexibility of the Group System and the way in which survey costs can be kept to a minimum by “following the sun” and thus utilising the aircraft fully throughout the entire year.

While the Dakotas were completing their long range missions other aircraft were busy in India and Pakistan on duties which included a survey to determine accurately, at the joint request of both Governments, the disputed East/West Bengal boundary between the two countries.

Thus, from simple beginnings over thirty years ago Fairey Air Surveys has extended its scope and activities until today it represents a major aid to development in many parts of the world.