Walter Bowles, Aviator, Motor Dealer and my Grandfather!

Walter Bowles

The Planes

The Air Races


Walter Bowles - Page 3

Air Racing!

Walter clearly regarded the Messenger as an excellent combination of family tourer and potential racing machine, particulary for the handicapped air racing of the 40s and 50s. It was thus on March 1st 1949 that, with my mother, he collected Messenger 2a G-AKBN from what had by then become Handley-Page Ltd at Woodley. -KBN had been built at the Miles factory in Newtownards a couple of years earlier.

Local flights followed, including collecting Nat Somers from Sywell having delivered Messenger G-AKKC there. Bembridge and Portsmouth also appear in the log book.

Miles Messenger 2a G-AKBN
Miles Messenger 2a G-AKBN

This led on to a full years' flying. A trip to Basle for an air rally and on to Neuchâtel where my mother was staying, and then on through Frannce via Cannes and then back to Elstree via Denham. This was not without incident, for on the intended run from Le Touquet to Basle, he became "temporarily unsure of position" due to cloud, and after climbing to 8,500ft and finally found a hole, spiralling down to land in a field of cows. (He must have been grateful for the Messenger's legendary short-field ability.) The woman farmer was not impressed, but warmed to them and looked after them until the weather cleared.

Miles Messenger 2a G-AKBN
Miles Messenger 2a G-AKBN

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