9 thoughts on “RAF Thornaby-on-Tees 1912-1939

  1. Was at Richard Hind School, 1947 – 1952. Well acquainted with Sid Buckle and Ken Sawyer (I passed RK GCE 1952!). Both good and decent teachers, only ever came across one teacher that wasn’t. Good days at Richard Hind School and previously at Bowesfield Lane. Will always remain fond of that area and numerous friends I had in it. PS. Those comments at head of this page, on the aircraft over Billingham, they are by my son. David Edward (Eddie) Thompson, ex Bickersteth Street – now Billingham.


  2. Mr Sawyer(Ken) may know more about this, but Syd Buckle, the arts teacher, emigrated to South Africa around 1955-56. He was there for about a year and then returned to Richard Hind. Not many people in Britain were aware of the aparteid system in South Africa at that time. I have always wondered if Mr Buckle, seeming to be a very decent chap, came back when he saw what was going on.


  3. Thanks for this info Derek! I had not realised that things were that bad before the start of WWII! So 608 Squadron re-equiped with a totally obsolete aircraft with a top sped of 180mph, just about half as fast as its front line openebt in Luftwaffe.


  4. This aircraft belongs to 608 squadron based at Thornaby.Apparently the squadron flew Westland Wapitis until January 1937 when it was re-equipped with Hawker Demon fighters.So the picture must have been taken sometime in the middle 1930’s.Regarding Syd Buckle whom I remember as Art teacher at Richard Hind School his name is apparently mentioned in a book about 608 squadron called “The Kipper Patrol” by Louise Wilkinson.


  5. Remarkably I saw a very similar looking biplane flying around this (Halifax) area – perhaps from a small airfield on the outskirts of Huddersfield.Took my mind back to childhood and pre WWII days of training biplanes operating from RAF Thornaby.

    Fred Starr recalls Sid Buckle as the Richard Hind Boys’ School art teacher – in the room adjoining the history room of Jack Florence and then Bob Gibson. I remember them as very good colleagues.


  6. Yes, it was Sid Buckle. In those days pupils did not “challenge” teachers, but I challenged Mr Buckle over his claim to be a pilot. This is how I found out that he had flown at Thornaby….I have to say that my classmates thought I had not behaved well, in my challenging. The group dynamics are different now, apparently. Sid was a really good teacher.He set very high standards and got a number of pupils up to the point where they could have become professional art illustrators. I was not very good myself, but picked up some of the techniques.


  7. Mr Sid Abbott, the Arts Teacher at Richard Hind in the mid fifties, used to fly one of these. So he must have been one of the fortunates to survive WWII. This type of plane was the first to fly over mount Everest


  8. The photograph was taken over Billingham and not Thornaby. Central Avenue can be seen below the aircrafts fuselage, left of centre. The fledgling ICI Billingham complex can be seen in front of the aircrafts nose. A similar previous photograph showing 3 Wapiti”s was also taken in the Billingham area. These are two of a series which were taken on the same day .


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.