Entries A-E

Derek Balcombe  ? - 2010  

Awaiting Details from anyone

Derek Balcombe
Mick Bates 1946 - 14 March 2010  

Mick became involved with Brooklands in 1988 when he dismantled the Brooklands Varsity at Sibson Airfield. After it was transported to Brooklands he reassembled it, more or less on his own.  The following year he dismantled Viscount Stephen Piercey at Southend and then also reassembled it at Brooklands.

During his time at Brooklands he gave much of his spare time, to get involved in many other projects and recoveries, impressing everyone who had the honour of working with him. His sense of humour was legendary and no matter how hard things became for him, he always had a wry smile on his face.

In later life he suffered a number of tragedies in his life, including losing his left leg. However this was never going to stop Mick and he continued to work on his beloved  Britannia G-ANCF in Liverpool, Where he could often be seen swinging around the fuselage using just his arms.  For those who knew him, Mick was Giant amongst Giants!

Spud Boorer 1916 - 2004  

Norman William Boorer OBE was his name, but he was 'Spud' to everyone who knew him (due it seems to a childhood liking for potatoes). Spud joined the Brooklands Team as a Volunteer Consultant in the very early days and was a constant source of knowledge about the Weybridge Aviation Industry having worked as a draughtsman for Vickers and later its successors British Aircraft Corporation and British Aerospace, since 1931.   

During his time at Vickers he had worked closely with Sir Barnes Wallis on various projects including the famous Bouncing Bomb and the design of the Brooklands Stratospheric Chamber. During the early forties he also worked at the Vickers Site off the Redhill Road called  Foxwarren Park and served as special assistant to Sir George Edwards with BAC from 1969-1975.

The Museums knowledge of the Stratospheric Chamber's working, is largely due to the detailed notes and diagrams he made in the nineties. 

Geoff Bloomer 1926 - 17 December 2014  
Geoff Bloomer had given almost 30 years service to the Museum when he died. Often seen standing tall, distinguished and distinctive in his overalls sporting his gliding wings. He was keen aero modeller, building  many accurate scale and flying models including some for others.

In his youth he joined the ATC and ended up as Cadet F/Sgt before joining the RAF later in the war. Early in 1945 he was posted to RAF Kai Tak in Hong Kong as an ATCO.   On leave service he entered a career with British Rail - latterly as Chief of the Compensation Dept.   Around 1985 he retired and soon was recruited as a museum Wellington team volunteer by Clive Leach. He started the same day as John Riley and they became good friends for almost the next 30 years.  

During his time at Brooklands  he also built, repaired or restored various scale model aircraft and perhaps his ultimate achievement being one of the main  members of a small team which created the full-size replica Hawker Fury I biplane fighter painted to represent 'K5673', a machine based at Tangmere with the Royal Air Force's famous 1 Squadron in the mid-1930s.  He also worked on the repair and maintenance and periodic 'live'  demonstrations of  the Museum's flyable Bleriot and Sopwith Camel replicas and also did the same with the Kronfeld Drone G-AEKV. 
Geoff Bloomer
Ron Brant 1938? - 2006  

Ron was very much a key player who played a major role in shaping Brooklands Museum throughout the nineties. He was always happy to leave whatever project he was on and leaned a helping hand to others with their projects

An experienced aircraft technician he took over the rebuilding of Viscount Stephen Piercey, from Mike Bates and was a major help to the Friends of Viscount Stephen Piercey, in raising funds for the aircraft. With the help of his son and his son's coach, he helped organise fund raising trips for The Friends. 

In 1996 he involved in the acquisition of Vanguard (Merchantman) G-APEP from and over the following years he took over the stewardship of the aircraft, a job which he loved. In May 2004 suffering from ill health, he proudly captained the Vanguard as it became the last Major Aircraft Movement at Brooklands, bringing to the end some 90 years of aviation history.  

Jock Bryce OBE 1921 - 7th May 2014  
The webmaster finds it especially fitting that in death Jock has joined so many other great Brooklands people here in the B section. Ron would have been especial proud to be next to him.

Gabe Robb Bryce know to us all as Jock, had had a distinguished carrier in the RAF who he had joined at the outbreak of war! During that time he flew Blenheims, followed by U Boat hunting Wellingtons. After the war he was posted to the King's Flight flying Vikings.

He joined Vickers in 1947 and became a Test Pilot under the guidance of Mutt Summers, flying from Brooklands and Wisley airfields. He was involved in no less than 11 Maiden Flights often as Captain. Those first included Varsity, Viscounts, Vanguard, VC10, BAC 1-11 and jet powered prototype Viking and Viscount. He even had to eject from the prototype Valiant in 1952, where tragically his co pilot lost his life. He retired from Flying in the sixties and became involved in BAC sales for another ten years.

His later life as a volunteer at Brooklands was spent working quietly in the background cutting grass and tidying the site. He was the most modest of man and had to be literally dragged to the front at important Brooklands events, not wishing to be thought of as the truly incredible man he was.   One of Jock's published obituary's is here

Robert (Bob) Casbard 1927 - 10th November 2010  

Bob had been a volunteer at Brooklands since the eighties, largely involved with (and then later leader of) the Wellington Team. The webmaster remembers all to well his attention to detail and forward planning when the Wellington got airborne again, to have its undercarriage fitted Video Here 

In 1945 he took up gliding – initially with a Dagling at Harrow and in April 46 Obtained his RAeC ‘A’ Certificate for gliding.   At some point around 1946 he joined Vickers-Armstrong at Brooklands and took private lodgings with several other Vickers employees in a large house in Portmore Park, Weybridge, where he subsequently met his future wife Retta, who was his landlady’s niece and they Married 1947

Later he joined Hawker Aircraft Ltd at Kingston-on-Thames; among his colleagues there was John Lattimore (who would eventual take over the Wellington project from him) and then later he joined the Air Registration Board (soon to be part of the CAA).  He retired from the CAA in 1988 and immediately joined volunteers working on the Wellington at Brooklands Museum.

Eric Chambers 1929 - 2014  

Eric was a stalwart of the Brooklands Car Rides Team, from the days of its earlier incarnation as a loose grouping of owner drivers who operated on an ad hoc basis, during the ' Whizzo Wednesdays' time, right through to the well established team currently operating at the museum.

 He was a keen & enthusiastic MG owner, (almost a pre-requisite for team membership), and, when his physical powers declined he became the team 'Ticketer', dispensing charm, wit and banter from what he referred to as his 'sentry box'  the small white shed which serves as our ticket office.

In any small, close knit, hard-working team, every individual becomes an indispensable and key member and no more so than Eric; his enthusiasm and bonhomie were always present whatever his health issues, which tells you an awful lot about the man. He will be missed.

Anthony "Stephen" Devereux 1923 - 2014  

Know to his home family as Tony, his was always Steve to his family at Brooklands. Steve joined the RAF during the war as an aircraft technician and flew in a large assortment of aircraft. After he left the RAF, he went Lucas and when he was made redundant, joined Babcock and Wilcox, where he worked until he retired. This work  took him all over the world working at huge Power Stations Controls Systems. 

He joined Brooklands as a volunteer in the mid eighties and was involved in many major projects. He made the 'Strat' his home and he lifelong quest for knowledge, saw him become a collector of information on the equipment inside. He also researched the old Vickers site, trying to understand where long since removed building had once stood.

 He was involved with the Vimy right from the start and is probably the oldest person ever to fly in it. He also for many years looked after the Aero Engine collection, where there were few who could match his knowledge of each unit. He passed away after a short illness on the 1st of October 2014 - A true Brooklands Character.  

Back to the Main Website