The Solly Recreation ground is a large field used by the Scout movement in Prenton, however what many people do
not know is that for a short time it was used as an airstrip by local pilot Lancelot J. Rimmer.
Rimmer was born and raised with his family lived at Meols. Lance Rimmer was described as a man with a very
pleasant nature, who had served in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I and after the war, he provided
pleasure flights with his Avro 504 shown above, from the beach at West Kirby and the Solly Recreation Ground in
He was also one of the pilots that flew pleasure flights at the opening of Bidston aerodrome on Easter 1920. From
29th May 1923, Lance had held a commission as a Flying Officer in the RAF Reserve.
In the summer of 1925, Lance was operating pleasure flights from the beach at
New Brighton using an aircraft owned by the Liverpool Aviation Company. On two occasions the aircraft struck
members of the public as it was taking off. The first occasion the injuries were only slight, but the second occasion
required the injured person to spend 6 days in Victoria hospital and the company being fined £100.
In 1926, he was operating the International Aviation Co. Ltd out of Hooton
Park using 4 Airco DH6’s for pleasure flights. At the end of the 20’s, Lance was the chief pilot with the pleasure
flight company Berkshire Aviation Tours based at Monkmoore airfield just outside Shrewsbury. Whilst flying at Leeds
he met Captain E.E. Fresson who was also a pilot with Berkshire. The two saw quite a lot of each other and decided
that they should form their own pleasure flight company. So, in January
1929, North British Aviation Co. Ltd. was formed at Hooton Park.
For the 1933 display season, Sir Alan Cobham’s rival, the British Hospitals Air Pageant (BHAP), had obtained the use
of Cornwall Aviation Company’s aircraft, which were normally used by Sir Alan Cobham, leaving Cobham requiring
replacement aircraft. This short fall was made up from the bankrupt stock of Northern Air Transport supplied
through Lance Rimmer’s association with the company. Thus surplus military Avro 504Ks G-ABLL
(ex.J8333), G-AHBJ (ex. J8343) and G-AHBK (ex. J8351) appeared with the No.2
team after August 1933.
Rimmer also put the Avro 504Ns of his own company,North British Aviation, at Cobham’s disposal for the duration of
this short fall. G-AHBJ & G-AHBK were written off later in the year after crashing at Hooton Park, halving the fleet of
Northern Air Transport.
In July 1933 Rimmer owned an ex Berkshire Aviation Tours Avro 504 G-EAKX
until it was dismantled at Hooton Park in September 1934. BAC Drone G-AEEO spent the summer of 1936 with C.W.
A. Scott’s Air Displays Ltd before Lance Rimmer acquired it.
After Rimmer sold the aircraft, it was destroyed in the Hooton Park grandstand fire.
In January 1937 Merseyside Air Park re-marketed itself as Utility Airways with the same directors plus Martin Hearn
with Lance Rimmer as chief pilot.
In March 1942, Rimmer became a test pilot for the Blenheim’s and Halifax’s built by Rootes Securities at Speke. He
went on to work for Martin Hearn as a test pilot where he was known as “Pop Rimmer”.
After the death of Pop Rimmer his son went on to become a pilot in the RAF and sadly was killed during the Battle of
Britain defending the skies over England. He is buried in the West Kirby Cemetery.