Hovercraft History

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There were also early Hovercraft trials from Stokes Bay. I also seemed to remember that there was a hovercraft service, as I remember my Aunty taking a trip to the Isle of Wight, when I was very young. This has now been confirmed by C R Jeffery

On the Hovercraft Museum site it used to confirm that though the route between Stokes Bay and Ryde was not the first, which was between Morton to Rhyl in North Wales from 20th July 1962 for two months, and another from 11th to 24th August that year from Eastney to Ryde. In 1963 from 23rd July to 30th August there was another trial between Weston-Super-Mare and Penarth, South Wales. In 1964 the trial between Eastney to Ryde was between 17th June and 31st August.

In 1965 Hovertravel Ltd started routes between Southsea and Ryde and also Stokes Bay (Gosport) and Ryde. Though the passenger route from Stokes Bay was not the first, I feel, but I am bias, that there is a difference between two month trial and a route that lasted two years.

Well I said I was young, about 5, I did not like the hovercraft as everyone came back covered in oil, but I think Stokes Bay just had oil on it, whereas now everyone goes on about pollution, but the beach is much cleaner now.

Hovercraft History in full on the Hovercraft Museum Site

Hovercraft Museum and Hovercraft Society Site.

Bartie’s Hovercraft Site a Page of Photos by ‘Ade’ of Hovertravel SR-N6 at Stokes Bay, Gosport, Hants.

Hovershow 1976 Programme

Memories of Hovercraft HR1 by Harold Tokins

As Petty Officer Buffer at Lee-on-Solent  I  had to supervise the dragging up the Slipway at Lee of the first Hovercraft,  I think SR-N1 was the designation. It had come across the Solent from  I.O.W. on its way to the 1959 Boat Show in London. To this day I can not  understand why it could not taxi its way up the slipway onto dry land but it did  not. It stopped at the waters edge. I got the lads  to tie ropes to it and then it was "2 Six Heave " and my lads  could heave well. BANG !! one of the Hovercraft's Tyres burst.

Then it was discussion time with the Hovercraft  Crew and to be informed that SR-N1 had Castering Wheels and one must have  been at 90 degrees to the line of direction. We had pulled the Wheel  Cover off it's Hub. We then ensured the other three were Fore &  Aft before further pulling it into Lee Slipway Gate.

As it was the first time I had seen this  strange machine how was I expected to know about it's wheels. I could have  been instructed first instead the Pilot was far to busy chatting with the  collection of Brass that on these occasions like to stand around looking good  but are useless at anything else.      Harold  Tokins

Memories of Gosport flying by Harold Tokins


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Site first published 3rd April 2001

Updated 28th January 2018

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