History takes off: A new book, ‘Wings Across Bermuda’ by Tom Singfield and Ewan Partridge, traces more than 100 years of our aviation history and includes a wealth of unique images such as these two US Navy Marlins flying over Gibb’s Hill in 1962. *Photo supplied
History takes off: A new book, ‘Wings Across Bermuda’ by Tom Singfield and Ewan Partridge, traces more than 100 years of our aviation history and includes a wealth of unique images such as these two US Navy Marlins flying over Gibb’s Hill in 1962. *Photo supplied
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It has taken years of planning, scores of interviews and countless hours of meticulous research.

But Tom Singfield and Ewan Partridge’s labour of love detailing 100 years of aviation history in Bermuda is almost ready to go on sale.

It is a journey that started decades ago for the two British aviation enthusiasts as they began to trace the island’s pivotal place in Atlantic aviation history.

And the book, Wings Over Bermuda, is unique first hand account of the vital role aviation played in the island’s development from the early days of Seaplanes that landed at Darrell’s Island right up to the daily flights that come into LF Wade.

Mr Singfield told the Bermuda Sun: “Once we started more and more information kept cropping up.

“People in Bermuda have been so helpful and happy to talk about their experiences over the years.

“We have spoken to old pilots, people that worked at the airport and Ewan did a lot of the nitty-gritty work on the US military presence in Bermuda.

“We complemented each other quite well.

“We must have spoken to hundreds of people but that has helped us to understand what it was like in Bermuda in the 50s and the 60s and allowed us to give the book a first hand feel.

“There’s also been plenty of trips to the library and the archives to see what else we could find out.

“It really is a fascinating story and I think a lot of Bermudians will be really surprised to learn what an important staging post the island was — especially during World War Two and later conflicts.

“I hope the book will open people’s eyes and show that Bermuda was quite a significant aeronautical spot.”

Mr Singfield, a retired air traffic controller, first visited Bermuda in 1975, with his wife, Maggi, who spend her early childhood on the island.

While Mr Partridge grew up near Gatwick Airport and went on to work in the defence and aerospace industries.

He was a frequent visitor to Bermuda in the early 1990s when there was still a US Navy Squadron operating out of Kindley.

Mr Singfield added: “I have always been an aviation enthusiast.

“But when I first started coming to Bermuda I was always taken by the boards in the airport that gave little potted histories.

“That’s where it really began for me and I would go out, take pictures and contact people who had worked in the aviation industry whenever me and my wife came back to visit.

“A few years later I did a 12-page article in an British aviation publication on Bermuda.”

The two authors have partnered with the Bermuda National Museum and Brimstone Media Limited in this project and hope that the book will be available in the spring of next year.

Dr Ed Harris, director of the National Museum said: “Tom Singfield and Ewan Partridge will have done Bermuda a great service with the publication of their large book on the history of aviation in the island.

“The coming of airplanes revolutionized Bermuda in the late 1930s, a movement that was accelerated with the establishment of the United States Army’s Kindley Field in 1941, which allowed us after the Second World War to go into ‘aerial tourism’ in a big way, as we had the airfield facilities that were lacking in most places in the Caribbean islands to our south.

“It cannot be gainsaid that Bermuda cannot exist in any modern sense without airplane transportation for our visitor industry, international business and the supply of many daily necessities that come in by plane to the now-named LF Wade International Airport.

“Singfield and Partridge’s extensive research, images and writing puts the present situation into an historical perspective, which most people should enjoy reading in the lavishly illustrated book.