The ERA committee has agreed the award of a Residents’ Association Blue Plaque to record the fact that A.W. (Bill) Bedford – Test Pilot – lived at The Chequers, West End Lane, Esher, from 1968 to 1996.
Bill Bedford was a wartime fighter pilot who went on to become Chief Test Pilot for Hawker Aircraft Ltd. He will always be remembered for his trailblazing role in the test flying of the Harrier jump-jet, the world’s first vertical/short take-off and landing (VSTOL) aircraft. He was at the controls of the prototype Harrier for its first flight on 21st October, 1960, and did the first ever vertical jet operations on an aircraft carrier (HMS Ark Royal). He then, as International Marketing Manager, promoted the Harrier through to its delivery to the RAF and Royal Navy as a unique operational fighter jet.
The plaque, which commemorates Bill Bedford’s life and role in this historic aviation story, will be unveiled at 3pm on Saturday, 1st February, 2020, in a short ceremony at The Chequers.
Spectators are warmly invited to attend the unveiling.