Great artwork




The Eastbourne Aviation Company came into being with Major Charles de Roemer at the helm, as one of the financiers.


Before the First World War and RAF Hertmonceux, Charles W de Roemer became interested enough in aviation to join forces with Bernard Fowler to produce aircraft at workshops on the Crumbles at Eastbourne in Sussex. He was a director of the Eastbourne Aviation Company (EAC) and being a Major in the RAF it is hardly surprising that he allowed Lime Park to be used by the RAF in World War Two, as a hospital for wounded airmen. Where Charles W had ceased generating electricity by 1932, it appears that having the generating rooms underused that he had no difficulty in converting the buildings to a temporary hospice for wounded airmen.







A seaplane being recovered after a flight, as Eastbourne beach, from the English Channel, La Manche.





This point adding to the distinguished history, use and re-use of the old generating buildings, as the Weald Supply took over electricity supplies in 1936, thus making the former Generating Works redundant.

Financed by Charles de Roemer of Lime Park, Herstmonceux, the EAC constructed aircraft for the British Admiralty (Royal Navy) from 1911 to 1924. The company was a member of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors, the SBAC. Telegrams (the then equivalent of an email) were to be sent to AIRCRAFT EASTBOURNE and the telephone number was 1178. If the company had continued to trade we feel sure that the heraldic symbols on their advertising banners and headed papers would have been registered as trade marks.






DEVELOPMENT - The EAC also built this much faster monoplane at their assembly sheds on the Crumbles. Very Louis Bleirot in design; from the air ace who crossed the Channel first in 1909. Single wing planes were more efficient, drag wise, using less fuel, going faster, or having greater range.




The only directors of the EAC by 31-12-1921 were Bernard Fowler (founder), C. W de Roemer and H. Roll (solicitor). This company built 250 Maurice Farman biplanes under license at their Seaplane Base factory and developed a monoplane before ceasing to trade in 1924. The above picture clearly shows the 'Longhorn' sporting the name of the EAC while landing at Eastbourne beach. Four aircraft were built and 19 airmen trained before war broke out in 1914. Thereafter the airfield became a RNAS Training Station at which over 120 men learned to fly.







WWI - The Maurice Farman MF.7 Longhorn was a French biplane developed before World War I which was used for reconnaissance by both the French and British air services in the early stages of the war before being relegated to service as a trainer - seen above at Farnborough.

The "Longhorn" was a three bay biplane with a forward elevator mounted on upcurved extensions of the landing skids and an empennage carried on four booms consisting of biplane horizontal stabilisers with an elevator attached to the trailing edge of the upper surface and twin rudders. The airframe was constructed using a combination of ash and silver spruce, and many of the members including the outer interplane struts and the outrigger booms carrying the tail surfaces were hollow. It was powered by a Renault air-cooled V8 engine driving a pusher propeller mounted at the back of a fabric-covered nacelle. The propeller was mounted on the engine's camshaft, and therefore revolved at half the engine speed. Its name derived from the distinctive front-mounted elevator and elongated skids.




Charles W was an Etonian. He served in the Royal Field Artillery 31st Division, as a Second Lieutenant and Royal Air Force as a Captain, then Major. Apart from his interest in electricity generation and flying he was also a Justice of the Peace and member of the London Area Committee of the National Fitness Council. He died on the 14th of April 1963. He married Audrey Margaret Liddell on the 21st of November 1917. Audrey de Roemer was the daughter of Charles Lyon Liddel (1861) and Margaret Emily Gresham Leveson-Gower (1862). She died on the 15th of August 1967.

Sources: Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, volume 3 (page 3289) edited by Charles Mosley. Published by Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A., 2003.







Herstmonceux Museum in 2017, with restoration works begun at a new pace, as the buildings were occupied by Bluebird Marine Systems, to develop the SeaVax and AmphiMax ocean cleaning machines. Adding further prestige to the already outstanding innovations and achievements of Charles de Roemer, at this historic location.







If you have any information to add to or help us embellish this story, we'd love to hear from you.














Copyright 2023 Lime Park Heritage Trust. A not for profit organisation with charitable objects.