The Sywell Messenger Trust

G-AKIN is a Miles M.38 Messenger 2A and was built in November 1947 by Miles Aircraft at their Northern Ireland factory, the penultimate Miles-built aircraft (constructor's number 6728). Although the first private owner, in April 1948, was Captain A W B Everard of Fighting fit at fifty-fiveRatcliffe Hall, Leicestershire, the Messenger became the property of the Spiller family in August 1949. Based at Sywell from April 1952, she has been there ever since, lovingly looked after and hangared to keep her in tip-top condition.

Messenger G-AKIN taxiing

It was the ability to get into small unprepared fields and get out again which attracted the attention of R. Spiller & Sons who farmed at Keyston near Huntingdon, an ideal tool for a progressive farming family. Despite its utility role, G-AKIN was also pressed into service for pleasure and business travel by both Norman and John Spiller.

She was even raced in the early 1950s by 'Johnny' Spiller. It was to make Kilo India November more visible during this potentially hazardous activity that the original rather drab overall blue finish was replaced by the attractive red and cream livery which she still wears today. Her successes included 1st in the 1952 Siddeley Challenge Trophy, 1st in the 1954 Harmer Trophy Race and 3rd in that year's Goodyear Air Challenge Trophy, and 2nd in the 1955 Kemsley Challenge Trophy.

Messenger 3-view

Norman Spiller
Norman Spiller

Continuing in regular use for both business and pleasure from 1955 to 1984, and having achieved vintage status, G-AKIN became a regular attendee at various flying meets throughout the 1980s and 1990s - for many years she was the only airworthy Messenger in Europe. She has received awards such as: Air Britain Vintage Cups at North Weald & Wellesbourne; PFA East Midland Trophy at Burnaston; Best Miles Award at White Waltham; PFA Vintage Commendation at Cranfield; Vintage Aircraft Club John Blake Rosebowl and the Vintage Aircraft Club Desmond Penrose Trophy.

In 2002, The aircraft's owner, Norman Spiller, in a most generous gesture, handed over this unique aircraft to the care of the newly formed Sywell Messenger Trust, who maintain this unique example of Britain's civil aviation history in airworthy condition at Sywell, for the education of the Public in the history of the aircraft, civil aviation and the importance of aviation in Northamptonshire. An extensive refurbishment and installation of a zero-houred engine means that G-AKIN is in excellent condition for a further 50 plus years of Sywell residence.

Sadly Norman passed away in February 2007 at his home in Keyston. A prolific air racer in the 1950s and 1960s, Norman, with his brother Johnny, extensively raced Miles Messenger 2A G-AKIN across Europe basing the aeroplane at Sywell from 1952.

For more information about the Trust, contact PR/Publicity Trustee David W. Lee or Chairman Chris Parker.

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Sywell Aviation Ltd. is a company registered in England with company no. 03180760 & VAT no. 623 8222 56.
Registered offices: Hall Farm, Sywell, Northampton, NN6 0BT.

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The Miles Messenger

Messenger G-AKIN

The Messenger was developed in 1942 from the earlier Miles M28 Mercury as a potential Air Observation Post (AOP) machine for the British Army, after an unofficial and unauthorised request from an Army officer.Developed in only 3 months, it first flew on 12th September 1942. A small number were used by the Army though it was not successful in being selected for the AOP role. Its superb short-field capability and excellent slow-speed handling lead to its limited use for battlefield communications work, most notably by Field Marshal Montgomery. Post-war a further sixty civil Messengers were built as Mark 2s, and total production reached 81 before production ceased in 1948. In recent years most surviving Messengers have been grounded by concerns about their glued wooden structure; G-AKIN, having been hangared throughout her existence, remains airworthy.