19th June 2009

Aurigny founder Derrick Bailey died

Derrick Bailey had been born in London on 15 August 1918. He died at his home in Alderney in June 2009. His greatest contribution to the Channel Islands was establishing regional airline, Aurigny in February 1968.

Bailey had been a pilot with the South African Air Force during the Second World War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty.

After the war, he returned to his beloved cricket, which he had played for Oxfordshire in 1937. He made his first-class debut for Gloucestershire in 1949.

He founded Aurigny Air Services when British United Airways dropped its Alderney to Guernsey route in 1968. The enterprise was an immediate success, carrying 45,000 passengers in its first year on a series of Britten Norman Islander aircraft. In the early 1970s, following requests from Bailey, who also had a hand in its design, Britten Norman introduced the larger Trislander model. It had three engines and increased passenger capacity.

The Bailey family

Derrick Bailey’s father had been a millionaire, who made his fortune mining diamonds and gold in South Africa. He was involved in politics, too. He sat in the Cape legislature, was a founder of the Union of South Africa, and a friend of Winston Churchill.

Flying was clearly in Derrick’s blood. Not only had he been a pilot himself during the second world war, often leading squadrons on bombing runs, but his mother had been a renowned aviator. According to Bailey’s obituary in The Telegraph, she “would become famous in her own right as Dame Mary Bailey, a famous British aviatrix of her time who in 1928 – 1929 was the first woman to fly, in her de Havilland Moth, from London to Cape Town and back”.

Upon his death, Bailey’s baronetcy passed to his oldest son, Sir John Bailey.


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