This Messenger always brings good news……

Miles Messenger, G-AJOE

Developed from a Second World War design for the Royal Air Force , and used primarily as a liaison aircraft – one was notably used by the then General Montgomery, as a personal transport – this Miles design showed excellent short-field performance; you can see here the generous trailing-edge flaps which contributed to this. The M.38 Messenger was a development of the twin-tailed M.28 Mercury, and the post-war civilian Mk. 2A was built at a facility in Newtownards, Northern Ireland. The aircraft were then flown over to the Miles factory at Woodley, near Reading, where they were painted and upholstery fitted. Powered by a Blackburn Cirrus Major 3 engine, of 155hp (the same as the Auster J5K, and the Chrislea CH3 Super Ace Skyjeep Mk 4), the Messenger was a popular four-seater touring aircraft, but unfortunately production ceased with the 71st example in 1948.

G-AJOE had an interesting start; it was bought in  in April 1947 by Anthony Bingham Mildmay, 2nd Baron Mildmay of Flete. Unfortunately, the aristocratic steeplechase rider (who was credited with introducing Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, to the sport of horse racing) disposed of G-AJOE fairly swiftly, and it was back in the hands of Miles at Reading by October 1947.

After a series of owners, the aircraft is now in the hands of Peter Bishop, and has been restored in a traditional Miles cream and red livery. One of only a handful of Miles aircraft still flying, it appears regularly at GVFWE and other events.


As you can see from the comment below, the owner of G-AJOE, Mr. Peter Bishop, reports that his Messenger has, indeed, been restored, and received a new C of A in December 2010, following the crash in Holland. We are delighted to see that G-AJOE has once more joined the UK ‘fly-in’ circuit. Well done, Peter!

17 comments on “This Messenger always brings good news……”

  1. Sorry, but JOE will not be coming this year, as it has not be finished in time. It crashed on 19. May 2005 on its way to the GVFWE in Holland due to engine siezure. In the force landing, the wings were smashed off. I am pleased to report that it has been rebuilt and is 98% finished, and will fly again very soon.

    I can confirm that G-AJWB my other Messenger does intend to attend.


  2. G-AJOE received its C of A in December 2010, and has subsequemtly attended fly-ins at Hendtsrige and North Weald


  3. I can report that G-AJOE attended the fly-in at Schaffen Diest on 12-14. August flying in bad weather. JOE had to divert to Wilhemshafen on the return.

    Preparations are being made to fly to Hahnweide South of Stuttgart next week.

    JOE is a very stable platform, and all instruments are accurate making it a ideal bad weather flyer.


  4. Excellent news; I’m really pleased that G-AJOE is making the rounds on the European scene. Unfortunately, I only had a few hours on the ground at Amsterdam during my recent trip, so a lot of light aviation had to be neglected!


  5. I am so glad to see GA-JOE in regular use since its restoration,the most extensive i have ever seen,its a real credit to the current owner,superb,i would love to see it flying in the uk some time,my father owned it back in the 70s and i think early 80s we did many a display with it back in the day,he rebuilt it and registerd it RH378 back then.


    • Yes, Peter has done a remarkable job with G-AJOE. He is to be congratulated. I’ll me covering some more vintage light aircraft, soon, including at least one Miles aircraft! Watch this space, as they say………..


  6. Thanks for the nice comments. G-AJOE attended Hahweide near Stuttgart. On the way down, it caused a small stir with the natives it landed at the Wasserkuppe (historic gliding site and museum) to tank up and enure it had enough fuel for a possible hold at Hahweide. The landing was uphill, and the take-off was in the reverse direction down hill and with a tail wheel (JOE’s brakes did not like it).

    On arrival aircraft were already holding like a “wasps nest”, but could relax with sufficient fuel. Interestingly met some of my Schaffen Diest friends again “whilst in the hold”. Hahnweide is a huge event, with perfect organisation. Peter Holloway arrived late on Friday withhis Storch and team.

    G-AJOE will be statically exhibited on 24-25. September 2011 at Hamburg airport, which is celebrating its 100th birthday. JOE is due to fly in on Friday 23. Sepetember.

    My other Messenger G-AJWB is at White Waltham having its C of A completed. Mods to this aircraft include an electric pump, interior lighting, maintainenace charing lead socket wing inspection flap. Without doubt, G-AJWB is the best Messenger in the world (mostly new wood). Whereas, G-AJOE still has most of its original structure.

    My Monarch has encountered severe difficulties, but is hope to get this back into restoration soon. An cradle is being built for the SK1 fuselage. I hope to meet John Chaplin who was Nr 2 in the original SK1 team, and will be started after the Monarch is finished.

    Many thanks for your interest.


    • I don’t know which I am more excited about – your Monarch, or the Somers Kendall SK1! The SK1 is right up there with the Sparrowjet, as far as I’m concerned. Well done Peter! I look forward to seeing something of your projects when I am next in Europe.


  7. Messenger G-AJWB is at White Waltham receiving its C of A. There has been a long delay because Steve Goodward did his back in. If all goes to plan, should be seen circling again above Woodley, Reading.

    Messenger G-AJOE after statically exhibiting at Izehoe having a small oil leak, elevator trim indicator and pump membranes seen to. All “nice to have” problems to be fixed. Hope to fly possibly this week.

    Wayne Elliott I will be pleased to let you and your Father re-acquaint yourselfs with JOE who is in “good health”


  8. This year is the 65th anniversary of the birth of Messenger G-AJOE and “my mistress” G-AJWB. With help from Peter Holloway, I have attached to the outer rudders special celebratory 65th logos.

    Both aircraft have full C of As and are fully airworthy. G-AJOE is based in Germany, and G-AJWB based in England ready for the new season 2012.


  9. Hi Peter,

    i’ve seen the G- AJOE is standing in a Field near my Village, what happend?

    i hope you’re alright.


  10. On 22. May at approximately 19:00 hours I was flying from St Peter Ording to Hamburg Uetersen, and had just passed the Glückstadt nuclear power station when the engine failed at approximately 2700 ft. The aircraft landed in the field adjacent to German pilots Michael and Elke Gestell’s house, who were very happy see me in their field !

    Stefan Siebborm from H+S at Itzehoe using a endoscope found part of the AMEL flame trap filter in the throat of the carb. On removing the debris the plane was back to normal.

    On 29. May at approximately 13:00 hors JOE was flown out and is now in hanger 3 at Uetsern.


  11. JOE or my other Messenger WB hope to attend the Schaffen Diest vintage plane show on 10-12. August 2012.


  12. G-AJOE attended Schaffen Diest, this year with exceptionally good weather. G-AJOE hopes to attend next year, which will be the events 30th anniversary – therefore everyone should bring a bottle of champagne.

    G-JWB based at White Waltham flew over head to the Uffington White horse near South Marston.


  13. Good to hear G-AJOE is still flying. I have childhood memories of ringing up Uncle Billy Townend and asking if he was going flying today. That was at Yeadon (Leeds and Bradford Airport ) and Sherbon Airoclub in the 60’s.


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