Letters from readers, April 1982

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Air mail

Sir,
I was interested to read about Trossi driving the Maserati 8 CTF 1938 No. 3031. Trossi was a keen and capable pilot and amongst other aeroplanes owned a Miles Whitney Straight from late 1937 for a year or more. At the time there were restrictions on importing such an aeroplane into Italy and Trossi in partnership with Gino Revere flew the MWS on a carnet and left it registered as a British machine, G-AFCN.

My log book records that I collected G-AFCN new from Reading on November 23rd. 1937, and flew it to Heston, where Trossi and Rovere were waiting, with Rovere’s wife and young daughter. The MWS was painted red, with silver wings and tail. I accompanied Trossi whilst he tried it out, no trouble, then gave Revere some dual (he had not flown solo much). At that time, Trossi had a DH9090 Dragonfly. He told me that Revere had a considerable financial stake in the Maserati firm. Flying 6-AFCN to Italy the first time proved a bit complicated. On Dec 17th. 1937 I flew it with Trossi from Heston to Paris (Le Bourget), where bad weather compelled us to stay the night. Visibility was poor the next morning when Trossi and I left for Lausanne, and after nearly three hours flying we landed back at Le Bourget and admitted defeat. The weather forecast was so poor that Trossi went off by train and I returned to Heston, leaving the MWS behind for later collection. Revere came to London early in 1938, and on February 4th we flew from Croydon to Le Bourget in a Lockheed Electra, taking off at 7.15 p.m. The next morning we set off from Le Bourget in G-AFCN and flew unhurriedly via Lyon, where we stopped for lunch, then on to Nice, where we stayed overnight. On to Turin on February 6th. where we were met by Rovere’s wife and friends, all of whom I took up in the MWS. The next day, February 7th, in the afternoon we flew to an aerodrome called Massazza, to see Trossi who lived at nearby Biella. Biella is NNE of Turin, with the magnificance of the Alps in the background.

Therafter, I made many such flights in G-AFCN, but in October 1938 I returned the machine to Reading (overhaul renewal of Certificate of Airworthiness) and I think at that point it passed out of the hands of Trossi and Revere. Doubtless they were taking a considerable risk in “owning” it at all in those politically dangerous times. I lost touch with Trossi and Revere when the War began. Gino Rovere was imprisoned by the Fascists, on the notorious island of Pantelleria between Sicily and Tunisia, survived, and when I last heard of him after the War was living with his wife and daughter in Bordighera. In the Brooklands Society Gazette, vol. 2 No. 4, Autumn 1977, there is a photograph of Revere on p.16 at the wheel of an 1,100 c.c. single-seater Maserati which he drove in the 1935 International Trophy race at Brooklands, won by Luis Fontes. My log book shows that I borrowed a Brian Lewis Puss Moth, G-AAXO, on that day (May 6th) and flew over from Heston to Brooklands to watch the race, taking two friends. Nearly forty-seven years ago.
Chipping Sodbury, Bristol
Philip Gordon Marshall