In the early part of the Twentieth Century residents of Froyle grew accustomed to the various flying machines that appeared overhead. Although a small village, by the 1930s Froyle was surrounded by three major airfields - Odiham to the north west, Farnborough to the north and Lasham to the west. In fact, during World War 2, a decoy aerodrome, with dummy aircraft, was built on nearby Holybourne Down to attract German raiders away from the other airfields.

This photograph was taken in 1937 and shows what we believe to be the German airship “Hindenberg” cruising to the north of the village. A visitor to the Millennium Exhibition in July 2000 who used to live in Husseys Lane recalled being told that it was the “Hindenberg” and recognised the photograph.
This strange aircraft was the General Aircraft GAL/56. It was a tailless experimental glider which arrived at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough in the spring of 1946. Those who flew it - it was normally towed to about 20,000 feet by a Spitfire IX and then released - described it as the worse aircraft they had ever flown! The flight observers - it was a two seat aircraft - were just frightened.
By August 1947 the tests were completed at the R.A.E. and the aircraft was flown to nearby Lasham where General Aircraft’s chief test pilot, Robert Kronfeld was to repeat some of the tests for his own benefit. Unfortunately he was caught out by its stalling characteristics and got into a spin from which he never recovered. The aircraft came down just to the north of Lower Froyle and one of the world’s most experienced glider pilots died in the crash. The Alton Gazette reported in February 1948:-

“An experimental aircraft from General Aircraft, known locally as the Flying Wing crashed into Rockhouse Field, Lower Froyle, at mid-day yesterday, and one man, the pilot, is believed to have been killed.  He was promtly removedin an ambulance.  A second man landed by parachute and escaped with shock.  Mr F Pinnells, an agricultural worker of Westbrook Cottages, Froyle Road, told our reporter that he was riding a carthorse home to lunch when he saw an aeroplane approaching at roof-top level.  It appeared to be flying upside-down, and he saw a man drop from it by parachute. Mrs Pinnells said that she was resting on a settee by the fire in her cottage when she heard a rushing and whistling noise, and through the window she saw the aeroplane crash.”