The late actor served as a member of the Royal Navy during the Second World War, during which he underwent his training at HMS Raven – now known as Southampton Airport.
Serving as a cornerstone for aviation, this airport achieved considerable success in connecting travellers around both its homeland and abroad. Through its establishment of important international links and providing a range of domestic and overseas routes, it quickly became an essential transport hub.
The airport has now been in use for 113 years, with countless planes flying in every direction.
During the Second World War, Eastleigh Airport was mostly used for ground and aerial training operations.
Sporadic enemy bombing raids were made on the airfield in an attempt to disrupt the assembly of aircraft.
At one point the German propaganda machine was over enthusiastic following one of these raids as it was announced the Luftwaffe had sunk HMS Raven.
One of the pilots at the airport was Ralph Richardson but his training was not too successful due to his lack of skill, earning himself the nickname of “Pranger.’’
When he reported for duty at Eastleigh he was immediately summoned to the office of the commanding officer.
Sir Ralph was later to write that the CO told him that he had been picked for a mission.
“A mission! My heart went into my boots, or rather into my shoes, for my flying boots had not yet been issued to me,’’ recalled Sir Ralph.
“A mission! I thought he was going to send me into Germany dam-busting. Should I tell him how little flying I had done? I remained silent, but pale.
“The Commander’s face grew grimmer still as he pushed some papers over to me.
“Take a look at these, Richardson.
“These are the butcher’s bills, I want you to go down and see that man; I think we were overcharged.’’