British Aircraft Manufacturing Co.


   British Klemm Aeroplane Co. Ltd.
   British Aircraft Manufacturing Co. Ltd.


In 1929 Major Edward Freer Stephen (b. 1882 - d. 3 January 1954 in Havant, Hants), who traded as S.T. Lea Ltd., of 141 New Bond Street, London, acquired the British agency for the German Klemm L.25, which had first flown in 1927. The Klemm proved so successful that Stephen secured the rights to produce the aircraft in the U.K. The recession caused this plan to be delayed for a few years, and meantime S.T. Lea acquired the British agency for the range of gliders produced by Kegel Flugzeugbau. Eventually in February 1933 Stephen set up the British Klemm Aeroplane Company at Hanworth, Middlesex, to produce a version of the L.25 under license. Chairman of the company was Lord John Henry Peyto Verney Willoughby de Broke (later Air Commodore Willoughby de Broke, MC, AFC, born 21 May 1896, London – died 25 May 1986), with Major Stephen as managing director. George Handasyde joined from Desoutter as works manager, along with Harold Boultbee from Civilian Aircraft as chief designer and Edmund Hordern as test pilot.

Following the production of 28 aircraft, modified to meet British air worthiness requirements and powered by British powerplants, as the L.25C 1A Swallow, a new, and the first wholly BA designed, machine was introduced in 1934, the B.K.1 Eagle. With the success of both these aircraft, British Klemm was reformed with new finance to build improved versions. The new company, the British Aircraft Manufacturing Company, was formed on 4 April 1935, with a nominal capital of £250,000. Willoughby de Broke, along with Major Stephen and Charles Best, were joint managing directors. Harold Boultbee had meantime departed for Pobjoy, Handasyde replacing him as chief designer and Marcus Langley joining as his deputy. Later the same year, B.A. took a part in the creation of British Marine Aircraft Ltd., with B.A. directors Willoughby de Broke and Charles best, along with George Handasyde, among the directors. B.A. were contracted to provide managerial services to British Marine for a fee, but is unlikely they had any other financial interest in the firm.

The new Swallow II proved to be even more successful than its predecessor, as did the improved B.A. Eagle 2, the next two designs, the Cupid and Double Eagle, did not fare so well. The factory was kept busy with a contract to produce the Cierva C.40 autogiro, begun in November 1937, first of which flew at Hanworth in January 1938. However the company was by now financially in dire straits; an offer by General Aircraft to take over B.A. in December 1937 was accepted, but the Receiver was appointed in February 1938. Eventually the assets of British Aircraft were acquired by General Aircraft to provide for that company’s expansion, but no further work on the B.A.’s product line was undertaken.

Company References
  1. British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, Vol 1, A.J. Jackson (Putnam, 1973)
  2. British Light Aeroplanes, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (GMS Enterprises, 2000)
  3. Motorsport, April 1930

Project Data top

Project No Type No Name Alternative Name(s) Year Spec Status Qty Description References
 British Klemm
   L.25C  Swallow I    1933    Prdn  28  2S, 1E low-wing light plane  1,2,3
   B.K.1  Eagle I    1934    Prdn  4  2S, 1E low-wing light plane  1,2,3,5,6,7,9
 British Aircraft Manufacturing Company
     Swallow II    1935    Prdn  106  2S, 1E low-wing light plane  1,2,3,8,11,13
     Eagle II    1935    Prdn  9  2S, 1E low-wing light plane  1,2,3,5,6,7
   B.A.3  Cupid    1935    Proto  1  2S, 1E low-wing light plane  1,2,3
   B.A.4  Double Eagle    1936    Prdn  3  6S, 2E high-wing light plane  1,2,3,4,10,12

Project References
  1. British Civil Aircraft Since 1919, Vol 1, A.J. Jackson (Putnam, 1973)
  2. The Martinsyde File, Ray Sanger (Air Britain (Historians), 1999)
  3. British Light Aeroplanes, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (GMS Enterprises, 2000)
  4. British Commercial Aircraft, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (GMS Enterprises, 2003)
  5. Aeroplane Monthly Nov 1992
  6. Air Pictorial Sep 1974
  7. Air Britain Archive, 2012/4 (Air-Britain Publications)
  8. Air Britain Archive, 2014/1 (Air-Britain Publications)
  9. Wingspan (Incorporating Planes) No 83
  10. Aeroplane 28 April 1937
  11. Flight Magazine 16 May 1935
  12. Flight Magazine 29 Apr 1937
  13. Aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, David Duxbury, Ross Ewing and Ross Macpherson (Heinemann, 1987)

Production Summary top
Select the Prdn_List button to go to the appropriate listings page.

Note: In the Production Summary, conversions are only listed where they result in a change from one Type to another. Changes to sub-type or Mark Number are not shown in the summary. For details of these, see the individual listings.

Type No
Qty (New)
Qty (Conv.)
 L.25C 1A  Swallow I
 B.K.1  Eagle I
   Swallow II
 Eagle II
 Double Eagle

Total British Klemm Production
Total British Klemm Cancelled
Total B.A.M.Co Production
Total B.A.M.Co Cancelled

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