John Theodore Cuthbert
Moore-Brabazon was born in London on 8 February 1884, the son of John Arthur
Henry Moore-Brabazon and Emma Sophia Moore-Brabazon (née Richards). Educated
at Harrow School, he read engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge, but did not
graduate. He became the first resident Englishman to make an officially
recognized aeroplane flight in England on 2 May 1909, at Shellbeach on the
Isle of Sheppey. He gainedhis Aero
Club de France (No 22) and RAeC Aviators Certificate on 8 March 1910, flying
a Short Biplane at Shellbeach.
With the outbreak of war, Moore-Brabazon joined the RFC, receiving a
special-reserve commission as a Second Lieutenant (on probation) on 2
December 1914, in the appointment of flying officer (assistant equipment
officer), and was confirmed in his rank on 11 February 1915. He was promoted
to Lieutenant on 19 February 1915 and was appointed an equipment officer on
31 March, with the temporary rank of Captain. On 1 September 1915, he was
promoted to the substantive rank of Captain, with a special temporary
promotion to Major on 18 May 1916. Moore-Brabazon finished the war with the
rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was decorated with the Military Cross on 1
January 1917 and was also twice mentioned in dispatches.
Moore-Brabazon later became a Conservative Member of Parliament for Chatham
(19181929) and Wallasey (19311942). He was appointed Minister of Transport
in October 1940 and Minister of Aircraft Production in May 1941.
Moore-Brabazon was elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Brabazon of Tara,
of Sandwich in the County of Kent, in April 1942.In 1943 he chaired the Brabazon Committee
which planned to develop the post-war British aircraft industry. He was
president of the Royal Aero Club, president of the Royal Institution,
chairman of the Air Registration Board, and president of the Middlesex County
Automobile Club from 1946 until his death in 1964. He was appointed a Knight
Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1953.
John Theodore Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon, 1st Baron Brabazon of Tara GBE MC
PC, died on 17 May 1964 in Longcross, Surrey.
Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls
Charles Stewart Rolls was
born in Berkeley Square, London, on 27 August 1877, the third son of John
Allan Rolls, the 1st Baron Llangattock and Georgiana, Lady Llangattock. After
attending Mortimer Vicarage Preparatory School in Berkshire, he was educated
at Eton College and then attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he
studied mechanical and applied science.
In 1901, along with with Frank Hedges Butler and his daughter Vera, he
formed The Aero Club, becoming the Royal Aero Club on 15 February 1910.
Rolls graduated from Cambridge in 1898 and began working on the steam yacht
Santa Maria followed by a position at the London and North Western Railway in
Crewe. However, his talents lay more in salesmanship and motoring pioneering
than practical engineering; in January 1903, with the help of £6,600 provided
by his father, he started one of Britain's first car dealerships, C.S.Rolls
& Co. based in Fulham, to import and sell French Peugeot and Belgian
Minerva vehicles. Together with Henry Royce he co-founded the Rolls-Royce car
manufacturing firm. A pioneer aviator, he was initially a balloonist, making
over 170 balloon ascents and in 1903 won the Gordon Bennett Gold Medal for
the longest single flight time.
Rolls was one of the earliest proponents of powered aircraft in Britain.
During September 1908, he made his ﬁrst ﬂight with Wilbur
Wright at Auvours in France. Wilbur suggested he should start his own flying
with glider trials, which he began on 30 July 1909 in a glider built by the
Short brothers to a Wrights design.
On 1 October 1909 he bought the first Wright Flyer aircraft built by Short
Brothers under licence from the Wright Brothers, and made more than 200
flights. He gained his Aero Club de France No 22 on 6 January 1910 and his
RAeC Aviators Certificate on 8 March the same year, flying this machine at
Shellbeach. On 2 June 1910, he became the first man to make a non-stop double
crossing of the English Channel by plane. On 12 July 1910, Rolls was killed
in an air crash at Hengistbury Airfield, Southbourne, Bournemouth when the
tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during a flying display. He was the first
Briton to be killed in an aeronautical accident with a powered aircraft, and
the eleventh person internationally.
Toby Alfred Rawlinson was
born on 17 January 1867 at the family home in Charles Street, Mayfair, in the
West End of London, the son of Henry Creswicke Rawlinson and Louisa Caroline
Harcourt Rawlinson (née Seymour). He was educated at Eton College and the
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, after which he obtained a commission as a
Lieutenant in the 17th Lancers. A sportsman, Rawlinson he was part of the
Foxhunters Hurlingham polo team which won the Olympic gold medal in the 1900
Summer Olympics. He was also a keen motor racing driver, resigning from the
army to concentrate on the sport. He took part in the 1908 Isle of Man RAC
Tourist Trophy race, driving his Darracq into 7th place.
It was only natural that he was attracted by the emerging world of flying
and he gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 5 April 1910, flying a Farman
Biplane at Shellbeach. In 1914 he volunteered for active service and on 20
June 1915, he was appointed Lieutenant-Commander of the Royal Naval Volunteer
Reserve and tasked with raising a new squadron of the RNAS Armoured Car
Section. However, in August, he was interviewed by Commodore Murray Sueter
RN, who was the commander of London's anti-aircraft defences, under whom he
formed theRoyal Naval Anti-Aircraft
Mobile Brigade. In February 1918, he obtained a transfer to the Intelligence
Corps with the rank of Colonel.
When Alfred's older brother Henry died on 28 March 1925, he became the 3rd
Baronet, but didn't inherit his brother's barony which became extinct.
Colonel Sir Toby Alfred Rawlinson, 3rd Baronet, CMG, CBE, DSO, died
suddenly of natural causes at his flat in Clapham on 1 June 1934.
Cecil Stanley Grace
Cecil Stanley Grace was
born in Viña del Mar, Valparaiso, Chile on 31 December 1883, the son of John
William Grace and Mary Josephine Grace (née Carew) of New York. His uncle, W.
R. Grace, was a former mayor of New York City. Grace arrived in the UK on 1
July 1903. Grace acquired the Short-Wright Flyer No. 5 on 11 January 1910 and
he gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate with it on 12 April 1910. Grace
became a naturalised British citizen on 18 October the same year.
On 22 December 1910 while attempting to win the de Forest Prize for the
longest cross-channel flight completed by the end of the year, flying a Short
S.27, he disappeared. A body resembling Grace's was found in Ostend harbour
on 14 March 1911, but it was too badly disfigured to be identifiable. In
March 1911 he was formally declared to have died. He was posthumously awarded
the Gold Medal of the Royal Aero Club "for his achievements as a pilot
George Bertram Cockburn
George Bertram Cockburn
was born on 8 January 1872 in Birkenhead, the son of George Cockburn and
Katherine Jessie Stitt Cockburn (née Bertram). He was sent to Loretto School
in Musselburgh from 1887 until 1892 and in October 1892 entered New College,
Oxford to read Natural Sciences, specialising in Chemistry. He graduated in
1895 and on leaving Oxford he went to the Chemistry Laboratory of St George's
Hospital in London. In February 1909 Bertram Cockburn was elected to
membership of the Royal Aero Club and, later that year, travelled to France
to become the first pupil in Henri Farman's flying school at
Châlons-sur-Marne. He made his first flight in June of that year and took
part in the Grande Semaine d'Aviation at Rheims in August. He represented Great
Britain in the competition for the Gordon Bennett Cup but unfortunately
crashed into a haystack and was unable to complete the course. Now living at
St Mary Bourne near Andover, Hampshire, he gained his RAeC Aviators
Certificate on 26 April 1910. In June 1910, he won a prize of £100 in the
'Quick Starting' Competition at the Wolverhampton Air Meet . Although he
actively promoted air races as an incentive to develop improvements in
aircraft performance, he never flew competitively again following the death
of his friend Charles Rolls at Bournemouth. In 1912 he became a founder
member of the Royal Aero Club's Public Safety and Accidents Investigation
Bertram Cockburn devoted himself to the training of other pilots. He
obtained permission from the army to rent a shed at Larkhill adjacent to
Salisbury Plain, from where he and other aviators gave private instruction in
flying to army officers. By 1910, he and
Captain JBD Fulton
had founded the first aerodrome for
the army. In 1911, following the death of Cecil Grace in a flying accident,
he volunteered to train the first four naval pilots at Eastchurch on the Isle
of Sheppey. This he did free of charge while lodging with
Maurice Egerton after which he returned to Larkhill.
In 1914 he was appointed to be an Inspector of Aeroplanes for the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate of the Royal Flying
Corps at Farnborough.
In the New Years Honours of 1918, he was awarded an OBE for his services.
Shortly afterwards, he became Head of the newly established Accidents Branch
of the Department of the Controller-General of Civil Aviation, Air
George Bertram Cockburn OBE died at Larksborough near Whitchurch in
Hampshire on 25 February 1931.
Alexander Ogilvie was born
on 8 June 1882 in the Marylebone district of London, the son of Arthur Graeme
Ogilvie and Caroline Mary Ogilvie (née Agnew). He was educated at Rugby
School and Cambridge University. In 1908 Ogilvie, having watched Wilbur Wright
carry out a demonstration flight in France, within two months he had ordered
a Wright Biplane for himself. Before the biplane was delivered in 1909 he
practised flying at Friston, Sussex using a glider. Ogilvie established a
flying base on Camber Sands near Rye, Sussex and took part in a number of
aviation meetings around the country. He joined the Royal Aero Club on 11 May
1909 and gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 24 May 1910 flying his own
Short-Wright biplane No 2 at Camber Sands, which he had received on 1 October
1909. In 1910, using a Wright racing biplane, he entered the Gordon Bennett
competition at Belmont Park in New York, where he was placed third in the
competition (for which he was awarded the Silver medal of the Royal Aero
Club).The following year he had further success in that race, coming in
fourth in his Wright at an average 55 mph. In 1912, Ogilvie invented an
airspeed indicator which was later adopted by the RNAS.
On 19 February 1915 Ogilvie was commissioned as an RNAS officer in the rank
of Squadron Commander and was initially given responsibility for overseeing
flying training at the Naval Flying School, Eastchurch. On 5 April 1916 he
took command of the aircraft repair depot at Dunkirk, and was promoted acting
Wing Commander on 31 December 1916. On 5 March 1917 he became a member of the
Air Board, eventually serving as controller of the technical department. The
rank of Wing Commander was confirmed on 30 June 1917. On 1 April 1918, along
with all other RNAS personnel, Ogilvie transferred to the newly established
Royal Air Force in the rank of Major (temporary Lieutenant-Colonel).
Ogilvie resigned from the Air Board in 1919, being placed on the RAF
unemployed list on 10 March.
Post war, he then worked as a consulting aeronautical engineer under the
name "Ogilvie and Partners", which in 1919 became the Limited
company "Ogilvie and Partners Ltd.", with offices at Gwydir
Chambers, 104, High Holborn, London. He subsequently moved to Australia for
Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Ogilvie CBE, FRAeS, died on 18 June 1962 at
his home in Ringwood, Hampshire.
Adam Mortimer Merrit Singer
Adam Mortimer Merrit
Singer was born on 25 July 1863 in Yonkers, Westchester, New York, to Isaac
Merritt Singer, the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Shortly
after Mortimer's birth, his parents moved from New York to Paris, and then,
following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, to Oldway Mansion
in Devon, England. He attended Downing College, Cambridge, in 1881, but left
the university without taking a degree. While originally born an American
citizen, he naturalised as a British subject in 1900.
Singer's first passion was thoroughbred horses, but he was also a keen
sportsman and a pioneer in the early development of cycling, driving, and
flying in Europe. In January 1910, he became the twenty-fourth person in
France to hold a pilot's certificate from the Aéro-Club de France, andgained
his R.Ae.C RAeC Aviators Certificate on 31 May the same year.
In the following years, he offered a series of awards for the development
of British aviation, including a £500 bounty for the first practical
British-built amphibious aircraft, won by the Sopwith Bat Boat in 1913.
Singer acquiring a country estate at Milton Hill, near Steventon,
Berkshire, and two days after the outbreak of the First World War he offered
the recently rebuilt house as a military hospital for soldiers and NCOs; it
grew to a 220-bed facility, the largest of the privately run wartime
hospitals, and treated over 4,500 men. Singer and his brother Washington
underwrote the entire operating costs of the hospital, and Singer worked
throughout the war as its chief administrator. His wife worked as
After the war, Singer became a Justice of the Peace, was made a Knight
Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 1921 he served as the
High Sheriff of Berkshire. Sir Adam Mortimer Merrit Singer, KBE, JP, died on
24 June 1929 in Middlesex.
Maurice Egerton was born 4
August 1874, the 4th and last Baron Egerton of Tatton was born in London, the
son of Alan de Tatton Egerton and Anna Louisa Watson Egerton (née
Watson-Taylor). He was known as an aviation and motor car enthusiast and a
friend to the Wright brothers. Maurice acquired the Short-Wright Flyer No. 4
on 26 November 1909 and started his attempts to fly. He ordered Short No 13
in December 1909, delivered April 1910. He gained RAeC Aviators Certificate
on 14 June 1910 on the Short-Wright biplane at Eastchurch. That same year he
was set to fly in competitions but crushed two fingers in the engine gears.
He had hardly recovered when he almost lost his left leg in a serious crash.
Egerton ordered two further Short machines: Short S.35 on 11 March 1911,
delivered 12 April 1911 and Short S.59 on 25 November 1912.
Egerton served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during
the First World War, after which he was granted some land in Ngata area near
Nakuru in Kenya under the Soldier Settlement Scheme. He later purchased a
further 21,000 acres around the same area from Lord Delamere. On this land,
he founded a school in 1939 named Egerton Farm School (now Egerton
University). The school was meant to prepare white European youth for careers
Maurice Egerton, 4th Baron Egerton, did not marry and on his death on 30
January 1958 in Njora, Central Kenya, the barony became extinct, and Tatton
Park was given to the National Trust.
Alan Reginald Boyle was
born on 8 October 1886 at Oakfield, Ayr, the eighth child of the Capt. David
Boyle 7th Earl of Glasgow GCMG and Dorothea Elizabeth Thomasina Hunter Boyle
(née Blair). He was educated at Haileybury College, Haileybury, Hertfordshire
and founded the Scottish
Aeroplane Syndicate in 1909. He gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 14
June 1910 at Brooklands flying an Avis monoplane built by the Scottish
Aeroplane Syndicate. He took part in the 1910 Bournemouth international
meeting, flying the Avis monoplane but unfortunately the machine turned over
during a landing on rough ground and Boyle was thrown out, receiving severe
head injuries from which he never fully recovered and which put an end to his
In the First World War, he was a Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Fusiliers
and, from January 1916, the Royal Flying Corps as a balloon officer, later
becoming a Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. He was awarded the Air Force
Cross in 1919. From 1932 to 1945 he was president of the Scottish Gliding
Union; and he also served as chairman of the aviation committee of the
Scottish Council for Industry.
Alan Reginald Boyle AFC died suddenly on 10 October 1958 while shooting at
the Blair Estate in Dalry, Ayrshire
John Armstrong Drexel
John Armstrong Drexel was
born on October 24, 1891 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, the son of
Anthony Joseph Drexel and Margarita Drexel (née Armstrong), and grandson of
Anthony Joseph Drexel, millionaire banker and founder of Drexel University.
Drexel took up aviation in 1909 and gained his Aero Club of America
Certificate (No 8) in 1910. Drexel travelled to Enurope in early 1910, first
to France then England and, with William McArdle, whom he had met in France,
founded the New Forest Flying School at East Boldre in May that year, gaining
his RAeC Aviators Certificate there on 21 June 1910, flying a Blériot
Monoplane. On 12 August 1910, during the Scottish International Aviation
Meeting at Lanark, he set the world altitude record of 6,750 feet in a
During World War I, he enlisted with the French Lafayette Escadrille on 26
October 1916, serving until 1917. On 11 October 1917 he was commissioned
Captain in the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, promoted to Temporary
Major on 28 December 1917 and to Lieutenant Colonel on 26 August 1918. He
returned to the United States on 8 June 1918 and was honorably discharged on
13 February 1919. From then on, Drexel shared his time between England and
the USA, apparently finally residing in the UK from 1939.
John Armstrong Drexel died on 4 March 1958 Ashford, Kent.
George Cyril Colmore
George Cyril Colmore was
the first serviceman to gain a Royal Aero Club Aviator's Licence. He was born
on 14 September 1885 in Hathern, Loughborough, Leicestershire, the son of
George Henry Colmore and Emily Laura Colmore (née Dashwood). He joined the Navy
as a 15-year-old Cadet, going to the Thames Nautical Training College (also
known as HMS Worcester) in Dartford, Kent. In 1910 at his own expense he
joined the Royal Aero Club and learned to fly at Eastchurch flying ground,
gaining his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 21 June 1910 flying a Short biplane.
Three weeks later Comore, and others, entered the Bournemouth International
Aviation Meeting from 6-16 July. As entrant No.7 he won the £100 prize
offered by The Car fund, 'to the competitor who, on an all British machine,
shall have performed most meritoriously during the meeting'. Following his
success the RAeC approached the Admiralty and offered to train more Naval
In 1914 Colmore was transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service. He was
confirmed in the rank of Temporary Flight Lieutenant on 23 Nov 1914 with
seniority 11 September and ordered to report to HMS Pembroke III for training
at the Farnborough Naval Airship Station. After training, he was appointed on
23 July 1915 as first Commanding Officer of Luce Bay Airship Station (later
West Freugh airfield). He was wounded in the leg by an overenthusiastic
sentry whilst driving near Polegate on 16 April 1915, then on 4 September
promoted Acting Flt Commander, eventually confirmed on 30 June 1916.
On 1 November 1916 Colmore was appointed to RNAS Howden as Captain of the
Parseval airship (HMA.No.4). In February 1917 Colmore was sent to the Survey
Section at RNAS White City, and three weeks later assumed command of RNAS
Wormwood Scrubs (HMS President) on 14 March. Colmore was also attached to the
RNAS Examination Committee and in autumn 1917, in that capacity, visited the
The Somme. He was recommended for special promotion to Sqn Cdr, this was
rejected on 1 January 1918, and promoted instead as Acting Sqn
On the 1 April 1918 the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps
merged to form the Royal Air Force. Eighteen days later Colmore transferred
to the new service "in the same rank he would have been had he been
confirmed in the rank prior to transfer. His RAF record is brief. As the RAF
initially used Army ranks, he became a Captain at Wormwood Scrubs and on 12
July 1919 he was promoted Major, being Mentioned in Dispatches in August. He
retired on 12 October 1919 at the age of 34.
Lieutenant George Cyril Colmore RN died 23 June 1937 in Cerney Wick,
George William Patrick
Dawes was born on 25 January 1880 in Dublin, Ireland, the son of George
Augustus Dawes and Pauline Mary Dawes (née Hayes). He was career soldier and
much decorated Boer War veteran. He served as a Captain with the Royal
Berkshire Regiment and gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 26 July 1910,
flying a Humber monoplane at Wolverhampton, transferring to the newly formed
Royal Flying Corps soon after.
Dawes was a Flight Commander in No 2 Sqn when it flew to France in August
1914. On 22 August he was flying as observer with Major Longcroft in a BE.2a,
when the first German aircraft seen in the War, an Albatros biplane, was
encountered over the RFC aerodrome at Maubeuge. Having commanded No. 11
Squadron for eight months in 1915, on 20 September 1916 Lt Col Dawes was
appointed as commander of the 16th Wing RFC on the Macedonian Front. The Wing
comprised No 47 Sqn, No 17 Balloon Section and an Aircraft Park. On 25 March
1917 Lt Col Dawes attempted to visit the Wing Commander at Mudros, and was
posted missing after suffering engine failure and having to make a forced
landing in a remote spot. He was eventually located by an air search and then
brought back to Salonika by destroyer on 27 March.
On 19 June 1918 Lt Col Dawes handed over command of the 16th Wing RAF to Lt
Col G E Todd and returned to Home Establishment, where he became Commandant
of 16th Group of the Royal Air Force. Mentioned in dispatches on seven
occasions, Dawes was honoured by the Greek and Serbian Governments and
awarded the French Croix de Guerre.
In March 1920, Dawes relinquished his temporary RAF commission and return
to Army duty then, 20 years later in November 1940 returned to aviation when
he was granted a commission as a Flying Officer in the Administrative and
Special Duties Branch of the RAF for the duration of the war.
Lt. George William Patrick Dawes, DSO, AFC, died on 17 March 1960 in
Richard Francis Ernest
Wickham was born on12 November 1886 in Twickenham, Middlesex, the son of
Ernest Edward Wickham, Registrar Shorditch County Court, and Hannah B Wickham
(née Sanders). Like his father, he attended Winchester College, (Du Boulay's
boarding house on Southgate Hill), leaving there in April 1904. His further
education is not known, though it appears he passed the Law Society
Preliminary Examination in July 1904.
He spent between May 1908 and May 1909 in Canada, but by mid-1910 was once
again in England where he joined the Royal Aero Club and gained his RAeC
Aviators Certificate on 20 September 1910, flying a Sommer biplane at
Brooklands. Notably the address on his Certificate is given as Ritz-Carlton
Hotel, Montreal. The then bought the Avis II monoplane, which he intended to
make an attempt for Baron de Forest's cross-Channel prize, a feat he did not
Wickham was presumable a wealthy young man, as he described himself in the
1911 census as being of independent means. In May 1911, he set sail for New
York, with onward journey to Porcupine, Ontario. His intentions in visiting
the Americas are unknown, but likely he gave exhibition flights in both USA
and Canada, possibly travelling as far west as Vancouver.
One report has Wickham returning to England in April 1912, although another
gives him in Canada in early 1915. Possibly the 1912 voyage was merely a
visit. Either way, in 1915 he joined the RNAS as a Probationary Flight
Sub-Lieutenant, for temporary service, with seniority of 26 June, with rank
being confirmed on 29 September 1915. Promoted to Flight Lieutenant in
December 1916, he finished the war as Captain R.F.E. Wickham, RAF, at Pulham
Wickham appears to have left the RAF in 1919 and on 19 October 1920 left
England for Mombasa, seemingly intending to live in East Africa. However, on
10 February 1925 he returns to England from Durban, South Africa, with his
His activities are unrecorded from then until the outbreak of the Second
World War, when he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve,
Administrative and Special Duties Branch, as a Pilot Officer on 26 September
1939. He was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant (temp) on 22 September
1942 and Squadron leader on 1 September 1943.
Richard Francis Ernest Wickham died at RAF Hospital Halton on 28 June1945.
Francis Kennedy McClean
Francis Kennedy McClean
was born on 1 February 1876 at Ferncliffe, just outside Tunbridge Wells, the
son of Dr. Francis McClean and Ellen McClean (née Greg), and was educated at
Charterhouse and the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper's Hill. He worked
as a civil engineer in the Indian Public Works Department from 1898 to 1902
and then returned to England and joined the family business. In 1902 he
became a director of the Cannock Chase Colliery Company.
He had his first experience of flight in 1907 as assistant to Griffith
Brewer in the Gordon-Bennett balloon race from Berlin. In the next year's
race from Zurich he was a pilot and on 7 December of that year flew with
Wilbur Wright at Le Mans.
Early in 1909 Griffith Brewer and Charles Rolls bought 400 acres of land at
Muswell Manor and Frank McClean paid for it to be levelled and converted into
a suitable airfield. Later in 1909 Rolls had started using fields at
Stonepitts Farm, near Eastchurch village, on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, to
teach himself to fly and it was agreed that it was the less soggy of the two
sites and so Frank bought the farm and told all Aero Club members that they
could move there for a rent of one shilling per year and use of the airfield.
It was there he gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate after flying a Short
S.27 biplane on 20 September 1910.
In February 1911 he offered to let both the Admiralty and War Office use
the aircraft and airfield at Eastchurch to teach naval and military personnel
to fly heavier-than-air machines. Although the War Office declined the
Admiralty accepted and started to train the first naval aviators.
McClean also was a pioneer in aerial photography: with the help of Hugh
Spottiswoode he took some acclaimed photographs of the wreck of the SS Oceana
just off the coast at Eastbourne. In August 1912 he flew a floatplane between
the upper and lower parts of Tower Bridge and underneath London Bridge.
In 1914 he made a flight following the course of the Nile between
Alexandria and Khartoum in a specially built four-seater aircraft, the Short
S.80 The Nile. Beset by mechanical problems, the flight took from 2 January
until 22 March. On the outbreak of the First World War in August he joined
the Royal Naval Air Service and carried out patrols in the English Channel
before becoming chief instructor at Eastchurch. He transferred to the Royal
Air Force when it was formed in 1918 but he resigned in 1919. McLean was a
founder member of the Aero Club of Great Britain (later the Royal Aero Club)
and was chairman in 1923-24 and again from 1941 to 1944.
After the war tested the Saunders Kittiwake flying boat designed by F.P.H.
Beadle, and undertook joyriding with Avro seaplanes, but ill-health forced
abandonment of flying. Thereafter, he established an employment bureau and
aircraft sales agency. He was to be seen at many aeronautical sporting events
and in 1923 was the entrant of the winning aircraft (a Sopwith Gnu flown by
S/L. W. H. Longton) in the first Grosvenor Challenge Cup Race. Three years
later, on 3 July 1926 he was knighted in recognition of his services to
British aviation, and in the same year the RAeC. awarded him its highest
honour, the club's Gold Medal.
He was appointed High Sheriff of Oxfordshire for 1932. On the outbreak of
World War II rejoined the RNVR. in advisory capacity as Lt.-Commander, but
retired through ill-health in 1944.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Francis Kennedy McClean died in a London nursing
home on 11 August 1955, after a long illness.
Edward Keith Davies
Edward Keith Davies was
born on 10 June 1886 in London, trained as an engineer and later became
interested in aviation. In his early life he normally went by Keith Davies,
but in his later years appears to have styled himself Edward Keith-Davies. He
started his flying career with Claude Grahame-White early in 1910, and
assisted with the famous London to Manchester flight. He then carried out
experimental work on monoplanes with the Humber Company and on 5th October
1910 won a prize for duration flying at Brooklands. He gained his RAeC
Aviators Certificate on 11th October, after tuition at the Hanriot Flying
School at Brooklands. Davies was the school's first pupil.
For Indias first aviation meeting, preceding the United Provinces
Exhibition in Allahabad, there were two biplanes and four monoplanes, all of
which had been supplied by Humber. The aeroplanes were shipped Bombay in
large crates, and they were then sent on by rail in special trucks to
Allahabad. Two aviators were selected by Humber to represent the firm at
Allahabad, Henri Péquet and E.K.Davies. Keith Davies became the first person
to fly an aeroplane in India; he assembled one of the monoplanes and made a
flight of 200 yards on 25th November 1910. Following this the monoplanes were
taken to Bombay where they were flown successfully at the Oval. Keith Davies
flying there from one end of the Oval to the other amid great acclaim, and as
a novelty, flights were also made in darkness, the ground being lit up with
In 1912, Keith Davies was the second officer to be gazetted to the RFC
reserve, as a Second Lieutenant in the Special Reserve of Officers, Royal
Flying Corps. Military Wing, and later was attached to the Royal Aircraft
Factory as an experimental pilot. He was one of the first pilots to undertake
night-flying tests, and after being a member of the AID at Farnborough,
Davies transferred to Parnall & Sons where it was intended that he should
take on the duties of a test pilot flying both landplanes and seaplanes.
Keith Davies was promoted to Captain on 1 December 1915 and joined Parnall in
1916, where he was responsible for the concept of the Scout (a.k.a
Zepp-Chaser). After his early work with the Scout, he left the company to
take over an aircraft factory in London until the end of the war.
Meanwhile Davies, with F Boyle Monkman, had formed Keith and Boyle, Ltd. in
mid-1913, registered with an authorized capital of £2000 and offices at 31,
Gt. James Street, Bedford Row, W. C., to carry on the business of
manufacturers and builders of motorbuses and chars-a-banes, motor-haulage
contractors, etc. Following the war, he returned to this business, where he
would appear to have remained until the early 1950s.
Captain Edward Keith Davies died in April 1968 in London.
Maurice Ducrocq was born 4
December 1874 in Paris, France, and gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 1
November 1910 on a Farman Biplane. He had done his flying training at the
Hewlett-Blondeau school at Brooklands and was the schools first graduate. He
was the General Agent for the British Empire for Nieuport monoplanes from
1911. M. Ducrocq was also the UK agent for Viale engines, managed Hanriot
(England) Ltd and, at the Ducrocq Flying School, Brooklands, had the
distinction of teaching John Alcock to fly.
During the First World War, Maurice Ducrocq worked as a test pilot for
James George Weir
James George Weir was born
on 23 May 1887 in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of James
Galloway Weir and Mary Douglas Weir (née Richmond). He was educated at Dollar
Academy, Glasgow University and the Sch. of Mines, Freiburg.
Weir was commissioned on 24 February 1906 as an 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd
(Renfrewshire) Volunteer Battalion, Princess Louise's (Argyll and Sutherland
Highlanders), promoted to Lieutenant on 1 November 1907. On 1 April 1908 he
transferred to the 3rd Highland (Howitzer) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery,
being promoted to Captain on 1 Jun 1909.
Weir gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 8 November 1910, flying a
Blériot Monoplane at Hendon. On 28 October 1914 he was transferred to the
Royal Flying Corps as a Flying Officer, was promoted to Flight Commander on
24 March 1915 and Flight Commander 22 June 1916. On 14 December 1916 Weir
became Deputy Assistant Director, War Office (graded as a Staff Captain) and
was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) on 1
January 1918. On 1 Apr 1918, he transferred to the newly formed RAF in the
rank of Lt Colonel, rising to Acting Brigadier-General on 24 May 1918.
Weir was appointed an officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy on 8 November
1918, a Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 3 June 1919 and, on
11 July 1919, was appointed an Officer of the Légion d'honneur by the
President of the French Republic. On 15 February 1919 he was transferred to
the Unemployed List and on 28 September 1920 relinquished his Commission in
the RAF on appointment to the Territorial Force. Weir was appointed a Flying
Officer in the Reserve of Air Force Officers on 20 Apr 1923, becoming Air
Commodore on18 May 1923.
In 1926 he helped form and became Chairman and Managing Director of the
Cierva Autogiro Company. He later, in 1935, became a Director of the Bank of
England. He was also deputy director of the engineering company G & J
Air Commodore James George Weir, CBE CMG, died on 7 November 1973 in Ayr.
Hugh Evelyn Watkins
Hugh Evelyn Watkins was
born in late 1881 in Kensington, London, his father a serving army officer.
He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 3rd Essex Regiment on 27 February
1902, being promoted to Lieutenant on 12 December 1903. He gained his RAeC Aviators
Certificate on 8 November 1910, flying Capt. Maitland's Howard Wright biplane
at Brooklands. He had intended to fly this same machine in the Baron de
Forest £4,000 Cross-Channel Prize contest. The machine was to have flown from
Shorncliffe, fitted with a special compass, and with wireless telegraphy
apparatus, by which Watkins hoped to be able to keep in touch with Capt.
Maitland, who would be following the flight on a tug. Unfortunately an
accident while experimenting with the machine eliminated him from the
competition, eventually won by Thomas Sopwith.
In 1911, Douglas Mawson, who had accompanied Ernest Shackleton's British
Antarctic Expedition of 190709, planned his own Antarctic expedition. He
considered taking a plane to the Antarctic, which could work as a
reconnaissance tool, transport cargo, and assist with search and rescue.
Crucially, as no plane had yet been taken to the continent, it could also be
used to generate publicity. Unsure of the type of plane he should take, but
considering a Blériot, Mawson mentioned his plans to Scott's wife Kathleen
Scott, an aircraft enthusiast. She recommended he take a monoplane, and
conveyed his interest to Lieutenant Hugh Evelyn Watkins of the Essex
Regiment. Watkins had connections with aircraft manufacturer Vickers Limited,
which had recently entered into a licence agreement to build and sell
aircraft in Britain designed by the Frenchman Robert Esnault-Pelterie. On
Kathleen Scott's advice, Mawson purchased a Vickers R.E.P. Type Monoplane,
one of only eight built. The machine was duly shipped to Australia, where a
series of public demonstrations were planned in to assist in fund-raising,
the first of which was scheduled for 5 October 1911 at the Cheltenham
Racecourse in Adelaide. Unfortunately the aircraft crashed during this
flight, Watkins being slightly injured. No longer needing a pilot, and
believing him to be responsible for the crash, Mawson dismissed Watkins and
he returned to the UK. The aircraft was shipped to Antarctica for use as a
tractor and abandoned there. Its remains were discovered in 2010.
Watkins returned to his regiment, seeing active duty in France during the
First World War, where, by now a Captain, he was wounded in February 1915. On
24 September 1920, Watkins was Gazetted out of the Army with the rank of
Major and on December 8 1920 joined ADRIC (The Auxiliary Division of the
Royal Irish Constabulary). On 20 January 1922 discharged on the
demobilisation of ADRIC.
Captain Hugh Evelyn Watkins died on 26 September 1942 in London
Clement Hugh Greswell
Clement Hugh Greswell was
born 5 December 1890 in Alveston, Gloucestershire, the son of Henry Charles
Leonard Greswell and Christain Mary Greswell (née Wynter). He gained his RAeC
Aviators Certificate on 15 November 1910 flying a Grahame-White biplane at
Brooklands. Following this he had intended to try for the Baron de Forest
£4,000 Cross-Channel Prize contest. However, storms in mid-December of 1910
wrecked his machine and he did not participate.
When Claude Grahame-White opened his flying school at Hendon in 1911, he
was hired as chief instructor. As part of the celebrations for the Coronation
of King George V in 1911 an aerial postal service was operated between Hendon
Airport and Windsor Castle (distance of 21 miles). This was the first scheduled
air mail service in the world with a total of 16 flights from Hendon and 4
from Windsor. The first flight (by Gustav Hamel in a Blériot) was on 9
September 1911 and the last on 26 September. The planes used were two
Blériots and a Farman with the Farman being depicted on the special cards and
envelopes. Four pilots were involved: Gustav Hamel, E F Driver, Clement
Greswell, and Claude Hubert although Hubert crashed on his first take off on
11 September, breaking both his legs.
Soon after this, Greswell left Grahame-White and in May 1912 joined the
British Deperdussin School as their chief instructor. His stay there was even
shorter, as by June he was back at Hendon, this time as manager of the
Practical Flying Department of the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd, which
had been formed on 6 June. By December he was assistant manager in charge of
Greswell arrived in New York 25 April 1917 aboard the SS Adriatic,
returning 10 November. His US Draft Registration card, dated 5 June 5 1917,
states Sent to this country to build aeroplanes for the government by the
Aircraft Co, so presumably he was there associated with the US production of
the Airco DH.4. While representing AIRCO and the British Government in the
USA, he was gazetted on 27 December 1917 in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant (on
probation), confirmed in rank on 20 August 1918. He was transferred to the
Unemployed List on 19 February 1919.
He returned once again to the United States, probably in 1919, returning to
England on 14 March 1920, most likely just for an extended vacation.
Other than his marriage (1 December 1922) and the birth of his daughter
Pamela, nothing is recorded of his life from this point on.
John Duncan Bertie Fulton
John Duncan Bertie Fulton
was born on 23 July, 1876, at San Francisco, the son of Frederick George and
Jane Elizabeth Fulton. He attended Malvern College (Huntingdon House),
leaving in mid-1893. He entered the Royal Artillery in March, 1896, and
served throughout the South African War, where he took part in the operations
for the relief of Ladysmith, amongst many others. He was mentioned twice in
dispatches and received both the King's and Queen's medals with eight
On 5 October 1909, then a Captain, RFA, he was elected a member of the RAeC
and in early 1910 he bought a 28 h.p. Grahame-White Blériot-type monoplane
out of the proceeds of patents for the improvement oi field-guns, and during
that year he continued to fly and experiment at his own expense, keeping his
machine in a shed at Larkhill, on Salisbury Plain, as his battery was
stationed at Bulford. His machine was kept in a shed originally built for
Charles Rolls, but unused due to his death.
He took his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 15 November 1910, flying an
historic Farman biplane belonging to Mr. G. B. Cockburn, who was at the time
also experimenting at Larkhill. This machine, which was nicknamed "the
Father of all Farmans," was the first machine M. Henri Farman ever built
and had been flown by Mr. Cockburn at the great Reims Meeting of 1909, and at
Wolverhampton and Bournemouth in 1910. He, along with Richard Talbot
Snowden-Smith, who gained his the same day, was one of the first two British
officers on the Active List to pass for his certificate.
On 1 April 1911, when the Air Battalion, Royal Engineers, was formed,
Fulton was appointed to command No. 2 (Aeroplane) Company at Larkhill. During
October and November of that year he travelled to France with Frederick
(later Sir Frederick) Sykes visiting Rheims, along with other aerodromes. A
direct result of their visit was the organization of Squadrons and aerodromes
of the RFC In December of 1911, Fulton became the first British officer to
secure the Special Flying Certificate of the Royal Aero Club, and only the
third overall, for which the tests consist of a 100-mile cross-country
flight, a 1,000-ft. altitude flight, and a vol plane, with engine completely
stopped, from 500 ft.
In May 1912, he was appointed to the newly-formed Central Flying School as
an Instructor, graded as a Squadron Commander. The Aeronautical Inspection
Department, a division of the Military Aeronautics section of the War Office,
came into being in December 1913, with Fulton in the position of Chief
Inspector. He was awarded Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the New
Year Honours of 1914, announced on 2 January 1914. On 31 October 1915 Fulton
was promoted to Assistant Director of Military Aeronautics, with rank as
Captain John Duncan Bertie Fulton RFA died on 11 November 1915 after
falling ill that morning in his office.
Leslie Falconer Macdonald
Leslie Falconer MacDonald
was born on 12 March 1890 in Bristol, the son of James Turriff MacDonald and
OliviaMaria MacDonald (née Pingstone). He gained his RAeC Aviators
Certificate on 15 November 1910 on a Bristol Boxkite at Brooklands, the first
to obtain his Certificate on a Bristol. Almost immediately afterwards the
British and Colonial Aeroplane Co arranged for a special mission to
Australia, the team consisting ofMacdonald, Sydney E. Smith, the Company's manager (see No. 33), pilot
Joseph Hammond (see No.32), and a staff of mechanics. The tour started on 3
January 1911 in Perth, Western Australia, finishing on 9 May in Sydney, New
Returning to England he was engaged by Vickers to test their machines. On
13 January 1913 MacDonald, together with his passenger, mechanic Harold
England, left the Vickers flying ground near Dartford for a short trial
flight in a 70 h.p. Vickers monoplane when, after they had flown for a few
minutes at a height of a few hundred feet, trouble with the engine caused
them to make a rapid descent and he was forced to ditch in the Thames near
Erith. The monoplane floated for about one minute and one man was seen
climbing along the wing before the machine sank. He then swam a few yards and
disappeared. This was persumably England, for MacDonald was unable to swim
and evidently went down with his machine.
Richard Talbot Snowden-Smith
Snowden-Smith was born on 23 April 1887 at St Austell Cornwall, the son of
James Snowden Smith and Frances Mary Flamstead Smith (née Walters). He was
educated at Sandhurst and commissioned into the Army Service Corps in 1906.
He began flying in 1910, gaining his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 15 November
1910 flying a Farman biplane, Blondeau's second pupil to win his Certificate
at Brooklands and, along with Captain John Duncan Bertie Fulton RFA, who
gained his the same day, was one of the first two British officers on the
Active List to pass for his certificate.
Although he participated in many trials before World War One, including the
Brooklands to Brighton Air Race, he remained a career soldier and appears to
have participated little in aviation following the outbreak of World War One.
Having originally retired in 1940 from Inspector of Royal Army Services Corps
at the War Office, he was recalled later that year as Director of Supplies
& Transport, War Office finally retiring in 1943 with the rank of
Major-General. In the 1942 New Year Honours was awarded Companion of the
Order of the Bath (CB).
Major-General Richard Talbot Snowden-Smith, CBE, MIMechE, died in on 14
August 1951 in Marylebone, London.
Joseph Joel ('Joe')
Hammond was born in Fielding, in the Manawatu District of the North Island of
New Zealand, on 19 July 1886, the son of Joseph Penny Hammond and MaryHammond (née Campion). He attended Campbell
Street School in Palmerston North, then, during 1899-1901, St Patrick's
He left New Zealand, likely in late 1904, travelling first to Australia,
where he worked on a sheep station, then reputedly as a prospector in the
Klondike and a trapper in Alaska. He spent much of 1905 in Phoenix, Arizona,
working on a cattle ranch before leaving the United States on 20 November,
returning to either Australia or New Zealand.
In 1908, he returned to the Americas, sailing from Sydney, via Fiji and
Hawaii, arriving in Vancouver, Canada on 9 April. He travelled south to the
USA and it must have been during this time that he joined William F. Cody,
aka Buffalo Bill. Codys final European tour had ended in 1907 and, in
1908, he and Pawnee Bill, another showman, joined forces and created the
"Two Bills" show. This would presumably have been the show Hammond
became involved with.
Later in 1908, Hammond left Cody and toured much of Europe, apparently
using as a base the East Sussex seaside town of Seaford and on 19 November
1909 married local Seaford girl Ethelwyn Wilkinson. In France, shortly after
his marriage, Hammond had received some flying tuition from renowned pilot
Léon Delagrange, probably at Reims and when, in July 1910, Hammond attended
the second of the famous annual Reims flying meetings, it rekindled his
desire to fly. Instructed by Henri Molla at the Sanchez-Besa school at
Mourmelon (Camp de Châlons), Hammond gained his French RAeC Aviators
Certificate (No.258) on 4 October 1910, flying a Sanchez-Besa Biplane.
Returning to England, he gained his RaeC RAeC Aviators Certificate on 22
November 1910, flying a Bristol Boxkite at Salisbury Plain.
Hammond was hired by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co and almost
immediately afterwards they arranged for a special mission to Australia, the
team consisting ofHammond, Sydney E.
Smith, the Company's manager (see No. 33), pilot L.F. Macdonald, (see No.28),
and a staff of mechanics. They arrived in Fremantle on December 13, 1910 and
transferred to Perth. The aeroplane used for the first flight was assembled
at Belmont Park Racecourse during the last day of 1910, and there that the
first flight of a heavier-than-air machine in Western Australia took place on
January 3, 1911 with Hammond piloting a Bristol Boxkite. Hammond made a final
flight in Perth on January 12, 1911, after which the aircraft was dismantled
and crated for shipment to Melbourne.
In Melbourne the team was hoping to interest the Commonwealth Government in
purchasing planes for military reconnaissance. Had this been successful, the
company had intended establish a factory in Melbourne to build the planes.
They selected the site at the rear of Altona House as their flight
headquarters and on 18 February 1911, Hammond undertook his first flight in
Victoria. On 20 February 1911, flew from Altona to Geelong and landed on the
Geelong Racecourse, taking 55 minutes to cover 42 miles, the following day
returning back to Altona, the first cross country flights in Australia.
Another "first" accolade was achieved when Hammond flew around
Altona for 12.4 miles with his wife as a passenger on 23 February. On 2
March, two new records were established. A Melbourne businessman, M. H.
Baillieu, paid to be taken for a flight. This was the first paid charter
flight and the first carrying an Australian citizen as a passenger. Public
demonstrations followed as well as numerous other flights before Hammond
moved on to New South Wales where on 18 April 1911 Hammond made the first
ever flight in Sydney, flying from the Ascot Racecourse, Mascot. The Bristol
tour ended in May 1911, but the Hammonds remained behind in Australia.
Hammond and his wife left
Sydney in May 1912, returning to England by way of Vancouver and New York. He
continued working for the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co. until August of
that year, when he was hired as an instructor at the Eastbourne Aviation Co.'s
School under Mr. F. Bernard Fowler. On 26 February 1913, Hammond joined the
Royal Flying Corps Military Wing (special reserve of Officers) with the rank
of 2nd Lieutenant (on probation).
The end of the year saw him once again in New Zealand. A Blériot XI-2 had
been presented to the New Zealand Government by the Imperial Defence
Committee at Hendon in June 1913. Christened Britannia by Lady Desborough
on 22 May 1913, the machine was shipped to New Zealand, Hammond being hired
to give demonstration flights. The Blériot arrived at Wellington on 29
September, minus propeller, and was fully erected in Auckland on 7 January
1914. Hammond made his first flight on 17 January from the Epsom showgrounds,
but the NZ government soon decided it had no further use for the aircraft and
Hammond returned to England.
In March 1915 Hammond was confirmed in his rank of 2nd Lieutenant, being
promoted to Lieutenant the next month, this later antedated to 26 November
1914. In January 1916 he was promoted from flying officer to Flight Commander
with the rank of Captain.
On 27 March 1918 Left from Liverpool bound for New York as part of the
British Air Mission to the United States. On 22 September 22, returning to
Indianapolis from the Fourth Liberty Loan War Bond Drive air display at
Greenfield, his Bristol Fighter F2B entered a right hand spin from 600 feet,
its left wing striking a tree before crashing in a cornfield of the Marion
County Poor Farm near its boundary with the Indianapolis Speedway. Hammond
was killed outright.
At the funeral, Hammonds coffin was draped with an American and British
Flag and was attended by US and British soldiers, including a firing squad of
American and British aviation officers. Thousands of citizens attended the
ceremony, at which the Bishop of Indianapolis officiated.
Hammond was cremated and his remains were then stored in the family
mausoleum of Carl Fisher who was the founder of the Indianapolis speedway.
Carl Fisher had graciously temporarily donated his own plot in the mausoleum
until Hammonds family could come and claim the remains after the war.
Hammonds remains were never collected and still reside in Carl Fishers
mausoleum, Crown Hill cemetery, Indianapolis.
At the time of his death Joseph Hammond was the longest serving New Zealand
pilot in the British services. He was thirty-one years old.
Sydney Ernest Smith
Smith was born on 24 April
1881 at Farnham, Surrey, the son of William George Smith and Georgina Smith
(née White). Trained as a Civil Engineer, he joined the Bristol Tramways and
Carriage Co., owned by his uncle Sir George White. Smith was also a Captain
in the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, being promoted
the 6th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment on 1 April 1908.
When the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company was founded in February
1910, also by Sir George White, Smith was appointed manager. He gained his
RAeC Aviators Certificate on 22 November 1910, flying a Bristol Boxkite at
afterwards the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co arranged for a special
mission to Australia, the team consisting of Smith, Leslie Macdonald (see
No.28), Joseph Hammond (see No.32), and a staff of mechanics. The tour
started on 3 January 1911 in Perth, Western Australia, finishing on 9 May in
Sydney, New South Wales.
At the beginning of the First World War Sydney Smith rejoined his old
battalion as Major, and in 1915 he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps. He
went through the war in the RFC and later in the RAF, was mentioned in
dispatches, and retired with the rank of Colonel. In June 1919, he was
awarded Commander of the British Empire (CBE).
Smith was a director of the Imperial Tramways Company between 1926 and 1930
and a director and general manager of the Bristol Tramways and Carriage
Company until he retired in 1935. He was also a director of the Bristol
Aeroplane Company and a member of the firm of George White and Co.,
stockbrokers, (also founded by Sir George White) until his death.
Col. Sydney Ernest Smith, CBE, died at the Bristol Royal Infirmary on 11
Board was born on 11 May
1878 in Westerham, Kent, the third son of Major John Board and his wife Mary
Elizabeth Board (née Pyne). His father was a Magistrate.
Following a time in the militia Board was commissioned as a Second
Lieutenant in the South Wales Borderers on 18 April 1898, serving in India
and South Africa. In 1910 at his own expense he learned to fly at Hendon. He
gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 29 November 1910 flying a Blériot
monoplane at Hendon. At that point he was still listed as a Captain of the
2nd Battalion South Wales Borderersat at the Artillery Barracks Pretoria,
On 18 April 1913, Board was posted as Flight Commander, No 6 Squadron, RFC
and on 1 March 1914 became Flight Commander, Central Flying School at
Netheravon, Wiltshire. On 28 Sep 1914 he became the officer commanding 7
Squadron RFC at Netheravon before moving to the western front in April 1915
to command 5 Squadron RFC. He later commanded the 10th Wing RFC before taking
over the control of a 20th (Reserve) Wing in Egypt.
On 1 January 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for
distinguished service in the Field and on 1 January 1919 the Companion of the
Order of St Michael and St George to in recognition of distinguished services
rendered during the War. With the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918
Broad was awarded a permanent commission as a Lieutenant Colonel. He rose to
the rank of Air Commodore before retiring in 1931. In 1939 he re-joined the
RAF as a Group Captain before retiring again in 1941. In 1943 he became a
Deputy Lieutenant in Caernarvon.
Air Commodore Andrew George Board CMG DSO DL died on 25 February 1973 at
Morfa Bychan, Caernarvonshire, Wales.
Herbert Frederick Wood
Herbert Frederick Wood was
born on 12 February 1882 in Rawalpindi, Punjab, India (now Pakistan), the son
of Lt. Col. David Edward Wood and Clara Wood. He was educated at Harrow and
Sandhurst, serving with the 9th Lancers in South Africa. He gained his RAeC
Aviators Certificate on 29 November 1910 flying a Bristol Biplane at
On 28 March 1911 he was appointed manager of Vickers aviation department
and made the first flight from their new aerodrome at Joyce green, near
He rejoined his old regiment at the outbreak of The First World War.
Major Herbert Frederick Wood died on 11 December 1918 in Marylebone,
Greater London, of influenza.
Bethell Godefroy Bouwens
was born on 9 February 1884 in London, the son of son of Lt. Col. Lambart
Henry Bouwens and Charlotte Bouwens (née Bethell), and educated at Eton
(September 1897 to August 1900) and Trinity College, Cambridge (Nat. Science
Trip. pt. I class III 1906).
After leaving Cambridge in 1906 he worked for a time on experimental
aircraft with various private constructors. He gained his RAeC Aviators
Certificate on 7 January 1911 flying a Blériot monoplane at Hendon and in
1912 became Director of Salisbury Plain Motors, Ltd. along with Captain
Clutton, who was the original secretary and builder of the Hendon
He entered the Army in 1914 and served as a 2nd Lieutenant, later
Lieutenant in the Royal Army Service Corps of Motor Transport, both at home
and in France until 1918, when he was discharged for medical reasons.
From 1918 to 1935 he was unable to work owing to the state of his health,
but in 1935 he undertook duties as Managing Director of Road and River
Motors, Ltd., Shepperton, from which he retired in 1938.
Bethell Godefroy Bouwens MA (Nat. Sci. Camb.), MIAE, MIMT,died on 24 October 1942 in Holborn,
George Bayard Hynes
George Bayard Hynes was
born on 12 April 1887, in Malta the son of William Hynes and Mary Emmeline
Hynes (née Rich). He was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School.
Hynes gained a commission in the Royal Artillery in 1905 and gained his
RAeC Aviators Certificate on 7 January 1911 flying a Blériot monoplane at
Hendon. He was then seconded to the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers and
later in 1912 to the Royal Flying Corps. In 1914 he went to France with the
RFC as a Flight Commander, was later promoted to Captain and then to
Lieutenant Colonel, being placed in command of the engine repair depot at
Pont de l'Arche. Here his sound engineering knowledge soon made itself felt.
During the War Hynes was five times mentioned in dispatches, and in January,
1917, was awarded the DSO.
Receiving a permanent commission in the RAF in 1919, he was posted in 1921
to the RAE, Farnborough, as Chief Experimental Officer (Engines), while two
years later he became Principal Technical Officer (Engines). It was in 1927
that he went to the AID, to become Chief Inspector (Engines) under
Lieut.-Col. Outram. His valuable work in this responsible position received
general recognition in 1936 by his promotion to be Deputy Director of
Aeronautical Inspection, the post which he held at the time of his
Group Captain George Bayard Hynes, DSO, died in London on 30 May 1938.
St. Croix Johnstone
St. Croix Johnstone was
born 2 January 1887 in Chicago, USA, the only son of Chicago physician Stuart
Johnstone and Jessie A Johnstone (née St. Croix). Before taking up aviation,
he had been a motorcycle racer and race car driver.
He gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 7 January 1911 on a Blériot
monoplane at Hendon. Returning to the United States, he accomplished several
firsts: on 29 June 1911, Johnstone became the first aviator to cross the
Detroit River, crossing the northern boundary line of the United States and
flying over Windsor, Ontario. Next, on 27 July 27, flying an American-built
Moisant Blériot monoplane, broke all American records for duration and
distance flying. He remained in the air for 4 hours 1 minute 53 3/4 seconds,
circling the aviation school fling field 39 times for a distance of 176 miles
Unfortunately, just three weeks later on 15 August 1911, Johnstone was
killed when his Moisant Blériot crashed into Lake Michigan while he was
taking part in the 1911 Chicago International Aviation Meet.
Henry Rex Cook
Henry Rex Cook was born on
17 August 1863, Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India, the son of Henry
Cook and Charlotte Chesney Cook (née McNeill). In 1892, with rank of Captain,
he was appointed adjutant of the Cork Artillery (Southern Division) in Ireland.
He continued at Cork until 1897. In 1901 Cook was attached to the Jubaland
Force as an interpreter with responsibility for mapping and as an
intelligence officer. He took part in the Ogaden Punitive Expedition of 1901
and was promoted to Major the same year.
Cook joined the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain on 14 December 1909.
He took flying lessons in 1910 and gaining his Aviator's Certificate flying a
Blériot monoplane at the New Forest Aviation School, Beaulieu, on 31 December
1910. In December 1911, Cook was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and,
following the creation of the Royal Flying Corps in May 1912, was seconded
from the Royal Artillery to the RFC's Central Flying School as an instructor
in theory and construction. After the Commandant, Captain Godfrey Paine RN,
Cook was next most senior officer at the School and by August he was being
described as the Assistant Commandant. While at the CFS, Cook was involved in
teaching theory. In September 1912 he was awarded Royal Aero Club Special
Certificate No. 7 for carrying out a series flights and aerial manoeuvres
which were of special merit in the early years of aviation. In December 1912,
Cook spent some time in India, visiting Agra where he made observations on
the ability of birds to soar and theorized on the effect of sunlight on
On 23 June 1913, Cook returned to the Royal Garrison Artillery and was
placed on the RFC's reserve list. He served throughout World War I, retiring
on 14 September 1919 as a substantive colonel with the honorary rank of
Brigadier-General Henry R Cook died on 21 January 1950 in Bournemouth,
Basil Herbert Barrington-Kennett
Barrington-Kennett was born in Hove, Sussex, in 1884 to Lt. Col. Brackley
Herbert and Ellinor FrancesBarrington-Kennett (née Austen), and educated at Eton. In 1907, he was
gazetted into the Grenadier Guards. He became a keen balloonist, and it is
known he took part in the 1909 Hurlingham International Balloon Race,
(although he was not placed in the results), and the 1910 Hedges Butler
Challenge Cup for Balloons - Long Distance Competition.
He gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 7 January 1911, flying a Blériot
Monoplane at Hendon. In April 1911, he joined the Air Battalion of the Royal
Engineers, and by February 1912, he had set a record for flying in a closed
loop of 249 miles and 840 yards in a Nieuport monoplane. He stayed with
military forces and at the outbreak of World War One he became Brevet Major,
in the Military Wing, Royal Flying Corps., serving as their Adjutant.
In 1915 he returned the 2nd Grenadier Guards and was killed in action on
18th May that year, and buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery, France.
Reginald Archibald Cammell
was born 10 January 1886 in Inverness, the son of Archibald Allan Cammell and
Katherine Marion Cammell (née Orr). Educated at Repton School (September
1899-July 1904) and Sandhurst, he was Gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Corps
of Royal Engineers on 26 July 1906 and promoted to Lieutenant in 1908. He
gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 7 January 1911 and his Airship Pilots
Certificate (No. 6) on 22 April. He was killed when flying an ASL Valkyrie at
Hendon on 17 September 1911.
Oscar Colin Morison
Oscar Colin Morison was
born on 22 November 1884 at Dulwich, London, the son of Alexander Joseph
Morison and Leocadia Fernanda Morison (née Tennant), and educated at Madras
College, St Andrews, Fife. He gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on 31
December 1910 at Brooklands Aerodrome flying a Blériot monoplane. Morison did
not have to take the official tests. The Aero reported in its 25 January 1911
issue that: Morison, having done two of his test flights in France last
year, has now been presented with his brêvet in consideration of his
magnificent flying lately, the ordinary test flight being an obvious
absurdity for him to waste castor oil over.
He flew exhibition flights in the early days of aviation in England. In
1911 he entered the Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Air Race but failed to
start. On 7 March 1911 he became the first aviator to fly in to Shoreham
Aerodrome in a Blériot monoplane. In May 1911 he was in a well-publicized
air-race with Graham Gilmour from Shoreham Aerodrome to the eastern boundary
of Brighton at Blackrock, Morison taking the straight course passed the
winning post one minute before Gilmour.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Morison joined the Royal Naval
Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) on 23 December 1914 with the rank of Temporary
Lieutenant. On 18 February, 1916 he transferred to the Military Wing of the
RFC as a Second Lieutenants (on probation), but by 11 May had relinquished
his commission on reappointment to the R.N.V.R.Morison later became a Temporary Major with
the Royal Air Force when it was formed in 1918.
Morisons activities between the wars appear to be unrecorded. He rejoined
the RAF on 4 July 1939 as a Pilot Officer (on probation) and I3 March 1940
was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer.
Oscar Colin Morison died on 17 May 1966 in Bournemouth, Hants.
James Valentine was born
in Lambeth, London on 22 August 1887, the son of James and Frances Valentine
(née Roe). His father was managing director of the Northern Assurance Co. He
educated his son at Dulwich College, and then apprenticed him to the London,
Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive works.
In July 1910 he went in to partnership with Robert F Macfie, providing a 50
h.p. rotary engine for fitting to the latters biplane. Valentine gained his
RAeC Aviators Certificate on 31 December 1910 at Brooklands on the Macfie
Biplane. When Macfie began to concentrate on his next design in early 1911,
this marked the end of the partnership. Valentine acquired a 50 h.p.
Deperdussin monoplane which he entered in the Circuit of Europe Air Race. The
Circuit of Europe started on 18 June 1911, the only British aviator to
compete in race and one of the few competitors to complete the course. Next
was the Daily Mail sponsored Circuit of Britain air race, over a 1,010 mile
course, starting at Brooklands on 22 July. Valentine, again flying the
Deperdussin, was one of only four airmen to complete the race. In the Aerial
Derby of eighty-one miles around London on 3 June 1912, Valentine was third
flying a Bristol Prier monoplane.
Valentine either purchased a Bristol Prier monoplane or, more likely, was
retained by Bristols as a demonstration pilot. He flew it cross country to
qualify for one of the first Superior Certificates granted by the Royal Aero
Club. Prier and Valentine flew the two-seater Bristol-Prier No.58 extensively
during September and October, 1911, and generated sufficient interest for
Bristols to commit to build another six in prospect of domestic and overseas
orders. On 22 December Valentine became the first man to fly a
heavier-than-air machine over central Paris and the first to fly one around
the Eiffel Tower.
Valentine joined the RFC with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, on probation, on
12 August 1914, and was promoted to Flying Officer on 30 August 1914,
antedated to 6 August. In October he was posted to Paris to organize a
department for the supply of French aircraft, engines, spares and stores, and
to report on the performance of new aircraft and promoted to Lieutenant on 11
Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) James Valentine, Special Reserve, was
appointed as Equipment Officer on 16 January 1915 and graded as a Flying
Officer on 8 February 1915. With the rank of Captain, he was appointed Flight
Commander on 15 October 1915. The French made Valentine a Chevalier of the
Legion of Honour on 8 November, 1915 in recognition of this work.
In August 1916 Valentine
was selected to head a training mission to Russia, and on 20 October 1916 was
promoted to Temporary Major (but without the pay and allowances of that rank)
while specially employed. The intention seems to have been to train Russian
pilots to fly British-built aircraft but, like the other British forces out
there, Valentine became involved with the 1917 Revolution and its initial
aftermath as Kerensky sought to keep Russia in the war against Germany.On 25 May 1917 he was again promoted, from
Flight Commander to Squadron Commander and Mentioned in Dispatches in July of
the same year. On 4 June 1917, Valentine was appointed a Companion of the
Distinguished Service Order for distinguished service in the field. Valentine
also received the award of the Order of St George (4th Class) for
distinguished service at Tarnopol and Trebovlay in July, 1917, to add to his
1st Class Cross of Stanilaus.
That month the Kerensky offensive failed and the German and
Austro-Hungarian armies began exerting pressure against a Russian army on the
verge of disintegration.On 19 July
nine divisions attacked the Russian 11th Army on the Tarnopol sector and the
following day Locker Lampson, commanding the RNAS armoured car unit in
Russia, found himself trying to stop the Austrians as well as to protect
other British property and nationals. Lampsons advance base was set up at
the aviation camp beyond Podgaitse, reached on 22 July. Lampson now began a
fighting retreat and Valentine was caught up in this.
It is believed that James Valentine died at Kiev on 7 August 1917 Though
the circumstances of his death are unclear, most likely due to dysentery. He
was reportedly buried in Kiev in Bratskoe (Brotherly) cemetery
Cecil Howard Pixton was
born on 14 December 1885 in Didsbury, Manchester, the son of John Sutcliffe
Pixton and Elizabeth Pixton (née Naylor).
Early in 1910, Pixton wrote to A.V. Roe, asking to be taught flying, and
was initially taken on by Humphrey Verdon Roe as a mechanic, working for no
pay in return for flying tuition. He gained his RAeC Aviators Certificate on
31 December 1910 flying a Roe Triplane IV at Brooklands, awarded on 24
January 1911. However, the date of 31 December is in doubt and is most likely
19 January 1911. Unfortunately, as Roe could no longer afford to pay him, he
left in the second half of 1911 to join the British and Colonial Aeroplane
Co. In 1912, he demonstrated Bristol Boxkites in both Spain and Germany and
flew one of the Bristol-Coanda machines in the 1912 British Military
Aeroplane Competition of August that year.
In early 1914 Pixton left Bristol and joined the Sopwith Aviation Company
Ltd. Under Harry Hawkers leadership, Sopwith has developed a seaplane to
compete in the 1914 Schneider Trophy race. With Hawker away in Australia on a
sales tour, it fell to Pixton to test fly the machine, by now named the
Tabloid in March. On 20 April in Monaco, Pixton became the first pilot to
win the Schneider Trophy seaplane race for the Great Britain at an average
speed of 86.83 miles per hour.
Before the outbreak of the First World War, Pixton joined the Air
Inspection Department at Farnborough. On 1 April 1915 he joined the Royal
Flying Corps., Military Wing, as a 2nd Lieutenants (on probation), but
remained with the civilian AID. He was confirmed in rank on May 1915 and on
21 May graded as a Flying Officer. On 2 November the same year he was
promoted to Temporary Captains. On 5 September 1916 he was once more
regraded, this time to Flight-Commander, and on 13 October promoted to
Captain. When the AID closed at Farnborough in 1917 and introduced Inspection
Centres around the country, Pixton was sent to the Newcastle Acceptance Park
in December 1917 for six months, followed by a further six months in Dublin.
Then, in October 1918, he was transferred to AID Headquarters in
Following the end of the First World War and the lifting of restrictions on
civil aviation, Avro formed the Avro Transport Company in early 1919 and
entered the pleasure flight business. Pixton was appointed the chief pilot at
their seaplane base at Cockshot Point, Lake Windemere, originally home of the
Lakes Flying Company. However, rather than joyriding, the Avro seaplanes at
Windermere were chiefly engaged with carrying the Daily News to Douglas, Isle
of Man. Avro Transport Company failed to renew operations that ceased at the
end of the season in October 1919, so Pixton formed the Lakes Motor and
Seaplane Company in 1920to continue operations there, adding a garage
specialising in light cars and motor cycles as well as catering for motor car
and motor boat repairs.
Presumably this business did not prosper as the Lancashire Aero Club Report
for week ending 4 February 1928 announced the appointment of Pixton to the
the ground staff. He retired to the I.O.M in 1932 and became a leading figure
on the Manx aviation scene. During the 1939-45 war he rejoined the AID at
Cecil Howard Pixton died on 7 February 1972 and is buried at Jurby
Churchyard, Isle of Man.
V1.4.4 Created by Roger
Moss. Last updated August 2020