C.C. Paterson


Cecil Compton Paterson was born 4 January 1885, in Waterloo, Lancashire, the first son of James and Jane Paterson. His first business interests were in motoring, forming Messrs. Paterson and Co, of Upper Hill Street, Liverpool. In late 1908, Paterson and Co. was taken over by the Liverpool Motor House Company, of Peters Lane, Liverpool, with Paterson becoming a director of the latter.

As a result of his observations at Rheims and other flying meetings on the Continent, Paterson spent some eight months during 1909-1910 building an aeroplane based on the design of the Curtiss Golden Flyer, using the facilities of the Liverpool Motor House Company, the machine first taking to the air on the 14th May 1910, from the beach at Freshfield, north of Liverpool. Paterson then approached Southport town Council for help to set up an aerodrome and flying school. As the Council would not offer enough money, Paterson erected his own hangar at Freshfield. Paterson obtained his aviator's certificate, No 38, on this machine in December 1910. A second biplane, similar to the first but a two-seater fitted with a more powerful 50-h.p. Gnome engine, was built for Gerald Higginbotham, completed in January 1911.

Paterson was aware of the limitations of his Freshfield base; in May 1911, he moved to Hendon to work for Claude Grahame-White as a flying instructor. During his time there he designed his second machine, especially designed with a view to ease of movement on the ground and being able to be dismantled and passed through a 10 foot opening in five minutes. This machine was built by Lawton’s Motor Body Works, Cricklewood, and flew for the first time on 18th October, 1911, from a field near the Welsh Harp.

The new aircraft was designed with Paterson’s upcoming endeavors in South Africa in mind. In 1911, Paterson, along with Evelyn Frederick (Bok) Driver and Captain (later Brigadier-General) Guy Livingstone, formed the African Aviation Syndicate ‘to promote the science and practice of aviation in South Africa’. They departed the U.K. on the 11th November 1911 on the S.S. Garth Castle, along with the Paterson Biplane and a Blériot monoplane, for which the Syndicate held the Blériot agency in Africa. Following early demonstrations around Cape Town, The African Aviation Syndicate moved to Kimberley and established a permanent headquarters at Alexandersfontein. Plans were made for the establishment of a flying school, but disagreement between the principals forced the Syndicate into liquidation in September 1912. Paterson acquired the assets of the now defunct syndicate and persuaded group of Kimberley enthusiasts to finance a new scheme, and on 1st July 1913, the Paterson Aviation Syndicate was registered in Kimberley. Meanwhile, in February of 1913, Paterson had taken his biplane to Cape Town, where he modified it to a hydro-biplane. On 10th September 1913 the Government of the Union of South Africa and Paterson signed a Memorandum of Agreement whereby the Government agreed to have 10 candidate pilots trained at Alexandersfontein, the beginning of military flying training in South Africa. Early in 1914, Paterson closed his flying school and returned to the U.K., arriving on 25th March 1914 on the SS Dunluce Castle with his new wife Winifred Knight (née Beck), whom he had married on 2nd March. Later that year fe also formed a partnership with Captain Ernest Bass and towards the end of 1914 the partners had arranged for S.E. Saunders to build a small flying boat, the Bass-Paterson Bat-Boat.

During the war, Paterson reportedly became an instructor with the R.F.C, but does not appear to have received a commission, so possibly acted in a civilian capacity. By mid-1917 he had the position of manager of the Somerton Works of J. S. White and Co., Ltd the layout of which, according to Aeroplane, he had himself planned. In 1919 this factory has was taken over by Gilbert Campling, Ltd., for the manufacture of ABC designed Skootamota and Paterson remained on as Works Manager. However, the Skootamota, an early form of scooter, was quickly imitated by competitors and, having a top speed of just 15 mph, ceased production in 1922.

Little is known of his activities after this until when, as a member of the Sailplane Club of The Model Aero Club, in August 1930, he is noted as preparing designs for two primary soaring machines. Certainly nothing came of these, and whether they were actual designs or just proposals is unknown.

Cecil Compton Paterson died on 19th October 1937 in Middlesex.

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