A Fleeting Peace

Golden-Age Aviation in the British Empire

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photo: 1929, aged 27

Mr Richard Ince

'A Member of the London Stock Exchange'

Killed in WWII: 10th August 1941, when Acting Lieutenant, HMS Daedalus RNVR; buried West Norwood Cemetery


King's Cup in 1930

photo: 1926, aged 38

Mr John Duckworth Irving

Born in Xlanga, S Africa but living in Northumberland; 'a shopkeeper'


King's Cup in 1929, 1930

photo: 1916, when a 2nd Lieut, Royal Irish Rifles, aged 18

in 1931

Mr Angus Charles Stuart Irwin

born in Motihari, India; educated at Marlborough and Sandhurst. RFC in WWI: 2 victories, but was then shot in the foot by a member of Richtoven's squadron.

Post-WWI, was "engaged in the estate business" (whatever that means).


King's Cup in 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935

zita irwin 1939

RAeC 1939

Zita Kathleen Irwin

Richard Hoblyn tells me that "I knew her through my father & grandfather years ago. She worked for Hoblyn & King after the war and was probably the first ever female stockbroker (although not a Member); I still have her dealing books. Raymond Baxter met her when she piloted one of the air races.

 My father was an executor of her estate and when she died circa 1975 I helped clear her flat in Sloane Street. I was gifted a German war medal for this which Zita took from the burnt out Reistag in 1945.

A remarkable woman. Her connections were extraordinary and she was highly regarded at Hoblyn & King especially by my grandfather."

Zita carried on flying after WWII; she was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the Womens' RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1949, and flew a Proctor in the 1951 South Coast Air Race:

Zita Irwin 1951  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p015pvf6

 Her husband died in 1961.

One of the ATA Women


Latest Articles

They Flew Together

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Fourteen extraordinary teams - including a lion - that made the world smaller, in Aviation’s Golden Age between the Wars.

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The Pilots of Imperial Airways


Imperial Airways came about in 1924, and they ploughed their stately (but, generally, fairly safe) furrow until the outbreak of WWII. Their pilots were amongst the best in the world.

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O! dem Golden Age Spitfire Women

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Admittedly, there has been A Awful Lot of Stuff published recently about the 'forgotten' women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary, and I suppose the world may not be agog for yet more about them.

However, with new information gleaned from the ATA and Royal Aero Club files, I have put together a database and gallery featuring these splendid ladies (especially the ones who flew before WWII) - much of it Never Seen Before In Public!

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Cobham's Flying Circus

Sir Alan Cobham reckoned that three-quarters of the boys who wanted to get into the RAF in 1938 and 1939 said they did so because they paid five or ten shillings for a flight with his 'Flying Circus'.

Organising hundreds of compex displays all over the country for four years must have been a logistical nightmare, and it was not without its distressing accidents, but - at least to some extent - the nation became 'air-minded'...

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Owen Cathcart-Jones revisited

It's difficult to know what to make of Owen Cathcart-Jones, really; he was certainly handsome, adventurous, undoubtedly talented, clearly an excellent aviator - but, I'm afraid, rather prone to go 'AWOL' - both in his personal and service life!

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