A Fleeting Peace

Golden-Age Aviation in the British Empire

photo: 1921, aged 21

Mr Thomas Wight Campbell

'Jock', worked at RAE Farnborough; test pilot at Bristol with Frank Uwins in 1928; later a Wing Commander

King's Cup in 1925

Mr John Conway Cantrill in 1961

'Jack', b. 28 May 1898 in Manchester.

Manchester University OTC then RFC (Admin Dept) during WWI, later test pilot for Avro. Volunteer instructor with the Lancashire Aero Club and, from 1930, Manager of Aviation Dept of Cellon [manufacturer of aircraft dope and finishes].

In 1925, "Mr. Cantrill, having no pupils down at the aerodrome, spent the afternoon shooting and returned with two good hares. This shooting is becoming a popular pastime for those who are waiting to fly."

Taught Winnie Brown to fly; rejoined the RAF in December 1939, again in the Administrative and Special Duties Branch. In 1944 he resigned his commission as a Wing Commander, and rejoined Cellon.

d. 1978 on the Isle of Wight.

King's Cup in 1928, 1930

Maia Carberry, wife of John (Lord) Carber(r)y, owned

a 1927 Fokker F.XI, G-EBUT VP-KAB/VH-UTO 'Miss Africa', and

a 1927 DH.60X Moth, G-EBSQ, in which she was killed in an accident in Nairobi on the 12 March 1928.

photo: 1930

Flt-Lt (later Sqn-Ldr) (Sir) David Vaughn Carnegie KBE CB AFC

One of the most experienced flying-boat pilots in the country: 3,000 hours by 1931. RNAS during WWI, then flew in and around the Mediterranean and the Far East; spent 18 months as honorary instructor to the Singapore Flying Club.

Later an Air Vice Marshall.


King's Cup in 1930, 1931

photo: 1916, when a Flight Sub-Lieut. in the Royal Navy, aged 25

photo: 1947, aged 56

Mr (Sir) Charles Roderick Carr KBE CB DFC AFC

Born Feilding, New Zealand. Part of Shackleton's last Antarctic expedition in 1921, later Air Marshall RAF and Chief of the Indian Air Force

King's Cup in 1922

photo: 1913, aged 26

Maj Reginald Hugh Carr DSM, AFC

b. 9 September 1886 in Walthamstow, Essex, an 'Aeroplane Engineer'.

Won the the Michelin Cup in 1913 for the year's longest flight (315 miles), and competed in the 1914 Aerial Derby (coming 2nd); the 1914 London-Manchester Race (also 2nd), and the 1914 London-Paris Race.

19 Squadron in WWI, then a test pilot for Grahame-White.

d. 1968.

Aerial Derby in 1919

photo: 1923

Mr Larry L Carter

One of the original AT&T pilots after WWI.

In May 1922, "Mr. Larry Carter had an unusual experience while flying the 10-seater Bristol from Paris to London on Wednesday. Just as he rose from the ground at Le Bourget one of the joints of his under-carriage became loose, and a portion of the under-carriage was left hanging down. This was quite unnoticed by Mr. Carter, but the officials at Le Bourget saw what had happened and wirelessed to Croydon a full description of the occurrence. The wireless operators at Croydon, as soon as Mr. Carter came within speaking range, "rang him up" and told him what had happened. Mr. Carter, being thus warned of what difficulties were in store for him when the time came for him to land, was able so to manoeuvre his machine that, after a landing which excited the admiration of all the pilots on the aerodrome, only the tip of one wing was damaged. Had he not been made aware of the breakage in the under-carriage it is highly probable that a serious crash would have resulted."

Gloster's test pilot from 1923; he flew the prototype of the Grebe (derived from the SE5) in that year's King's Cup race.

Fractured his skull and broke a leg when the Gloster II racer crashed in 1925, and in 1928 (not having flown since) he died from meningitus, aged 28.

King's Cup in 1923

photo: 1934

Owen Cathcart Jones

Lt Owen Cathcart Jones

Born 5th June, 1900, London (definitely not Canadian, despite some nasty rumours).

McRobertson Centenary Gold Medal 1934
Royal Aero Club Silver Medal 1934
Holder of 8 Long Distance World Records. 1934


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

Born in London on 5 June 1900, he joined the Royal Marines in 1919, then, after the usual period of general service he volunteered for flying and joined R.A.F Netheravon on 12 January 1925, in the first batch of Marines officers to be transferred.

He was awarded his 'wings' in August 1925 and was posted to RAF Leuchars, serving with 403 Flight on HMS Hermes, and 404 Flight on HMS Courageous, taking a hand in the troubles in China in 1926-27 and again in Palestine in the following year.

In 1927, he wrote to The Times:

Sir,

On July 17 I had occasion to be flying down the east coast of Greece, and when in the vicinity of Mount Kissavos, near Larisa, I was astonished to see a large golden eagle fly past my aeroplane on a parallel course at a distance of about 80 feet away. The bird did not appear to be at all concerned at the noise of the engine, and in fact turned its head round to look at the aJrcraft on passing. The speed on my indicator showed 70 knots, and the height by my altimeter was 4,000 feet. Judglng by the speed at which I was passed by this bird, I should estimate that it must have been travelling at 90 mp.h.; which I consider to be quite a phenomenal speed for such a large bird at that high altitude.

Yours faithfully,

OWEN CATHCART-JONES,

Lieut. H.M.S. Courageous, at Skiathos, Greece, July 22.

which prompted Mr Seton Gordon, from the Isle of Skye, to reply:

Sir,

The letter from Lieutenant Owen Cathcart-Jones in The Times of July 27 which describes the great speed of a golden eagle in flight is of interest to me, as I have for some time believed the eagle to be one of the fastest birds. On one occasion I satisfied myself that an eagle was travelling at a good 120 miles an hour - probably much more -but then the bird was rushing earthward from a considerable height, and Lieutenant Owen Cathcart-Jones's bird was apparently on a level course. Little is definitely known even to-day as to the maximum speed any bird is capable of. Not so long ago a senior officer of H.M.S. Hood told us that when the Hood was steaming 34 miles an hour into a 15-mile-an-hour wind a formation of guillemots had no difficulty in forging ahead and crossing the vessel's bows. This interesting record shows that even the humble guillemot is capable of an air speed of well over 50 miles an hour, so a speed of 90 m.p.h. is not surprising in a bird of the wing power of a golden eagle.

I am, &c.,

During this time, he met Audrey, the wife of Captain Hugh Fitzherbert Bloxham, late of the Indian Army, then a Colonial Office official in the Prison Department at Hong Kong. Hugh and Audrey had married in St John's Cathedral, Hong Kong, on 6 August 1925.

Clearly Owen and Audrey got along rather well, and in November, 1927, their daughter Imogen was born.

Hugh duly sued Audrey for divorce in May 1928, "on the ground of her adultery, at the Hotel Savoy, Hong Kong, with Lieutenant Owen Cathcart-Jones, of the Royal Marines." The petition was uncontested.

On 12 Aug 1929 in Malta, Audrey had a son, Anthony.

"He established a reputation as a forceful and daring pilot, and one of his escapades became the talk of the Fleet; on 22 Aug 1929 he was on exercises with the Fleet and loaded his plane with a large packet of "service brown" toilet paper intending to drop it on H.M.S. Revenge which should have been last in the line. Unfortunately the C-in-­C had inverted the line and he dropped the "bumph" very accurately on the Flagship, H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth. His Flycatcher aircraft was clearly numbered "7" and the Captain of H.M.S. Courageous was called to the Flagship on return to harbour to explain. Cathcart-Jones duly appeared before the Admiral with his reasons in writing [he made up some nonsense about it acting as a 'sighter' for actual bombs] and had to be on his best behaviour for some time."

On 26 November 1929 he made the first ever night deck landing in a fighter aircraft, flying a Fairey Flycatcher from H.M.S Courageous.

"It is a reminder of our one time presence in the Middle East that his record shows his Flight carrying out patrols in Palestine, and the Courageous Flights being shore based at Gaza and Aboukir in 1929 during the 'Civil War'.

During his Fleet Air Arm service he became very friendly with a wealthy Naval Officer, Glen Kidston, with a similar passion for flying. Kidston was himself leaving the Navy and Cathcart-Jones decided that it was time to do likewise and to transfer his interests entirely to civil flying. He went on to half pay on 17 Febuary 1930 [for 6 months], joined National Flying Services Ltd. and never returned to the Service.

Audrey, by then aged 28, with Imogen (aged 2) and Anthony (aged 1) sailed from Brisbane to Plymouth on the P&O steamship Ballarat, arriving there on 21 Jan 1930.

 

On 21 April 1930, National Flying Services held their first display at Hanworth Park; Owen provided the finale by bombing a level crossing to bits. However, the meeting was not a success; "for some reason N.F.S. shows do not appeal to the average private owner" and crowds were poor.

In September 1931 he flew a D.H. Puss Moth, with Audrey as passenger, in the Deauville-Cannes Air Rally. After lunch and a gala dinner, they flew on to Cannes, despite a forced landing in the Alps when the fuel pipe and filter were  found to be blocked with sand.

By the following May (1932), business was better; "taxi work is now on the increase and the N.F.S. pilots have been kept busy flying to places as widely separated as Plymouth and Berlin". Owen piloted G-ABTZ, a Stinson Junior belonging to Mr. E James, on several flights. On 31 July 1932, Audrey went on a conducted tour organised by NFS, of "eight Moths, one Bluebird and one Alfa Romeo", to Ostend.

Owen and Audrey lived in Tudor Court, Hanworth, London until 1934, but then Owen moved out, leaving her and the two children, who relocated to Wavenden, Bucks.

In company with Kidston he broke 8 World records for long distance flights in 1934, including England to South Africa in a Lockheed Vega:

but Glen (centre) was killed in an air crash shortly afterwards.

Owen also came 6th in the 2nd Morning Post Cross-country Air Race on 6 June 1933, and competed in the King's Cup in 1934 (finishing 9th) and 1935 (when he came a creditable 3rd).

Here he is, wandering around waiting to take-off, and taking a pylon in the final of the King's Cup 1934:

       

        

His real moment of glory was to co-pilot with Ken Waller the specially built D.H. Comet in the 1934 McRobertson England to Australia Centenary air race, in which they were awarded third prize in the Speed Handicap. On arrival they immediately turned round and flew back to England and established a record for the round trip.

Originally, he had teamed up with Miss Marsinah Neison in a Lockheed Altair (or Vega), "placed at their disposal by the builders", or possibly a Northrop Delta. However, nothing came of this.

He certainly wasn't first choice as Comet pilot - Bernard Rubin, the owner and intended pilot of the aeroplane, fell ill and originally nominated as substitute Mr Smirnoff 'the well-known Dutch pilot' on October 1st, and then only on October 5th (2 weeks before the race) 'finally and irrevocably' decided it should be Owen who accompanied Ken Waller. Three weeks before the Race, Owen had "never heard of Mr Rubin or Mr Waller", but apparently Marsinah said "Seajay, why don't you try and take Rubin's place?" Owen considered this a "most sporting action" on her part, but this meant that he had very little time to familiarise himself with the notoriously-tricky aeroplane.

After the return trip from Australia, Owen said "We have averaged 10 hours' flying every day, and covered approximately 2,200 miles a day. We wanted to make this flight back not so much as a speed flight, but as a flight which could be copied for commercial purposes. We have flown only by day, and have had time to sleep, eat, and wash. From the commercial point of view I think there is no reason why there should not be a service between Melbourne and England on similar times to those we have taken, certainly for the carrying of mails.

People in the Colonies were very anxious to have their letters quickly and to have air-mail services covering the distance in so short a time. We had one nasty moment at Allahabad, when we had trouble with two of the cylinders, but the Mollisons came to the rescue and lent us spare parts - a very sporting action. We were greatly disappointed by the delay at Athens owing to bad weather conditions, which prevented us from getting to Lympne yesterday."

Messages of congratulations included this one: "The Duke of Gloucester directs me to congratulate you both on a magnificent double flight - Private Secretary, Duke of Gloucester. 

However, even while he was away, the law was after him: "ENGLAND-AUSTRALIA AIR PILOT SUMMONED. Flight Lieutenant Owen Cathcart Jones, of the Naval and Military Club, Piccadilly. who is taking part in the air race to Australia, was summoned at Bow Street Court yesterday, on a charge of using a motor-car with an expired Road Fund licence.  He did not appear, and on being informed that Lieutenant Jones was one of the competitors in the England-Australia race, Mr Dummett adjourned the summons sine die."

In 4 April 1935, several visitors arrived by air for the Norfolk and Norwich Annual Dinner, including " Lt. O. Cathcart-Jones and Miss M. Neison in a Puss Moth".

He published his "Aviation Memoirs" in 1935; "... breezy, light and interesting ... the book is unusually well illustrated, with photographs which Mr. Cathcart Jones has collected or taken himself, and many of these photographs are extremely graphic and educative." Interestingly, Owen rather neglects to mention anything about his wife and children.

In 1935, Ken Waller got annoyed with him for something he said in this book that Ken felt "reflected on his courage and ability as a pilot", and even went to court over it. Owen replied that "that was the last thing he intended, as Mr. Waller and he had been, and still were, very good friends", which seemed to settle the matter.

Reading the memoirs, I can only assume this was the passage where, having got themselves lost in bad visibility over Arabia during the Race, Owen says that "little did I know that Ken was on the point of asking me to dive the machine into the ground and get it all over rather than face the possibility of running out of petrol, forced landing in the sand, where we certainly would have smashed the machine, and then lie there slowly dying without means of help."

In fact, Owen's is a rather bland account of their two-way trip, and at one point Owen credits Ken with a 'marvellous achievement'; "Ken, under great difficulties, made a superb landing".

Also in 1935, he drove a 4.5 litre Lagonda Rapide in the Monte Carlo Motor Rally, starting from Stavanger in Norway. He was the first competitor to arrive in Monte Carlo, and was thought to have a good chance of winning the first prize, but was eventually placed 34th. His 'second-in-command' was a Miss Marsinah Neison, "one of the very few women to hold a 'B' licence for aircraft".

Owen and Marsinah got up to quite a few things together:

Beatrice Marsinah Neison, b. 3 Dec 1912 in Reigate. She gained her RAeC certificate at National Flying Services, Hanworth on the 11 Jan 1932, and passed the night-flying test in September.

Owen says of her "a young commercial pilot came to me for some advanced flying instructions, and I was very much impressed with the exceptional ability shown by her. Miss Marsinah Neison was the youngest girl pilot to get the coveted 'B' commercial pilot's licence. She qualified for it at the age of nineteen." He reckoned "there was very little I could teach her... I decided that her abilities were far too high to waste, and asked her to join me in any free-lance air charter work in which we could combine".

I'm not suggesting anything untoward, you understand...

In November 1933, she was trying to raise finance for a solo flight to Australia in a Comper Mouse, to beat the record held at the time by CTP Ulm, but never did.

Here she is, ready to go:

She sailed to California in May 1936, to visit her friend 'Russell Pratt', (sounds like an assumed name to me...) and to New York in July 1937. She married Hart Lyman Stebbins of New York 'very quietly' in London in December 1937, (they appear in the 'New York Social Register', whatever that means, for 1941), then Angus MacKinnon in July 1947. She died 29 April 1997 in Hampshire (England).

Anyway, Owen was by now pretty well-known; in May 1935, for example, he, Mrs Mollison (Amy Johnson), Tom Campbell Black, and other aviators took part in a 'Mock Trial', in aid of King Edward's Hospital Fund for London, at the London School of Economics; they were  charged with 'Making the world too small'. The following August, he was chief pilot in the 'Jubilee Air Display', also with Tom Campbell Black.

jubilee air display 1935

"Lieut. Owen Cathcart-Jones and Mr. T. Campbell Black, two of the keenest rival prize-winning pilots in the great England-Australia Air Race last year, are combining in a brilliant partnership to take a leading part in the Jubilee Air Display which will be given at Home Farm, Tehidy, Camborne, Thursday, August 15th. 2.15 till dark. The display which is visiting no fewer than 180 centres throughout Great Britain during the summer months, has been specially planned to provide a striking demonstration of the supremacy of Brtiish modern commercial aircraft and the unrivalled skill of British pilots. Public interest aviation has never been more keen than it is at the present moment."

Don't be fooled into thinking you might have flown in the D.H. Comet, though - Owen flew passengers in a four-seat G.A.L. Monospar, and Tom took them up in an Avro Cadet, a rather pedestrian trainer.

By December that year, however, Owen was banned from flying in Argentina because of his 'stunts'near a military aerodrome; the following April, his aeroplane was impounded by the Austrian authorities and he had to make his own way back home via Cannes.

 On 31 July 1935, Owen advertised, again in The Times: "Mr Owen Cathcart-Jones requires sponsor to finance building world's fastest commercial aeroplane for nine special long-distance record flights in 1936-7 showing profitable return."

Nothing came of this either, and soon things were turning nasty:

26 Jan 1937

"Owen Cathcart Jones, the well-known airman, of Grosvenor Street, London, failed to appear at his first meeting of creditors at the London Bankruptcy Court to-day. The assistant official receiver stated fhat the debtor had failed to surrender under the proceedings. A distress was levied at his flat last December, and goods sold in January. A representative of the petitioning creditor said that the debtor took an aeroplane to South America for demonstration purposes. The debtor sold the machine and failed to account for the proceedings, and a judgment for £660 had been obtained against him. Mr Newman said that the debtor in August last was alleged to have landed in Czechoslovakia with two Spanish Nationals, and subsequently disappeared. Whether he is in Spain or not I don't know." said Newman, "but I believe he was in this country December 22 last." The case was left the hands of the Official Receiver as trustee."

The bankrupcy hearing was first delayed, then postponed indefinitely; Owen didn't turn up for any of the meetings.

He somehow became an instructor at  the London Air Park Flying Club at Hanworth, an elite government-subsidized club for wealthy patrons.  His fellow-instructors included David Llewellyn and Ken Waller.

Five years later, he was, somehow, a Squadron Leader in the Royal Canadian Air Force:

"In March of 1942 he was posted to Western Air Command Headquarters, but nothing is recorded in the WAC HQ diary to confirm this or indicate duties. He was then ‘Posted to ABS’ (Absent), 29 April 1942.  It appears that he had gone AWOL (Absent Without Leave), as the diary of Headquarters, Western Air Command, under date of 6 July 1942, read in part, ‘Squadron Leader O.Cathcart-Jones who has been AWL for some time, returned from California to this Headquarters under escort.’  He is then shown as taken on strength of Western Air Command Headquarters, 6 July 1942. Two months later, he was ‘Retired’ from the RCAF”.

During his time with the RCAF he designed a board game, for which he did all the artwork; he was then involved in The Movies (Technical Director, and a 30-second appearance as 'Chief Flying Instructor' in 'Captain of the Clouds', of which Flight said "  it is a first-class production in almost every respect"  ).

See the excellent article on Vintage Wings of Canada's website.

He then got mixed up in some tawdry goings-on with Errol Flynn and a Miss Peggy Satterlee..

 

"This painting was done by Squadron Leader Owen Cathcart- Jones when he was an advisor on the movie 'Captains of the Clouds'. He also played a part in the movie. The painting shows the Hudsons Bay Co. trading post where the movie was filmed. When my father-in-law was ten years old, Cathcart-Jones gave him this lovely painting."

with thanks to http://relicsandtales.blogspot.com

 

He eventually bought a ranch to raise polo ponies, and became President of the Polo Club in Santa Barbara. 

His daughter Imogen married John Otis Thayer (from Boston, Massachusetts) in September 1947. She was described as 'the daughter of Mrs A Cathcart-Jones of Wavedon, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire'.

Audrey died in 1962; her son Anthony in 2005.

In 1981, he wrote to 'Flight' "I had a bad accident at polo when I was knocked from my horse and fell on my head, but I am now almost completely recovered and back playing polo again."

Owen died February 1986, in California, aged 85.

Postscript

Imogen's son David actually met him: "Owen lived at 305 San Ysidro Rd., in Montecito. His ranch was about 4 acres at the end of a long driveway that passed through avocado orchards owned by the people who lived down on the road. It's been sub-divided and developed.

Some years ago, I walked up the driveway to discover that his house had been replaced by a large, pink, stucco hacienda and there's a second house, next-door, where his riding ring was. The avocado orchards down by San Ysidro Rd., are gone, too. 
 
Owen's sixth wife, and widow sold the place and moved to La Jolla a couple of years after he died. She died three or four years ago.

Imogen was reconnected with her father in the early 50s - he came to visit in 1952 and they wrote and phoned, after that. 
 
In the summer of 1965, my parents and their five kids drove out to Montecito, in a camper, and spent about a week at Owen's, just before he married his sixth ? wife, Pat, in August 1965. 
 
The following summer, 1966, I went out to visit him for two weeks, and was stranded in Montecito, for the whole summer, because of an airline mechanics strike which grounded the major airlines for 50+ days!
 
It was great fun. My grandfather had to put me on the Continental Trailways bus, in September,  to get me back to New York, in time for the first day of school.
 
Owen had a second son, Colin, with his wife, Elizabeth Toomey, who he wooed away from her husband, in Buenos Aires, in 1936. She was married to a Mr. Waterman, who was, according to my grandfather's widow, Pat, the heir to the Waterman ink company. They married and had a son, in England, and came to NY soon after the boy was born. Evidently, in NY, he got involved with Marsinah Niesen, who was there and married to a Mr. Stebbins, and my grandfather walked out on Bette, leaving poor Bette to raise Colin in Queens, NY, with the help of her parents!  She got no support from Owen.
 
We have a January 1939 letter, from Colin's mother to my grandmother, Audrey, with her reaction to the news that Owen and my grandmother had not actually been divorced, though we do have a "Deed of Separation" which, I guess, is the precursor to divorce, in England. 
 
Bette Toomey Cathcart Jones had written to my grandmother for an affidavit of divorce so that she could proceed with her divorce from Owen. We have my grandmother's draft of the letter that she sent to Bette that prompted this response and my grandmotherher mentions Marsinah as one of the principals in her separation from Owen.
 
Colin CJ died last January [2013]. We had Owen's passport with his and Bette Toomey's photos and Colin's name written in. I looked him up on the Internet and telephoned. We planned to meet but never got the chance. I spoke to him, just a year ago, on his birthday. November 13th."

MacRobertson Race in 1934

King's Cup in 1934, 1935

photo: 1927, aged 35

Capt Robert George Cazalet


King's Cup in 1928, 1929, 1930, 1934

Mrs Edith May Chalmers

b 1894 in Flintshire, Wales

Edith May Burlingham as was; married JWP Chalmers in 1915, then Frank Forrest in Dec 1937.

Chairperson of Directors of the Forum Club, who organised endless luncheons and dinners for famous aviators of the time.

d. Dec 1985 in Devon

photo: 1928, aged 40

Mr John William Pender Chalmers

born in Morro Velho, Brazil

King's Cup in 1929, 1930

Capt Paul Richard Tankerville James Michael Isidore Camille Chamberlayne AFC

(blimey)

known as 'Tanks' (rather than Paul Richard Tankerville James Michael Isidore Camille).

b 15 May 1895 in Larnaca, Cyprus, of an Austrian family;  educated at Eton, then a Captain in the 11th Hussars in WWI who transferred to the RFC in 1915. He then went to Canada in 1918, and was Chief Flying Instructor at the Toronto 'School of 'Special Flying' for a year.

Whilst racing at Hendon in July 1919, a couple of weeks after the Aerial Derby, Capt Chamberlayne had a "miraculous escape... [he] is to be congratulated on still being alive. He lost control of the machine and flew straight into one of the iron supports of a hangar. Fortunately the machine remained 'stuck' where it had hit, and he managed to extricate himself almost unhurt, although soaked with petrol."

He had already won the race, btw, and was just showing off.

Later, Chief Pilot of the Grahame-White School of Flying, then rejoined the RAF (India in 1920, Andover in 1927, Sqn-Ldr in Iraq 1932-35, Assistant Air Attache in Paris 1937 then Lisbon in 1938).

Wing Commander from 1938; Air Commodore in 1943.

When war was declared in Europe in 1939, he became desperate to return to Britain to see action and apparently "tried to upset the German Embassy by getting drunk and singing 'Rule Britannia' under their windows."

d. 3 May 1972

Aerial Derby in 1919

photo: 1936

Lt Dewan Misri Chand

b. 11 October 1907

'Infantry Officer in the Indian Army who learned to fly with the Bombay Flying Club and has followed the sport with zest. He won the Viceroy's Cup Race in February, flying a hired Club Gipsy Moth, and came to England to have a shot at higher game.'

Later, a Major General.

d. 13 March 1970.

On 22 October 2009, the Indian Post Office issued a stamp in his honour.

King's Cup in 1936

Roy Williamson Chappell in 1916, as a 2nd Lieut., R.F.C.

b. 31 Dec 1896 in Croydon

RFC in WWI; Mentioned in Despatches in 1917, wounded in January 1918, then the Military Cross in June; "Temp. Capt. ROY WILLIAMSON CHAPPELL, R.F.C.—For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He showed the greatest skill and courage in leading patrols, with the result that during four days' operations the formations which he led destroyed nineteen enemy aeroplanes and drove down several others, the fate of which was not observed, owing to the intensity of the fighting. He has destroyed altogether five enemy machines, and has driven down seven others out of control."

Having ended WWI with 18, er, 'Huns', he took part in the RAF Pageant of 1920 "the Kenley team (consisting of Flight-Lieut. T. E. Salt, A.F.C. (3 Huns), Avro ; Flying Officer F.L.Luxmore (4 Huns), Bristol; and Flight-Lieut. R. W. Chappell, M.C. (18 Huns), Snipe) proved an easy winner."

 

Air League Challenge Cup in 1921

photo: 1931, when a Captain in the RE, at RAE Farnborough, aged 31

Mr R TM Clayton

Roscoe. Not sure about this - he's the only R Clayton I could find

King's Cup in 1932

 

Adelaide Franklin Cleaver

b. Adelaide Pollock in Northern Ireland in c.1885, the daughter of the Minister of Finance.

Adelaide (a.k.a. Mrs Hylton Spenser Cleaver) spent 3 months in 1929 flying to India and back, in her DH60G Gispy Moth G-AAEA. She was piloted by Captain Donald Drew, of Imperial Airways, and arrived back at Croydon on June 10th.

Here they are, lunching in the desert:

They had travelled as far as Egypt with Leonard Slatter, who was flying his newly-delivered Bluebird to Cape Town.

She didn't get her RAeC Certificate until June 1930, so I suspect he did most of the flying on that trip. However in Ocotber 1930 she made probably her greatest achievement  - her flight from New York to Hollywood in her Moth, which she took with her on a steamship.

In July 1933, she was responsible for a "well-organised Flying Display which was held at Aldergrove Aerodrome, Co. Antrim. Her avowed intention was to stimulate air-mindedness in Ulster, and from the number of spectators who went to see the Display there is little doubt that she succeeded. We gather that from every point of view it was a great success."

In 1934, Mary de Bunsen wrote that "Mrs Spencer Cleaver makes the usually fatiguing journey to Northern Ireland three or four times a year in her own aeroplane, and, fitted with extra tanks to save refuelling during the day, it has many times enabled her to breakfast in London, shop in Paris from 11 to 1, and return in plenty of time for dinner at her house in London."

She owned:

a 1929 DH.60G Gipsy Moth, G-AAEA, which she sold to Venetia Montagu;

a 1930 DH.60G Gipsy Moth G-AAVY, which she sold to Lady Howard de Walden;

a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth, G-ABFV, and

a 1933 Percival D.2 Gull Four IID, G-ACIP.

 

d. 14 August 1939 at Cooden, Sussex 'after a long illness', aged 54.

photo: 1930, aged 22

Mr Leslie Harold Talbot Cliff

b. 5 Jun 1908 in The Curragh, Ireland.

In 1930, a Law Student', address given as the Langham Hotel, London.

By 1936, 'A flying instructor at Brooklands, and a skater of some repute'

King's Cup in 1938

photo: 1936, aged 28

F/O Arthur Edmond Clouston

Another famous D.H. Comet pilot, another New Zealander. Civil Test pilot at RAE Farnborough in 1936. Flew Desoutters in other races.

AE Clouston with Britannia Trophy

with the Britannia Trophy

 

Schlesinger Race in 1936

King's Cup in 1936, 1938

 

d. 1984

photo: c.1934, aged c.40

Alan Cobham

Mr (Sir) Alan John Cobham KBE AFC

He of the Flying Circus, flight refuelling, and lots more. Sir Alan from 1928.

see: Alan Cobham's Flying Circus

King's Cup in 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925

Jackie Cochran

b. 11 May 1906 (as Bessie Lee Pittman) near Mobile, Alabama

Died 9th August 1980 in Indio, California, aged 74

Jackie Cochran, not very successful in the [MacRobertson] Race, stood at the beginning of a brilliant career in aviation. In 1953 she became the first woman to break the sound barrier in a F-86 Sabre jet fighter, earning the title 'America's Fastest Lady'. She died in August 1980, almost 70 years old.

Jacqueline Cochran's earliest memories are of life with a foster family on what she called "Sawdust Road," but what was, in fact, a lumber mill town in northern Florida. In her autobiography she remembered having no shoes until she was eight years old, sleeping on a pallet on the floor and wearing dresses made of cast-off flour sacks. As a child she was hired by a beauty shop owner, and by the time she was 13, she was cutting hair professionally. In the 1920s she became one of the first women to master the newly invented permanent wave. But one of the customers, noting Cochran's spark, encouraged her to do something more serious with her life. With very little formal education, Cochran enrolled in nursing school.

Even though Cochran completed three years of training to be a nurse, she never quite adjusted to the profession. In her autobiography, she remembers not ever getting "comfortable with the sight of blood." She constantly had to resist the urge to hand in her notice, reminding herself that a nurse was more valuable than a beautician. But she was never convinced, and an experience delivering a baby to an impoverished mother in Florida helped drive her back to the beauty trade. She remembered three children were sleeping on pallets next to the woman giving birth. "There I was with neither the strength nor the money to do the smallest fraction of what needed to be done to make those lives better... . In a beauty shop the customers always came in looking for a lift. And unless I really screwed up," she concluded, "they left with that lift."

Her next job as a beautician at Antoine's in New York's Saks Fifth Avenue brought Cochran into her future husband's world. At a dinner in 1932, the dashing millionaire financier Floyd Bostwick Odlum advised Cochran that if she were ever to realize her dream of setting up her own cosmetics firm, she'd need wings to cover enough territory to beat her competition. Cochran took the advice to heart, and that summer she learned to fly. "At that moment, when I paid for my first lesson," Cochran remembered later, "a beauty operator ceased to exist and an aviator was born."

It wasn't until the end of the decade, after Cochran had established herself as America's leading female pilot, that she tried to turn her new profession into one in which she could make a vital contribution to her country. In September 1939, shortly after Warsaw fell to the invading German army, Cochran wrote to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arguing that, in the eventuality of American involvement in the war, women pilots could fly military aircraft on support missions, releasing men for combat duty. Implicit in Cochran's letter was an offer to begin the planning for such a squadron of female pilots. Even though she constantly promoted the idea, nothing came of her suggestions for a couple of years.

It was the British who resoundingly demonstrated that women were more than up to flying military aircraft. By July of 1941, almost two years into the war, England was desperately short of pilots, and the flight schools couldn't keep up with demand. The Royal Air Force's solution was to use trained female aviators to ferry planes around the British Isles. The women's contribution was invaluable. They were moving planes around by the thousands with just a few minor accidents. In the summer of 1941, Cochran spent some time in London studying how that operation worked. When she returned to the U.S., President Roosevelt asked her to research ways of using female pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps. The following summer, Cochran returned to Britain, this time with 25 hand-picked American women recruits who would help ferry planes for the British Air Transport Auxiliary.

While Cochran was in Britain, another renowned female pilot, Nancy Harkness Love, suggested the establishment of a small ferrying squadron of trained female pilots. The proposal was ultimately approved. Almost simultaneously, General Hap Arnold asked Cochran to return to the U.S. to establish a program to train women to fly. In August of 1943, the two schemes merged under Cochran's leadership. They became the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs).

Cochran was soon thrilled at the success of her experiment. Her female pilots were no longer just ferrying planes around the states; some were training B-17 turret gunners, others were working as test pilots at repair depots, some were training staff pilots at navigator schools, and yet others were tow-target pilots. In January 1944, the War Department announced that the Army Air Forces women's fatal and non-fatal accident rates were lower than the men's. In March Cochran presented a report of the WASPs achievements to General Hap Arnold. She hoped that it would help convince Congress to bring the WASP formally into the Army Air Forces.

Cochran's hopes were dashed by the end of the year. Not only had Congress voted against admitting the WASP into the military, the program had been deactivated. As the war progressed, fewer men were required for combat missions. Also, male pilots conducted an extremely effective campaign against the WASP, arguing that the women weren't needed. On December 20, 1944, the women pilots were flown home.

The end of the WASP, however, was not the end of Cochran's flying career. In 1946 she competed in the Bendix Race again, coming in second with a time of four hours and 52 minutes. In 1950 she set a new speed record for propeller driven aircraft, and in 1953 she became the first woman to break the sound barrier. In the end it was her health that grounded her. In the early '70s, doctors told a devastated Cochran that she needed a pacemaker and that she could no longer fly. But even that news failed to slow her down for long. According to one friend she bought a big recreational vehicle that she drove "like an airplane all over the country." Another friend remembers her spending much of the end of her life cycling around her large ranch, back and forth to her vegetable garden.

Cochran's spirit finally broke after her husband died in 1976. Her health deteriorated rapidly, and she was often in excruciating pain. Friends say she began talking a lot about death, frequently asking to be buried with a doll that she won as a child and a sword presented to her by the Air Force Academy. The latter she wanted in case she needed to fight her way out of hell. When she finally died in 1980, the sword was returned to the Air Force Academy, but the doll went with her to the grave.


Excerpt from:

JACKIE COCHRAN

An Autobiography by Jacqueline Cochran & Maryann Bucknum Brinley

Gee Bee stands for Granville Brothers, a Springfield, Massachusetts, airplane company which made fast, unstable, dangerous planes in the thirties. The nearly cute nickname is a sham. They were killers. There were few pilots who flew Gee Bees and then lived to talk about it. Jimmy Doolittle was one. I was another.

I tell you all this as a prelude to my story about the London-to-Australia race. I flew a Gee Bee, the QED Gee Bee, but a Gee Bee nonetheless. The QED was Latin for "Quod Erat Demonstrandum" and came from the designers who translated that as "Quite Easily Done." It was not easily done, however. The crazy QED violated basic rules of aerodynamics.

Clyde Pangborn had entered his name in the race, hoping to find himself in a Gee Bee but, because of problems at the factory as well as an offer from Roscoe Turner, who had never flown over oceans before and knew that Clyde had, the QED was still sitting in the hangar, almost ready to go. Clyde had joined Roscoe's team but was still the registered owner of an entry.

He had the official right to name an alternate crew, and I knew it. Sitting in New York, after my conversation with Royal, searching for a way to stay in the race, I remembered Clyde's QED and made all the right calls.

Granville Brothers knew me because I myself had approached them earlier in the game but had changed my mind when I compared it with the chance to be in a Northrop. Jack's planes were so streamlined and beautifully fast for their day.

But any plane was better than no plane. I bought the Gee Bee with a little help from my friend Mabel Willebrandt. Granville Brothers were pleased because they were anxious to make a name for themselves in such a prestigious international contest. They even offered to send mechanics along to complete the plane en route to London on the ship.

In the meantime, I had Wesley Smith and Royal Leonard take some of the sophisticated equipment out of the Northrop Gamma so we could install it in our Gee Bee.

We had four hours to make the official arrangements with the London officials. I needed what was called an airworthiness certificate, numerous permissions to fly over all those countries, not in a Gamma but a Gee Bee, and Mabel turned on the steam. Mable even convinced a Department of Commerce official to go along on the boat to do the necessary testing.

Landing lights, flares, radio equipment - we planned to install as much as we could as we crossed the Atlantic, in spite of storms and seasickness. Not much would get done as it turned out.

All this was done by telephone. I never set eyes on that Gee Bee until I arrived at the airport near Southampton, England, and tried to fly it to the field where the race would commence, twenty-four hours later. It was a disaster and still incomplete. The other disastrous aspect was the tremendous publicity surrounding the contestants. I had never experienced anything like it. I never sought publicity like that in my life because mostly it's a waste of your time. And I didn't like the scene there in London one bit.

The press kept rumoring about the mysterious American woman entry, but there was nothing mysterious about my whereabouts or doings. I had a tricky, incomplete plane to contend with. In the meantime, Clyde Pangborn was giving me trouble and demanding that I pay him for the transfer of his entry. After all the anguish that Gee Bee had caused me - at that point I had no idea my troubles were just beginning - he had some nerve asking for money.

I was furious. And I told him so. If I had been a man, we would have gone out behind the hangar to fight it out....

The starting point the next morning was a nearly-completed Royal Air Force base at Mildenhall, sixty miles north of London. The lord mayor of London was there promptly at 6:30 am to drop the official white flags. Planes took off at 45-second intervals, and the famous team of Mollisons - Amy was a wonderful pilot and flew with her husband - were first. Wesley and I were fourth in line and had been warming up the engine, but as soon as we were airborne, the plane sort of staggered, dipped slightly, and I knew we were in for a real ride.

Neither of us knew that Gee Bee well enough. We recovered speed, however, and we were serious about sticking with it.

The haze was horrible and I was happy Wesley had been such a nag about my instrument training and Morse code lessons. This race, however, was actually the first and last time I relied on Morse code.

After all the hullabaloo in America about this contest, only three American-crewed entries remained: Roscoe Turner, the United States speed king at the time; Jack Wright, a stunt pilot from Utica, New York; and me. When you compared the elaborate preparations I had made for the flight - sending specialists ahead on the route with automatic refueling devices, flares, spare parts, personal items, extra instruments - as well as the whole debacle with my Northrop Gamma - to Jack Wright's simplistic attitude, I really wondered.

All Jack wanted to do en route was to "fly this plane while it's still mine". It was a tiny Lambert Monocoupe with a single 90 horsepower that hummed along. Who had more sense: him or me?

I had even sent clothes along to Melbourne so I'd have something to wear to the festivities.

But I wasn't alone with my big thinking. Roscoe Turner had gone into hock to buy a Boeing transport plane he called the "Nip and Tuck". Then because of rough weather he hadn't been able to get it off the ship at Plymouth. They had to take it over to France, to Le Havre, where the French tried to make him pay import duty of $20,000. He got around that but had to unload the plane, assemble it, and fly it back to England in time.

That was funny about all of our best-laid plans was that the Europeans had been sullen and some of them openly angry about what they believed to be a Yankee conspiracy to walk away with all the prize money.

Little did they realize. My Gee Bee was the fastest plane in the race, I believe, but right from the start I realized that it wouldn't be speed that would win.

The prize would go to the plane and crew who could stick it out for 12,000 miles.... ...Who collected MacRobertson's cash in Melbourne, Australia? First place went to C.W.A. Scott and T. Campbell Black, Englishmen in a de Havilland Comet. Second place to K.D. Parmentier and J.J.Moll, from Holland, and flying a Douglas Transport. Third place was taken by good old Roscoe Turner and Clyde Pangborn in their Boeing 247. Twenty years later I got to Australia on a United States Air Force inspection trip and I even stopped on some of those intervening points I had so wanted to see in 1934.

  • Flying the Granville Brothers QED, Jacqueline Cochran entered her first major air race, the 1934 MacRobertson Race to Australia. However, she and her co-pilot Wesley Smith were forced down by engine trouble in Rumania.

 

MacRobertson Race in 1934

One of the ATA Women

Ralph Alexander Cochrane

b. 1893

later Air Chief Marshall The Hon R Cochrane. In 1930, he was at the RAF Staff College.

Aerial Tour in 1930

photo: 1930, aged 33

Capt Stanley Cockerell AFC, Croix de Guerre (Belgium)

b. 9 Feb 1895, the 'willowy' Vickers chief test pilot - he and his assistant Frank Broome (see above) were known as the 'Heavenly Twins'.

RFC in WWI (7 victories).

Married Miss Lorna Lockyer in 1921.

Killed in WWII: on the 29th November 1940, when the Running Horse(s?) Pub in Erith was bombed. His 6-year-old daughter Kathleen also died and they were buried at the church of Saint Mary, Sunbury on Thames.

Lorna also died during the Blitz. Some children survived and were split up and most were adopted, losing touch with each other.

King's Cup in 1922, 1923

photo: 1916, aged 19

Flt-Lt Nicholas Comper

lecturer at the Cranwell Engineering Laboratory, ex Cambridge University. Designer of the Comper Swift; died in 1939 after a practical joke went wrong

King's Cup in 1926, 1932, 1934

photo: 1932, aged 23

Mr Arthur Harry Cook

b. 29 May 1909 in Bletchley, Bucks; educated at Bletchley Grammar.

In 1932, worked for Beacon Brushes Ltd, Bletchley; apparently, brush-making is Bletchley's oldest large-scale industry and Beacon Brushes was formed in 1926 by 'Jack Cook and his sons'. See http://www.discovermiltonkeynes.co.uk

Arthur's father was called Arthur John Dennis Cook, but anyway by 1943 our Arthur was 'Works Manager and Joint Managing Director' of the firm, based at Church Farm, Wavendon, Bucks. Which is near Bletchley (that's enough mentions of Bletchley).

Arthur H Cook ATA ATA

Arthur joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), as the 976th male pilot to do so, in 1943. Although he had over 400 hours flying experience before the war, presumably due to a long lay-off from flying he joined as a Pilot Cadet. However, he progressed well ["a quiet and hard-working pilot ... he has worked keenly and well and his discipline has been excellent]", and was appointed 3rd Officer in September 1943, then 2nd Officer in Jan 1944. 

Arthur H Cook ATA2 ATA

He stayed right through to the wind-down of the ATA in June 1945; by then he had flown 29 single- and twin-engine types.

d. 1980

King's Cup in 1934, 1935

in 1916, when a Flt Sub-Lt in the RNAS

photo: 1920

Flt-Lt Frederick Sidney Cotton OBE

b. 17 June 1894 in Bowen, Queensland, Australia

RNAS in WWI; he invented the 'Sidcot' flying suit, which was standard issue in the RAF until the 1950s.

There was a curious period in early 1920 when four sets of people tried to fly from Cairo to Cape Town; not for any particular prize or competition, but just because they fancied being the first to do it. Frederick Cotton and his engineer Capt W A Townsend flew a DH.14a and were the least successful of the lot, making a forced landing in southern Italy and writing off the machine before they even got to Cairo.

In the winter of 1920-21 he and Alan Butler were in Newfoundland, "doing some extremely useful work surveying, spotting for seals, etc", and the following September they both competed in the Croydon Aviation Meeting.

In late 1922 he had "exciting times" in flying from Newfoundland to the newly-discovered gold fields at Labrador. He then settled into being a pilot in Newfoundland, although he came back to England occasionally, for example for the 'Portsmouth Trophy Race' round the Isle of Wight in 1934, in which he came second.

Married 3 times, clever, sometimes quite rich (although he died penniless) and rather, er, "unorthodox" (bleedin' awkward, by the sounds of it), he spent WWII as an unofficial advisor to the Admiralty, especially involved with photographic reconnaisance and airborne searchlights.

d. 13 Feb 1969 in London

see http://www.awm.gov.au/findingaids/private/cotton.xml

Aerial Derby in 1920

 

photo: 1972, holding the King's Cup at the RAF Museum, Hendon, aged 78

http://www.earlyaviators.com

Capt Frank Thomas Courtney

An Irishman and early aviator; he test-flew the prototype D.H.18 - de Havilland's first purpose-designed airliner - in March 1920 and often flew it in service.

Also flew in the 1929 Cleveland National Air Races. Also flew the Cierva autogyro in 1925, (but not in the King's Cup)

King's Cup in 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926

photo: 1930, aged 25

0751-0055a Delia Crossley

Miss Fidelia Josephine Crossley

0370-0014a - Delia Crossley

0312-0097a - Fidelia in KC

'Delia', born 1st June, 1905, the daughter of Sir Kenneth Irwin, 2nd Baronet Crossley, Chairman of the Crossley Car and Engineering companies in Manchester.

In 1919, the Crossley family moved to Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shropshire and her father held the offices of High Sheriff and Justice of the Peace for Cheshire. These days, although it continues in private ownership, Combermere Abbey ‘welcomes visitors in groups or on specific days by appointment’. It has been described as ‘one of the most romantic places in Europe’ .

Gained her pilot’s licence in 1930. She only competed in the King’s Cup once - in 1931, when she was the only woman competitor to finish, a gallant 20th out of the 21 finishers (another 20 dropped out on the way, don't forget).

August 1931 found her in Dublin; "Among the visitors was one who deserved especial mention, and that was the intrepid Miss Crossley, who put up such a fine show in the recent King's Cup race. She flew the long way round, and is now continuing to tour the country."

In 1932, she visited India, where "we hear she has been doing a considerable amount of flying." In fact, she competed in the Viceroy Cup (India's version of the King's Cup) with 5 other English pilots and 6 from India.

She also competed in several other races and gatherings, e.g.

  • Ladies event at Reading (May, 1931) - the other competitors were Amy Johnson, Pauline Gower, Dorothy Spicer, Gabrielle Burr (Patterson), Susan Slade, and Winifred Spooner - a historic gathering indeed.
  • London-Newcastle, August 1932, in Comper Swift G-ABUA; finished 11th of 18
  • Yorkshire Tophy Race, September 1932 (not placed);
  • Heston-Cardiff, October 1932, also in Comper Swift G-ABUA; finished 3rd of 9
  • the second 'Bienvenue Aerienne' in France (July 1934)

 

0370-0005a - C Grey Delia Connie

0370-0029a - Delia and friend

Delia with C C Grey (editor of 'The Aeroplane'), Mrs Grey, Connie Leathart and others.

 She also entered her Comper Swift in the 1932 King's Cup Race, but withdrew before the start, and seems to have retired from air racing in 1935.

 

On the outbreak of WWII, Delia became an ambulance driver for the London County Council, but then applied for a job as a ferry pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). She started as a Second Officer on the 16th December 1940, but suffered a bout of 'corozyia' (presumably coryza, i.e. catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose) which kept her out for 6 weeks in October/November 1941, so that she didn't complete her training and start at a Ferry Pool until December 1941.

A few weeks later, on the 11th Januuary 1942, she had an accident in a Hurricane; when landing in bad weather, she overshot and went through a hedge. She was considered to be at fault, having 'persisted too far in bad weather and had to land in conditions which were too difficult for her', and her contract was terminated a couple of weeks later.

 

She married Geza O Schubert in September 1949.

 

0022-0001a - G-AAKC

Fidelia’s de Havilland D.H. 60G Gipsy Moth G-AAKC (seen here behind G-AACY) was first registered in July 1929, and she bought it from Malcolm Campbell Ltd, the Moth distributors for the UK. She eventually passed it to her father, and it was then sold in South Africa in 1937.

Her Comper Swift was first registered in February 1932 to  J D M Gray, and she sold it to Arthur H Cook. It ended up in Indonesia.


... and there's a splendid page about 'Combermere's Pioneering Aviatrix Delia Crossley' here, written by the archivist at Combermere Abbey.


King's Cup in 1931

One of the ATA Women

Winifred Mary Crossley in 1934, aged 28

b. 9 Jan 1906 in St Neots

ATA website says:"Winifred Crossley had spent more than five years towing banners for aerial advertising and as a stunt pilot in an air circus. She served for the full 5 years of the ATA in WWII.

Separated from her first husband; in 1943 she married airline captain Peter Fair, head of BOAC-owned Bahamas Airways in Nassau."

Died in 1984 in Aylesbury, Bucks.

One of the ATA Women

1933

Margaret Macdonald Cunnison

b. 29 May 1914 in Bourneville, Birmingham, but educated at Laurel Bank School, Glasgow.

Father: James Cunnison, of 19 Montrose Gardens, Milngavie, Dumbartonshire.

5 foot 2, eyes of, er, hazel.

From May 1937, Chief Flying Instructor with the Strathtay Aero Club, Perth (the one in Scotland). She was only the second woman in Scotland to gain a commercial pilot’s licence, and the first to become a flying instructor. She then became one of the 'First 8' women ATA pilots, joining on the 1st January 1940 as a Second Officer.

She married Major Geoffrey B Ebbage, an ophthalmic surgeon with the RAMC, in 1941.

After couple of years at Hatfield, she was posted to Luton as an instructor; her report at the time said she "is a steady and reliable pilot. She works extremely hard and has proved invaluable as an instructor on light types".

She was promoted to Flight Captain in Feb 1942, but suffered a bout of appendicitis from July to October, and then went off sick again on the 19th December 1942 and never returned to the ATA; her contract was terminated in March 1943.

She did, indeed, only work on 'light types'; her log book shows 'Moth, Magister, Courier, Master, Oxford, Hart, Proctor, Rapide, Anson and Piper Cub'.

d: 4 January, 2004, in Haddington, aged 89

One of the ATA Women

Eleanor Lettice Curtis

b 1 Feb 1915 in Denbury

Lettice Curtis joined the ATA later in 1940 because she had to give notice to her job with C L Surveys Ltd.

In 1948 she set a new womens' speed record of 313 mph (flying a Spitfire XI), beating Jacqueline Cochran's 1940 record.

Lettice Curtis in Spit 0456 0003

One of the ATA Women

 

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