Air League Challenge Cup - 1921

  • -Air League Challenge Cup 1921

     The Air League Challenge Cup 1921


    17 September, 1921

    3 laps totalling 72 miles

    The final event of the first Aviation Race Meeting, held by the Royal Aero Club at Croydon Aerodrome.

    Weather: "in spite of the fact that at times a 40 miles an hour easterly wind was blowing and a miserable drizzle fell on and off throughout the afternoon, some quite decent racing was put up"

    Story of the Race:

    At the end of each lap, a baton had to be taken from the aircraft and delivered to the next.

    Team Pilots     Aeroplanes Result
    Red (24 Sqn, RAF Kenley)

    mini - j m robb

    Flt-Lt J M Robb

    mini - r w chappellFlt-Lt R W Chappell

       F/O P Murgatroyd


    Avro 504K/



    mini - e l foot

    Maj E L Foot 

    mini - g h bowman

    Sqn-Ldr G H Bowman

    mini - c h johnston

    Maj C H Johnston




    The Avro refused to start for lap 2

    mini - w h longton

    Flt-Lt W H Longton  

    mini - a f muir

    Capt A F Muir

    mini - f j ortweiler

    Frederick J Ortweiler




  • -The Aviators

    The Aviators

  • Bowman, Geoffrey Hilton

     Sqn-Ldr Geoffrey Hilton Bowman

     mini - g h bowman   in 1916

     b. 2 May 1891 in Stretford, Lancs.

    b. 2 May 1891, Stretford, Lancs

    RFC/RAF 1916-37 & 1939-41 


    d. 25 Mar 1970



    Research: thanks to Steve Brew

  • Chappell, Roy Williamson

     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."


  • Foot, Ernest Leslie

     Lt Ernest Leslie Foot MC


    photo: 1915, aged 20


    b. 19 May 1895 in Pulborough, Sussex

    WWI ace (5 victories), awarded the Military Cross for 'conspicuous skill and gallantry'.

    G-EAVP Bristol M1

    d. 23 June 1923 when the Bristol M.1D G-EAVP (which flew in both the Aerial Derby and the King's Cup in 1922) lost a wing and crashed near Chertsey.


  • Johnston, Cyril Hubert Ralli

      Cyril Hubert Ralli Johnston

     mini - c h johnston 1915



    I'm guessing this must be him, although he was reported as 'Major C H Johnstone'

    A Motor Engineer, b. 9 June 1892 in London.


  • Longton, Walter Hunt

      Flt-Lt (later Sqn-Ldr) Walter Hunt Longton

      1916, aged 24


     'Scruffie' Longton, from Lancashire. 11 victories in WWI flying SE5s; DFC and bar.

    Well known pre-war motor-cycling, and post-war aeroplane racer; whilst practising for the Bournemouth Air Meeting in April 1927, his aeroplane was hit by "one or two charges of shot from a sporting gun", possibly in protest at flying races on a Good Friday. A reward of £25 was offered for the detection of the culprit.

    He was killed soon after - June 1927 - in a mid-air collision at the Bournemouth Whitsun Meeting, flying the prototype Bluebird.

    "Every aircraft constructor knew that 'Longton's opinion' was worth having on anything new." C G Grey


  • Muir, A F

      Capt A F Muir





  • Murgatroyd, P

      F/O P Murgatroyd




    Posted to the School of Army Co-operation, Old Sarum. in 1923, then H.Q. Iraq in December 1924


  • Ortweiler, Frederick John

     Mr Frederick John Ortweiler MC

      1917, aged 19, when a 2nd Lieut on the General List


    'Freddy', b. 25 Feb 1898 in London

    His father Simon came to England from Germany in the 1880s and, "conceiving an affection for British institutions", became a Britsh citizen in 1897. He then founded a company making ladies' handbags. The firm was subject to anti-German propaganda by their English trade rivals in 1915, but Simon sued them, successfully, and was awarded £250 damages.

    Freddy and his brother Bobby then went to Officer Training Corps near London, and Freddy joined 29 Sqn RAF. Flying behind the German lines on 16 October 1917, he was attacked by 5 planes, shot down and taken prisoner. His account of his time as a prisoner-of-war is in the National Archives, and his diaries, some letters and photos are in the RAF Museum.

    Of the Ingelmunster collecting station, he says "we were locked in our rooms most of the time, and we received the same food as the German soldiers, but it was poor to us"..."I have reasons to believe that there were microphones in use. The officers were taken out one by one to be interrogated... we naturally talked of what we didn't tell, and could be overheard."

    On the train to Germany, "I can speak German, and insisted to the German officer commanding at the station that I was an officer and should at least go 2nd class"..."we had a little coffee, but no food. No heating in the train - very cold".

    At Burg, "we got no parcels, and the consequence was that we got very weak and ill, as we could not do on the German food"...."we were always shouted at, instead of being spoken to in a civil way".

    Transferred to Halle Camp with all the other British prisoners, he escaped in January 1918 but was caught on the Dutch border. "I had no trial, and was kept in solitary confinement for a month".

    Later the camp commandant "shouted at me for about five minutes, and told me I was a German, and asked me whether I had been born in Germany. I said 'No, thank God', and he gave me three days' cells without reading, writing or smoking, and in his temper tore the bedclothes off the bed. A very violent man."

    "Our great weapon was to laugh. The Germans cannot stand ridicule."

    The original documents can be seen here and here

    He escaped from Stralsund Camp, Germany, on 12th October 1918 and arrived back in England on 31 October (so, 12 days before the Armistice).

    He was killed 14 Feb 1922 in a flying accident at Cuatro Ventos Air Base in Madrid, in a Bristol aeroplane which had been acquired by Spain. He was buried at the Willesden (Jewish) Cemetery in London.

    Bobby died 18 Jun 1927 aged 27; Simon on 10 July 1938.

    Their mother, their surviving brother Ernest and sister Martine put 'In Memoriam' notices for both Freddy and Bobby in the newspapers, right up until 1946. They were obviously both sadly missed.


  • Robb, James Milne

      Sqn-Ldr (later Wing-Cmdr) James Milne Robb GCB KBE DSO DFC AFC


    photo: 1916, when a Captain in the 4th Northumberland Fusiliers, aged 21


    photo: 1944, aged 49


    from Northumberland. RAF during WWI, then Iraq and Kurdistan. Chief Flying Instructor at RAF Wittering 1927-30.

    Later Air Chief Marshall Sir James; WWI ace (7 victories); helped form the Empire Air Training Scheme in 1939; advisor to Mountbatten, Eisenhower in WWII.

    d. 1968


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