• Dismore, Frederick

      Frederick Dismore

     f dismore


    frederick dismore  an Air Mechanic in 1913

    f dismore 1934 1934


     One of the original 16 pilots of Imperial Airways in 1924

    b. East Ham 26 May 1893

    pilot for Handley Page Transport Ltd 1921-24

    May 1926: "161 MILES PER HOUR. Captain F. Dismore. an Imperial Airways pilot, flew a specially chartered Vickers Napier express from Croydon Aerodrome to Brighton yesterday in the record time of 13 minutes, an average speed of 161 miles an hour."

    April 1933: "MASONIC FLYING CLUB HOLD FIRST MEETING AT BROOKLANDS.  Members of the new Masonic Flying Club held their first official meeting at Brooklands to-day. The club is composed of Masons from all over the country. The idea occurred to a group of pilots at Croydon who are Freemasons. Capt. Dismore, a well-known Imperial Airways pilot, flew several of the members over to Brooklands from Croydon in an Imperial Airways machine, making two trips for the purpose, and others travelled by road. There were about a hundred present in all.

    A miniature air pageant was staged for their benefit, and the Masons were greatly interested in a demonstration of new fire-resisting paint, and in the Lowe-Wylde powered glider. The club proposes to acquire headquarters in the neighbourhood of Brooklands, where arrangements w ill be made for them to receive flying instruction."


  • Don, David Sigismund

     Sqn-Ldr David Sigismund Don


    photo: 1914, when a midshipman in the Royal Navy, aged 18


    photo: 1930, aged 34

  • Douglas-Hamilton, Malcolm Avondale

     Lord Malcolm Avondale Douglas-Hamilton OBE DFC

     Malcolm Douglas Hamilton  Flight, 1931


     b. 1909, the third of four brothers involved in aviation before, during and after WWII.


    In 1932, Flight reported that "The amphibian service between the Clyde and Belfast was opened on August 13 when the new flying-boat Cloud of Iona made the first trip. The passengers included Lord and Lady Malcolm Douglas Hamilton."

    He was granted a commission as a Flying Officer in June 1932, in 603 (City of Edinburgh) (Bomber) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force.

    Later a Wing Commander / Acting Group Captain during WWII who, with his second wife Natalie Winslow, founded the American Scottish Foundation after the war.

    Died 1964 in a flying accident in Cameroon.


    Malcolm's younger brother David was killed in WWII when he crashed just short of RAF Benson to which he was returning from a mission in a Mosquito; his elder brother George married ATA pilot Audrey Sale-Barker (q.v.), and finally his eldest brother Douglas flew over Everest and later became an Air Commodore in the RAF - it was he who handed Rudolph Hess over to the authorities.


    Here is Douglas, getting ready to go on Lady Houston's Everest expedition in 1933:

    houston mt everest expedition 1933 marquess of clydesdale 0324 0212 20141208 1606331993

  • Douglas, Rod

     Capt Rod Douglas

     rod douglas 2  c. 1955


    A Director of de Havilland South Africa, and one of the founders of the Johannesburg Light Aeroplane Club.

    Rod Douglas and Geoffrey de Havilland

    In 1932, with Geoffrey de Havilland

    Flight, May 2, 1930: "S. African King's Cup Entrant CAPT. DOUGLAS, of the Johannesburg Light Aeroplane Club, who will represent the Aero Club of South Africa in the King's Cup Race, will fly to England in a Junkers five-seater monoplane."

    HISTORY OF BARAGWANATH AIRFIELD AND JLPC: "In 1926 two WWI pilots, Captains Rod Douglas and Stan Halse, met at a little hotel run by Douglas, which later became famous as a Johannesburg landmark, known as Uncle Charlies, named after big game hunter and entrepreneur, Charles de Jongh, who also ran a filling station at the well-known intersection.
    Over drinks, Douglas and Halse discussed the formation of a flying club and approached Rand Mines for permission to use the grounds previously used for the first aerodrome."

    See http://www.jlpc.co.za/History_of_JLPC.html

  • Dowding, Hugh Caswall Tremenheere

      Air Commodore (Later Air Chief Marshal) Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding, GCB, GCVO, CMG

      RAeC Certificate (No 711), 1913

     Hugh_Dowding.jpg 1940

    b. 24 April 1882, Moffat, Dumfriesshire

    d. 15 February 1970



  • Downes-Shaw, Archibald Havergal

     Archibald Havergal Downes-Shaw



     from Bristol

    b. 29 Dec 1884

    Chairman of the Bristol and Wessex  Aeroplane Club, Ltd; later Sir Archibald.

    Served in France, Salonika and North Russsia in WWI. Member of Bristol City Council from 1931; alderman in 1936.

    d. 4 Sept 1961

    [His father (also called Archibald), was an Anglican clergyman and missionary in East Africa between 1881 and 1888; in 1889 he transferred to Mauritius where he was appointed as "chaplain of Vacoas and Black River". In 1882 he had married Amy Havergal [hence Archibald Jnr's interesting second name], but Amy died in Mauritius in 1890 and Archibald Snr was invalided back to England, recovering enough to marry Alice Montagu in 1893 and have 3 more children.]

  • Draper, Christopher

     Maj Christopher Draper DSC, Croix de Guerre


    photo: 1913, aged 21



    b. 15 Apr 1892 in Bebington, Cheshire

    WWI pilot known as the 'Mad Major'; he once challenged a colleague to an aerial duel... with real bullets...

    In 1919, "Major Draper's flying on the B.A.T. Bantam is easily one of the greatest attractions of the show... it can truly be described as thrilling"; the following April, he was reported to be progressing well after his recent serious accident, his fractured ankle being in "splendid position".

    Ten years later in September 1931, however, he was caught up in a strange little incident. Having not flown for many years, jobless and absolutely broke, he borrowed £5, hired an aeroplane and flew it twice under Tower Bridge and once under Westminster Bridge. He did this, he said, "to prove that he was still the highly qualified specialist that he used to be". The alderman in charge of the case said he had been intending to fine him £100, but bound him over rather than send him to jail for non-payment; "I am surprised that a man with such qualifications should find it so difficult to get a job".

    Actually, the ruse worked and led to him becoming an actor and stunt pilot in several films in the 30s.

    Then things got even more curious when his constant criticism of Britain's treatment of its war veterans came to the attention of the Nazi Party, and he was asked to spy for the Germans. He agreed, but also mentioned it to MI6, and spent four years as a double agent until the Germans obviously worked out what was going on and stopped answering his calls.

    The pattern repeated itself after WWII - in May 1953, aged 61, having drifted into and out of a number of jobs, he hired an Auster and this time flew under 15 of London's 18 bridges, "for the publicity".

    He escaped with a fine this time as well.

    The Mad Major published his autobiography in 1962, and died in 1979 in London aged 86.


  • Drew,  Donald Herbert

      Donald Herbert Drew AFC

     donald drew in 1917

    in 1917


    adelaide and drew 1929

    with Adelaide Cleaver in 1929


    b. London 23 Sep 1899

    'Aeroplane and Seaplane pilot'

    2 July 1930: "AIR PILOT DIVORCED. JUDGE'S COMMENTS ON CO-RESPONDENT. A decree nisi, with costs and custody of the child, was granted in the Divorce Court yesterday to Mrs Arabella Beatrice Angela Drew, who gave her address at the Stafford Hotel, St James's Place, London. She had petitioned for the dissolution of her marriage to Captain Donald Herbert Drew, of the Aerodrome Hotel, Croydon, on the ground of his alleged adultery with Mrs Kathleen Brookie Digby, who offered to write her address, but said she had no permanent home.

    Captain Drew, an Imperial Airways pilot, was in charge of the aeroplane from which Captain Loewenstein, the Belgian financier, disappeared over the Channel.

    The suit was defended, and Captain Drew and Mrs Digby gave evidence denying the allegation.

    Mr Justice Hill, giving judgment, said that there was evidence that Mrs Digby entertained flying officers at the house and that they went there for tea or cocktails. It was obvious from the evidence that Mrs Digby was a woman who was quite capable of committing adultery with Captain Drew or, indeed, he thought, with anybody else."

    He married again, a year later:


    Miss Betty Eley, the musical comedy actress, who played the part of Lady Mary in " The Vagabond King " at the Winter Garden Theatre, London, has become engaged to Captain Donald Drew, the noted air pilot. Miss Norah Blaney, who was also one of the principals in " The Vagabond King " arranged a tea party in an airplane about four years ago, and Captain Drew piloted the machine over London while the party was in progress. Miss Eley was one of the guests, and she and Captain Drew became friends. About 15 months ago Miss Eley went out to Australia, where she appeared in "Hold Everything," and "Love Lies." She returned to England about six months ago. Miss Eley said to-day: "We shall not be married for some time, as my fiancé will be away for three months." 

    d. 1936: "Capt. Donald Drew, for some years an Imperial Airways pilot, died in London today after a long illness at the age of 36.

    Capt. Drew was piloting Capt. Lowenstein's private plane when the Belgian millionaire fell from it into the Channel on July 4. 1928. When Capt. Lowenstein offered him a position as a pilot he would not take it until Imperial Airways agreed to lend him to the 'Lowenstein Navy', as the financier's air fleet was called."

    Wierdly,  Lowenstein's biographer, a Mr Norris, in 1987 "concluded that Lowenstein had been thrown from the aircraft by Donald Drew, the pilot, at the behest of Madeleine Lowenstein, the motive being to gain control of Lowenstein's fortune. He suggested that the aircraft's rear door was completely removed while in the air and a replacement fitted on the beach at St. Pol."


  • du Boulay, G GH

     Flt-Lt G GH du Boulay




  • Dudley, W A

     Mr W A Dudley


  • Edwards, Edward Cecil Theodore

     F/O (later Flt-Lt, Sqn Ldr) Edward Cecil Theodore Edwards


      1931, aged 26


    Cecil, brother of Hugh. From Kensington, London. Sometimes known as "Sphinx".

    M.A.(Oxon); rowing blue in 1925 and 1926 (when he was the "best man in the crew, as always"); the first member of the Oxford Air Squadron to qualify as a pilot.

    Flew, with Winifred Spooner, a Desoutter in an attempt to reach Cape Town in 1930, but they had to ditch in the sea off Italy, and swim about a mile to shore.

    Winner of the King's Cup in 1931; here is his "Competitor's Armband" from the race:

    cecil edwards kings cup armband 1931 

    Apparently, after the race, "a triumphant Cecil 'Sphinx' Edwards was invited to Sir Robert MacAlpine's house to celebrate the win (Sir Robert had lent Sphinx his Bluebird aeroplane). On leaving the party, Sir Robert grabbed the trophy, said "Well done Edwards" and that is the last that Sphinx or the family would ever see of the trophy. It is now awarded at Henley as The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup after mysteriously being donated to Henley by an antique shop owner."

    with many thanks to Gavin Jamieson, who found the armband among his family's archives


    Killed in WWII: 31st August 1940, when a Wing Commander (pilot) 53 Sqn RAF; buried in Rotterdam, Holland.


  • Edwards, Hugh Robert Arthur

     P/O (later F/O, Flt-Lt) Hugh Robert Arthur Edwards


      1929, aged 23


    'Jumbo', the famous Oxford rowing coach, younger brother of Cecil


    His grand-daughter's husband Gavin has written Jumbo's story, in four parts, starting here:



  • Egglesfield, L A

      Capt L A Egglesfield



     January 1939: "Captain L. A. Egglesfield, Imperial Airways 'million miles' pilot, has been appointed Deputy Director of Civil Aviation in India, and will take up his appointment next month."


  • Elliot-Wilson, Frank Charles

      Capt Frank Charles Elliot-Wilson




     b. King William's Town, S Africa 19 Dec 1897

    pilot on the South African section of the London-Cape Town route


  • Elliott-Lynn, Sophie

      Sophie Elliott-Lynn / Lady Mary Heath

    Royal Aero Club Certificate No. 7975 (4 Nov 1925)

      in 1925


     Lady Heath at Roehampton


    b. Sophie Catherine Theresa Mary Pierce-Evans on 10th November 1896 in Knockaderry, Co Limerick, Ireland; her crazed father beat her mother to death (with a stick) and was jailed for life, so she was brought up by her aunts.

    A well-known, courageous, determined and forceful sportswoman, an athletic 6-foot tall Irishwoman 'never averse to publicity' (which earned her the nickname 'Lady Hell-of-a-Din') who was elected World Champion Lady Aviator by the USA.

    At Stag Lane in 1926, Mrs Elliott-Lynn formed a small group owning a pale blue Moth, but was also the "somewhat erratic" pilot of an S.E.5...

    ...which she crashed a year later at Brooklands.

    In the same year, when Lady Bailey and Mrs Geoffrey de Havilland hit the headlines with a world record climb to 17,283 ft, Avro countered with Mrs Elliott-Lynn climbing to 19,200 and making a 1,300-mile trip in a single day, during which she made 79 landings.

    Then, her first husband Major Elliott-Lynn having died off, Sophie married Sir James Heath, Baronet, and thereby became Lady Heath.

    "Lady Heath stepped from her tiny aeroplane at Le Bourget after her long flight from the Cape in May 1928, as fresh as a daisy. 'It is so safe that a woman can fly across Africa wearing a Parisian frock and keeping her nose powdered all day.' This was the first solo flight from any overseas Dominion to Britain, and she was the first woman to pilot an aeroplane from Cape Town to London.

    Unfortunately, Sophie was not very good with Sir James' money; she was rather too easily persuaded to "buy a lot of things" and send him the bill. Having given her £20,000 as a marriage settlement and bought her an aeroplane, he was eventually obliged to take out a note in the newspapers forbidding her to "pledge his credit". The marriage was dissolved in 1932.

    Having fled to America, Sophie finally became plain Mrs Williams; he was an airman from Kentucky.

    d. 9 May 1939, aged 42, in London when she fell down the stairs of a tramcar. She left £204.

    Sophie owned, at various times:

    the 1925 prototype DH.60 Moth (G-EBKT), also
    a DH.60 Moth G-EBMV,
    an RAF SE5A (D7016, G-EBPA),
    a 1927 Avro 594 Avian I  G-EBQLA,
    a 1927 Avro 594 Avian IIR3 G-EBRS,
    a 1927 Avro 594 Avian IIIR3 G-EBUG 'for the use of Miss Earhart',
    a 1928 DH.60X Moth G-EBZC, and
    a 1929 DH.60G Gipsy Moth G-AASY.


  • Elsmie, George Reginald Alexander

    P/O (Later Wing Cmdr) George Reginald Alexander 'Reggie' Elsmie DFC

       Find A Grave Memorial



    Fellow 1927 Cranwell cadet Terry Huddleston said that Reggie was "possibly yhe most outstanding all-round cadet ever to enter the Services. He would almost certainly have become Chief of the Air Staff if he had not been lost in 1941"

    d. 18 April 1941

    "Wing Commander G R A Elsmie, Sergeant C Jennings, Sergeant M B Appleby: missing believed killed; aircraft failed to return from an operational flight off the coast of Norway, Blenheim V5954, 114 Squadron"

    Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial


  • Esmonde, Eugene Kingsmill

      Lt-Cmdr Eugene Kingsmill Esmonde VC, DSO

     Eugene Esmonde 1930; an RAF Officer at Tangmere



    b. 1 Mar 1909 in Thurgoland, Yorkshire.

    Killed in WWII; after leaving Imperial Airways in 1939, he won a DSO and then a posthumous VC in 1942 for leading the first attack on the German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the cruiser Prince Eugen. All of the six Swordfish torpedo bombers were shot down, and only five crew members rescued.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Esmonde


  • Fairbairn, George Patrick

     Mr George Patrick Fairbairn



       b. 1 Sep 1908, Skipton, Victoria, Australia

    He made an attempt in 1931 to set a record for the flight to Australia: 

    "AIRMAN’S AMBITION. To Break Flight to Australia Record.

    The Australian airman Mr. G. P. Fairbairn, who arrived at Lyons aerodrome yesterday evening in his light aeroplane, has had to postpone his departure this morning owing to unfavourable weather. As soon conditions improve, he will take off for Italy.

    Mr Fairbairn made a short stop at Le Bourget yesterday before going on to Lyons. Mr. G. P. Fairbairn. who is a Cambridge graduate and the nephew of Mr. “Steve” Fairbairn, the famous rowing coach, learned to fly at the University. Last autumn, with a Cambridge friend named Shenstone, he left on a flight to Kenya, which had to be abandoned owing to mishaps in Italy and Egypt.

    Mr. Fairbairn’s route on this occasion will be via Marseilles, Catania, Tunis, Benghazi, Cairo, Bagdad, Task, Karachi, Calcutta, Rangoon, Victoria Point, Singapore, and Batavia to Port Darwin." - Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Friday 20 February


    However, it eventually took him nearly two months to get there:

    "AUSTRALIAN FLIGHT Mr. Fairbairn Reaches Port Darwin PORT DARWIN.

    . Mr. G. P. Fairbairn. the Australian airman who set out from Hanworth aerodrome, England. February 19 to beat Wing Commander Kingsford-Smith’s record under ten days for a light aeroplane flight between England and Australia, arrived here at. 3.27 this afternoon. The record is held by Mr. C. W, A. Scott, who overtook Mr. Fairbairn and completed the flight in 9 days, 4 hours. 11 minutes." - Portsmouth Evening News - Saturday 18 April 1931

    'Flight' obviously lost interest:

    "G. P. Fairbairn on a Spartan "Arrow" ("Gipsy II”). Left Hanworth February 19. Reached Nice February 20. Flight abandoned." Flight, October 30 1934


    m. 1933 Mary Robertson [Murray] 1 daughter b. 1934


    d. 26 May 1935

    "PLANE NOSE DIVES INTO ROAD - Cambridge Pilot and Wife Killed

    MELBOURNE, Sunday.

    G. P. Fairbairn, former Cambridge man, and his wife, formerly Miss Mary Murray, Melbourne, were killed to-day when their ’plane crashed on a road near Essendon Aerodrome. The machine was the same as that in which Mr. Fairbairn flew from England to Australia in 1931 in company with Mr. K. Shenstone[sic].

    Mrs. Fairbairn was in the pilot’s seat at the time of the tragedy. Apparently the engine stalled and the ’plane went into a spin, nose diving to the road. A motor-lorry passing at the time was grazed by one of the wings.

    Mr. Fairbairn was one of the first Cambridge undergraduates to own his own ’plane and was a keen member of the University Squadron. While they were at the University together in 1930, Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Kenneth Shenstone set out to fly to Kenya and back, but they crashed in landing at Heliopolis on the outward journey, and they abandoned the flight.

    In the spring of 1931 they [sic] attempted to break Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith’s record of under ten days for a flight from England to Australia. They [sic] completed the journey, but took 57 days, and were overtaken on the way by Mr. C. W. A. Scott, who set up a record of 9 days 3 hours [sic]." - Belfast News-Letter - Monday 27 May 1935


     Obviously there are conflicting reports as to whether George was accompanied on his Australia flight by Kenneth Shenstone!


     see also Obituary - George Patrick Fairbairn - Obituaries Australia (anu.edu.au)



    Melbourne, Sept. 23, 1935.

    Estate valued at more than £91,639 was left by the late George Patrick Fairbairn, grazier, of Wooloomanta station, Lara, who, with his wife, was killed in an aeroplane crash earlier in the year. The late Mr. Fairbairn bequeathed Wooloomanta to the first of his sons who should attain the age of 25 years, but, as he had no son, the station is left to his nephew, George Michael Wheatley. The residue of the estate was left to his wife, but, as she was killed at the same time as her husband, it is now left to Fairbairn's infant daughter, Mary Frances Fairbairn, aged 21 months."


  • Fairweather, Margaret

     The Hon Mrs Margaret 'Margie' Fairweather

     Margaret King-Farlow 1937 RAeC 1937


     b 23 September 1901 in Northumberland, the eldest daughter of Lord Walter and Lady Hilda Runciman.

    Her brother Walter (co-Director, with Connie Leathart (q.v.), of Cramlington Aircraft, First Director-General of BOAC, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron, OBE, etc, etc) became the 2nd Viscount Runciman of Doxford, and her sister Katherine ('Kitty') was adjutant for the Women's Section of the ATA from March 1941.

    I sometimes feel that Margie gets a bad press; she was, apparently, quiet and rather withdrawn, (nicknamed 'Mrs Cold Front') and, in photos, always seems to have that far-away look in her (green, btw) eyes. But, her ability, and her devotion to duty and to her friends, were never in doubt.

    She got her RAeC certificate in 1937. In fact, she acquired her first aeroplane from her brother Walter; a 1931-reg D.H. Puss Moth G-ABLG, which he had flown in two King's Cup races.

    She had married Roderick Nettleton King-Farlow in July 1925. Their daughter Ann was born in 1931, but they divorced in 1936, and she then married Douglas Keith Fairweather in March 1938. He was a businessman from Glasgow, and her complete opposite - outgoing, irreverent, and very eccentric. 

    Margie then sold her aeroplane, and she and Douglas re-registered his Puss Moth G-ABYP in their joint names. Later they also bought a Leopard Moth, G-ACXH.

    She had a horrible experience in 1939 when her friend, Dr. Elizabeth Cook, was killed by walking into the propeller of the aeroplane Margaret was about to pilot; they were going to fly to Paris for a holiday, and the plane was standing with the engine ticking over.

    Margie Fairweather FAI Cert FAI 1939

    So, prior to WWII she was one of the most experienced women pilots in the country, with 1,050 hours of civilian flying, and (from late 1937) was an instructor with the Scottish Flying Club. She had flown Miles Whitney Straights, D.H. Moths, Puss Moths, Tiger Moths, Fox Moths, Leopard Moths, Hornet Moths, Dart Kitten, Taylor Cub, Potez, and Percival Vega Gull, in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, France Switzerland and Austria.

    Not surprisingly then, she was one of the 'First Eight' Women ATA pilots at Hatfield, starting in January 1940. 


    Here story continues here:  Fairweather, Margaret (W.7) (ata-ferry-pilots.org)

  • Falk, Roland John

     Mr Roland John Falk

      1932, aged 17

       c.1955, aged c.40

    'Roly', forever remembered for rolling an Avro Vulcan at Farnborough in 1955, presumably wearing his habitual pinstripe suit and tie.

    "Trained by the London Aeroplane Club at Stag Lane. Started commercial flying with Air Commerce Ltd, now [i.e. 1936] busy flying daily Dawn Express newspaper service from Croydon to Paris. Chews his C.D.C. [whatever that means] Thrives on fog."

    RAE Farnborough during WWII, including flights on captured German aircraft. Post-war Avro test pilot (especially the Vulcan, of course).

    OBE in 1955; died 1985 in Jersey

    [With thanks to John Falk, who is Roly's son, and Bill Thorn's (q.v.) grandson]

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