Imperial Airways Pilot

  • Wolley Dod, Charles Francis

     Charles Francis Wolley Dod




    One of the original 16 pilots of Imperial Airways in 1924

    b. 25 Aug 1892 in Bengal, India

    Sir Alan Cobham had some harsh words to say, when he sold his well-travelled 'Youth of Britain' aircraft to Imperial Airways; "I arrived at Salisbury [Rhodesia] on January 7 1930, and handed the aircraft over to Wolley Dod. I found him to be an unbelievably tiresome man. He spoke to me as though I were a pupil pilot of no experience at all; he went over the aircraft in detail, and managed to find something wrong with every aspect of it - the fuel system, the propeller, the rigging, the lot. I controlled myself with difficulty. I was fortunate indeed to have escaped being teamed up with such a fuss-pot".

    Wolley Dod promptly crashed the aircraft at Broken Hill, much to Sir Alan's fury; "I had carried some 40,000 passengers in this perfectly good aircraft, making perhaps 5,000 landings. Then Big Brother took it over, and had to go and break it straight away."


    HC Deb 16 March 1937 vol 321 c1858 1858
     Mr. Perkins (by Private Notice) asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he can make any statement with regard to the disappearance of the Imperial Airways liner "Jupiter" last night?
    - The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Sir Philip Sassoon): I regret to have to inform the House that Imperial Airways liner G-ACVZ, which left Croydon for Cologne at half-past nine last night, failed to arrive, and her wreckage was found later burnt out about 25 miles this side of Cologne. The three occupants of the machine, Captain C. B. Holmes, pilot; Mr. C. E. Langman, wireless operator; and Mr. C. F. Wolley Dod, Imperial Airways European Manager, were dead. No mails were on board. The cause of the accident is not yet determined. As far as we can ascertain there were rain and sleet moving eastward at the time over Belgium, but not general ice conditions, and the pilot was heard at 10.58 p.m. to inform Brussels that he was flying in good visibility.


  • Woodbridge, Albert E

      Mr Albert E Woodbridge




    RFC in WWI - he was responsible for Baron von Richthofen's head wound in 1917.

    richthofen with head wound

    After WWI he left the RAF, but rejoined and was drafted 'out East'. With Imperial Airways, he spent about six months piloting the cross-Channel service, then transferred to the Cairo- Karachi section.

    Lived in Westcliffe-on-Sea

    Died September 1929: "Three people were killed and two passengers burned when an Imperial Airways air mail liner crashed in flames while attempting to land last night at Jask Airdrome, in Persia, on the route to India from Croydon.

    The dead are Mr. A. E. Woodbridge, the pilot; a passenger, Mr. G. Bell; and a mechanic, Mr. J. Court, says British United Press. The airplane and the mail were destroyed. Two members of the crew of the machine, Mr. H. Bourne, wireless operator, and Mr. H. C. Amor, flight engineer, were burnt, but not seriously, and are progressing favourably.

    From reports reaching Karachi it appears that the air liner was making a landing by the light of flares set on the tips of the wings when the disaster occurred. Suddenly the wings were seen to burst into flames, and the flames spread rapidly, rendering the escape of the occupants of the machine impossible. The injured pilot of the air liner was rushed to a house two miles from the airdrome, but he died there soon after arrival.

    When the news was received at Karachi, Capt. Attwood, pilot of the air mail liner which leaves there for England to-morrow, set out in his machine with a doctor and nursing orderlies to bring the injured pilot to Karachi, but returned when wireless news received reporting the death of the pilot of the burned air liner.

    FAMOUS PILOT. Mr. A. E. Woodbridge was a very distinguished air-fighter during the war. He brought down the famous German, Baron Richthofen, in June, 1917."

    Actually, 2nd Lt Woodbridge had managed to wound von Richthofen in the head. When the Red Baron returned to duty, he was still unfit to fly - his head wound had not healed - and this is thought to have been a contributory factor when he was shot down nine months later by an Australian gunner.


  • Youell, Alan Bruce Hamilton

      Mr Alan Bruce Hamilton Youell



    One of the original 16 pilots of Imperial Airways in 1924

    b. 10 Feb 1900 in Portsea Island, Hants.

    RAeC certificate 4909 (1917).

    Awarded Master Pilot's Certificate

    March 1926: "Like the Swallow.—Captain B. Yulle, the Imperial Airways pilot, set a record on Thursday when he flew from London to Amsterdam, a distance of 267 miles, in 100 minutes.

    "October 13, 1947 – A helicopter flies in Switzerland for the first time. It is the Bell 47B G-AKCX of the Irvin-Bell Helicopters Sales presented near the Allmend in Zürich-Wollishofen by the British pilot Alan Bruce Hamilton 'Jimmy' Youell."

    With Imperial Airways pre-war and Railway Air Services post-war.

    d. 19 April 1961 'in or near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia'


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