King's Cup - 1924

All Aviators who took part in the 1924 King's Cup Race

- click on aviator's name for full biography

  • -King's Cup - 1924


     Click here to see the Newsreel! 

    12th August, 1924. Weather: low cloud and poor visibility

    The story of the race:

    Open to landplanes and seaplanes (the only time this was tried), this turned out to be "an unfortunate scheme":

    "Once the comptitors had started - and they were all away within a few minutes - it seemed as if we lost touch with the various pilots and machines for a few brief hours, and then... after some simple calculations the race was all over!"

    There were no control points, but the competitors had to round turning-points at Leith, Dumbarton and Falmouth, and finish at Lee-on-Solent.

     Pilot - see 'The Aviators', below Aircraft   Race No


      Mr H C Biard Supermarine Seagull N9xxx1   1 forced landing near Newcastle - propeller 'flew off'
      Colonel the Master of Sempill Supermarine Seagull N9xxx1   2 6th
      Mr Alan J Cobham D.H.50

    G-EBFN /





    First Reg. 04.23

    Owned by Northern Air Lines Ltd

    Sold Australia 23.2.26 Wfu 21.9.33

    3 Winner
      Capt Frank L Barnard D.H.50 G-EBFP

    First Reg. 04.23

    Owned by Imperial Airways Ltd; Rt Hon FE Guest; Imperial Airways Ltd; Iraq Petroleum Transport Co Ltd; Imperial Airways Ltd

    Scrapped .33

    4 retired Ayr - hit haystack while landing
      Capt Norman Macmillan Fairey IID Seaplane N9777   5 2nd
      Mr J R King Martinsyde F.6 G-EBDK

    First Reg. 16.06.22

    Owned by Martinsyde Ltd; FP Raynham; LCGM Le Champion; Leslie Hamilton; Maj JC Savage

    Dismantled Brooklands 4.30

    6 retired Newcastle - undercarriage collapsed on landing
      Mr Alan S Butler D.H.37 G-EBDO

    'Sylvia' later 'Lois'

    First Reg. 22.06.22

    Owned by AS Butler

    Crashed Ensbury Park Bournemouth 4.6.27

    7 3rd
      Sqn-Ldr Harold J Payn Vickers Vixen III G-EBIP

    First Reg 16.01.24

    Owned by Vickers Ltd; D Vickers MP

    Scrapped .29

      Flt-Lt H WG Jones A.W. Siskin III G-EBJQ


    First Reg 29.7.24

    Owned by Sir WG Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd

    Returned to RAF 11.24

    9 4th
      Capt Frank T Courtney A.W. Siskin III G-EBJS


    First Reg 29.7.24

    Owned by Sir WG Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd

    Returned to RAF 11.24

    10 retired Brough - broken spinner

    Starters: 10. Finishers: 6

    1 Supermarine Seagull serials not known at the moment, although they must have been two of these:



    N9642-54, all of which would have been around in 1924.

  • -The Aviators

    The Aviators

  • Barnard, Franklyn Leslie

      Capt Franklyn Leslie Barnard OBE AFC

       photo: 1925, aged 29      franklyn barnard


     Winner of the first King's Cup in 1922. "an exceptional pilot - careful, skilful, and daring" and "his ability as an engineer was fully equal to his skill as a pilot".

    b. 1896; his father, Owen Barnard, was a stockbroker's clerk (and not related to Charles Barnard's father).

    AFC in WWI; chief pilot for Instone (later) Imperial Airways. OBE in 1927.

    Killed in July 1927 while testing propellers for the Bristol Badminton which he had entered for the King's Cup Race, which crashed at Filton after the engine seized. Major Beaumont, appearing for Imperial Airways at the inquest, said the company felt it had "lost one of the world's magnificent airmen".


    It is with profound regret that we have to record the death, as the result of a flying accident on Thursday, July 28, of Capt. F. L. Barnard.

    Capt. Barnard—one of our mostexperienced and popular pilots—was carrying out a test flight on the Bristol " Badminton " ("Jupiter VI ") biplane, which had been entered for the King's Cup Air Race, at Filton aerodrome, when, according to eyewitnesses, the engine suddenly stopped and the machine crashed to the ground just outside the 'drome from a height of about 200 ft. When a number of people who had been watching the flight arrived in the field where the machine had crashed, the latter was found completely wrecked, with the engine embedded in the ground, and the unfortunate pilot lying in the cockpit beyond human aid.

    From evidence at the inquest, which was held on July 29, it appears that when Capt. Barnard's engine failed, he put the machine into normal gliding angle and attempted to land. While manoeuvring to do so, the machine lost flying speed and stalled from about 80 ft. Capt. Barnard had already made three other test flights on the machine, trying out different airscrews.

    Capt. Barnard's loss to the aviation world is a great one indeed, for he was an exceptional pilot, careful, skilful, and daring—but daring only when flying alone or testing. He served in the Air Force during the war, and was awarded the Air Force Cross. Following the Armistice he was pilot to No. 24 Communication Squadron, when he carried many distinguished personages to and from the Continent. He then became associated with Instone Air Lines, and later, when Imperial Airways was formed, was their chief pilot.

    His skill as a pilot was such that he was entrusted with many important aerial missions—the most conspicuous of which was the piloting of the Imperial Airways D.H. "Hercules" air liner, carrying Sir Samuel Hoare, Lady Maud Hoare and party from London to Cairo on the inaugural flight of the Egypt-India service. He also, it will be remembered, took part in previous King's Cup races, being the winner in1922 and 1925, and flying last year the Bristol " Badminton "in its original form.

    Capt. Barnard leaves a widow and young son, to whom, in common with his many, many friends, we offer our deepest sympathy." - 'Flight'


  • Biard, Henri Charles Amedie de la Faye

      Capt Henri Charles Amedie de la Faye Biard

      1912, aged 20

    mini_-_c_biard.jpg  c.1934, aged 42.

    Henri_Biard_0906-0082.jpg Henri_Biard_0908-0050.jpg

    From Jersey; a very early flier, test pilot for Supermarine.

    Schneider Trophy pilot in 1922, 23 and 25 (during which he crashed, "making a huge hole in the sea", but emerged merely slightly dazed).

    His autobiography is called, er, 'Wings' (1934).


  • Butler, Alan Samuel

    Mr Alan Samuel Butler J.P.

    photo: 1921, aged 23

    Chairman of de Havilland; the story goes that in 1921 he asked the one-year old de Havilland Aircraft Company to build a fast two-passenger touring aeroplane to his specification,

    and stumped up £3,000 for them to do it. The money saved the company from extinction and they appointed him to the board of directors forthwith. He held the position until he retired in 1950.

    The aeroplane became the DH37, (which he named, firstly, 'Sylvia' after his sister, then, rather diplomatically, 'Lois', after his wife, q.v.), which he entered in the very first King's Cup Race in 1922 and again in 1924, coming third.

    He and Lois set up a world speed record of 120mph for 1000 km in 1928, and they also flew to Cape Town together .

    Entered the MacRobertson Race in 1934 (assigned No 59) but didn't take part.

    Was still aviating in 1970.

  • Cobham, Alan John

     Mr (Sir) Alan John Cobham KBE AFC

      in c.1934, aged c.40

     Alan Cobham

    see: Alan Cobham's Flying Circus


  • Courtney,  Frank Thomas

     Capt Frank Thomas Courtney

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

     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)

  • Forbes-Sempill, William (Lord Semphill)

    William Forbes-Sempill, 19th Lord Sempill AFC




    Ah... yes... the aviation pioneer, chairman of the Royal Aeronautical Society, right-wing sympathiser and occasional spy (for the Japanese), who was motivated by his 'impetuous character, obstinacy, and flawed judgement', rather than money.

    William Forbes-Sempill, 19th Lord Sempill - Wikipedia



  • Jones, Hubert Wilson Godfrey

      Flt-Lt (later Sqn Ldr) Hubert Wilson Godfrey Jones

      1916, when a Captain in the Welsh Regt, aged 26

     mini - h w g jones2 1924

    b 7 Oct 1890, Llandilo, Carm, Wales

    British Army 1913-16; RAF 1916-43; 

    Won the Hanworth-Blackpool Air Race, 15 Jul 31; 

    Died in WWII -  14 May 43, when serving with Station Flight, RAF Middle Wallop, his Hurricane IIb HV895 exploded and crashed in Sudbourne Marshes, during a flight from Martlesham Heath to Orford Ness bombing range to test a new bomb.


    Research: thanks to Steve Brew

  • King, John R

      Mr John R King

      1918, when 2nd Lieut, RAF, aged 32


    possibly John King, b 1886, from Birmingham; RAeC certificate 7436

    'Pat' King, later an Air Vice Marshall


  • Macmillan, Norman

      Capt Norman Macmillan MC AFC

      1917, when a Captain in the RFC, aged 25



    'author and outstanding pilot', the chief test pilot of Fairey Aviation from 1924.

    Later flew the Fairey Long-range monoplane on its world flight.

    Originally from Glasgow.

    WWI ace with 11 victories; later Wing Commander, and the first person to land at Heathrow (before it was an airport).

    Winner of the speed prize (at 76.1 mph!) in the Lympne Motor Glider competition of October 1923, in the Parnall Pixie.

    d. 1976


  • Payn, Harold James

      Sqn-Ldr Harold James Payn

      1916, when a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, aged 29



    Test pilot for the Air Ministry; AFC 1923


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