King's Cup - 1931

  • Guest, Frederick Edward

      Capt (later Sqn-Ldr, Air-Comm) the Hon Frederick Edward Guest CBE DSO MP

     mini_-_hon_f_e_guest.jpg 1929, aged 54




    b. 14 June 1875 in London.

    'Freddie', Winston Churchill's cousin; Diana's (q.v.) father; Liberal then Conservative politician (Secretary of State for Air in 1920-22, despite the fact that, at the time, he knew "very little about aviation, but it is to his credit that he does not pretend to know").

    Died 28 April 1937.


  • Healy, Lewin Edward Alton

      Flt-Lt Lewin Edward Alton Healy



     RAF Cranwell, 1922. Twice mentioned in dispatches.



  • Irwin, Angus Charles Stuart

      Mr Angus Charles Stuart Irwin

      1916, when a 2nd Lieut, Royal Irish Rifles, aged 18



    born in Motihari, India; educated at Marlborough and Sandhurst. RFC in WWI: 2 victories, but was then shot in the foot by a member of Richtoven's squadron.

    Post-WWI, was "engaged in the estate business" (whatever that means).


  • Jackaman, Alfred Charles Morris

      Mr Alfred Charles Morris Jackaman

      1927, aged 23



    A civil engineer from Slough; in 1936 he and Marcel Desoutter decided that an airport at Gatwick might be a nice idea (it was, after all, "outside the London fog area").

    He later married Australian-born Muriel Nora 'Cherry' Davies and they ended up near Sydney; he died in 1980, but she survived until 2011 - aged 101. see


  • John, Caspar

      Lieut Caspar John, RN

      1930, aged 27


    Son of Augustus (the artist and well-known pacifist); mother died when he was 3; later became Admiral of the entire Fleet, which must have gone down well with his dad.

    d. 1984.


  • Johnstone, Andrew Colin Paul

      Mr Andrew Colin Paul Johnstone



    b. 23 Sep 1906, Orpington

    A ground engineer with Cirrus Engines.

    He was taught to fly by the late Col. G. L. P. Henderson, and obtained his "A" licence in 1929.

    The 1931 King's Cup was his first air race.

    d. 1975 - Brent, London


  • Law, Harrington Robley

      Mr Harrington Robley Law

      1928, aged 29


    Originally from Scotland; son of Bonar Law. In 1939 a member of the Insurance Flying Club.

    Apparently he had a lisp, but was very able.


  • Leech, Haliburton Hume

      P/O (later F/O, Flt Lt) Haliburton Hume Leech


    photo: 1926, aged 18



    Haliburton H Leech was born 16 Apr 1908, in Wylam-on-Tyne, Northumberland. He competed in 6 King’s Cup races – every year from 1929 to 1934.

    His father, Dr. (later Sir) Joseph William Leech, J. P., was the Sheriff of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and later its M.P.; at the time they lived in Wylam Hall, which according to English Heritage is a vast “rambling house built in the 15th century with 18th-19th century alterations, since divided into 3 apartments”. Haliburton was the youngest of 3 sons.

    He went to Harrow from 1922 to 1925, then gained his Royal Aero Club Certificate (No 7993) at Cramlington with the Newcastle-on-Tyne Aero Club, flying a D.H. Moth, on the 10 Apr 1926.


    In 1931, Flight described him thus:

    “… a well-known figure at flying meetings, as his aerobatic demonstrations in the Martlet are always amongst the prettiest to be seen.

    He entered Cranwell as a cadet in 1925, finally leaving there and being posted to Tangmere in 1927.  

    He was promoted to Flying Officer in July 1929, and in 1930 went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, and has since been engaged on a great deal of test work, flying a large variety of machines.

    This year he was selected as one of the members to join the High Speed Flight at Felixstowe preparatory to receiving his training to take part in the forthcoming Schneider Trophy Race, but, much to his disappointment, he was later sent back to Farnborough, as it was found that there were too many pilots in the flight.

    F/O. Leech has raced on numerous occasions in light aircraft, and is always consistent.”


    However, during one such aerobatic demonstration, one cynic pointed out that "After all it does not matter if he does crash, as his father is a doctor!”

    In 1932, he piloted the Royal Aircraft Establishment’s Scarab (a parasol-wing modification of the D.H. 53 Humming Bird) on its first flight.

    He was posted to the School of Naval Co-operation, Lee-on-the-Solent, on the 1st March 1934, then (as a Flight Lieutentant)  to No. 824 (F.S.R.) Squadron, Upavon, on the 8th October 1934.

    Here he is (with a bandaged left hand) with Leslie Runciman, 'C.C', and Connie Leathart, amongst others

    He was best man at his elder brother Basil's wedding to Grace Luckham in September 1937, then married Miss Ruth Janet Chernocke Elliott (the younger daughter of Mr and Mrs A E Elliott of Little Hill, Bromeswell, Woodbridge) at Eyke Church, Suffolk on 9th October 1937. The happy couple then left by air, from Martlesham, 'for abroad'.

    He died 5th May 1939, in St Bartholomews Hospital, when he was only 31 - I don't know why, I'm afraid. Perhaps it was as a result of a flying accident, or perhaps natural causes. Unusually, 'Flight Magazine', who carried innumerable references to his flying displays, carried no news of his death - normally they would have produced a short obituary of someone so well-known in aviation circles.

    His gravestone (with thanks to the Gravestone Photographic Resource) is in Eyke Church:

     "To the beloved and wonderful memory of Haliburton Hume Leech".

    His father, Sir Joseph, died a year later.

    Ruth married a Mr Foster in 1940 and died in 1986 in Ipswich; she was referred to as 'Ruth Janet C Lady Foster'.

    He competed in loads of air pageants and races throughout the 30s, including:

    - The Kingston-upon-Hull Air Race, at the Hull Air Pageant  which was held to celebrate the opening of the Hull Aero Club clubhouse in April 1930.

    The 7 entrants were Leech (flying "Miss Perry's D.H. Moth G-AASG" *); Winnie Brown flying her Avian G-EBVZ; Winifred Spooner in her D.H. Moth G-AALK; Ivor Thompson (D.H. Moth G-AACL); Alfred Jackaman (D.H. Moth G-AADX); Robert Cazalet in his Westland Widgeon G-EBRM, and Capt G Thorne in Avro Avian G-AAHJ.

    Leech finished first but was disqualified for ‘not turning at one of the marks’.


    * Miss Violet Perry (seen here), who flew at the Berks Bucks and Oxon Club, is not listed as the owner of G-AASG, though; it apparently belonged to 'Miss M Shillington'.

    September 25, 1932 saw him coming 3rd in the Yorkshire Trophy Race - "175 and a half miles over two triangular circuits" in the Arrow Active, behind Edgar Percival in a Gull, and Col. Louis Arbon Strange in his Spartan.

    Later, "F/O. Leech gave one of his thrilling, if not hair-raising, displays on the Arrow Active."

     In July 1933 he was in the Cinque Ports Wakelfield Cup Race; coming 3rd in a Pobjoy-engined Comper Swift.

    A few weeks later (12 August 1933), he put up the fastest time in the London to Newcastle Race in Richard Shuttleworth's Gypsy-engined Comper Swift G-ABWW, but ended up 5th (of 10) on handicap. He received a cheque for £10 for his effort; the 166.09 mph was "the highest registered speed obtained on any British light aircraft" at the time.

    In July 1937, he was one of 15 competitors in the Devon Air Race (which also included Alex Henshaw, Connie Leathart, Tommy Rose and Geoffrey de Havilland). He came 3rd, in a Spartan Arrow.

    In the King’s Cup:

    1 - G-EAUM (1929)

    This aircraft was a real-old-timer, an Avro 534 ‘Baby’, first registered in July 1920. Squadron Leader Harold Payn had raced it in 1922, and R. A. Whitehead (who sold it to Leech) in 1928. Leech, in turn, sold the aircraft to H.R.A. Edwards, and it was finally withdrawn from use in November 1934.

    2 - G-AALK (1930)

    This D.H.60G Gipsy Moth was almost new (first registered August 1929), and belonged to the Household Brigade Flying Club at Hanworth. It was flown by Squadron Leader the Hon. Frederick E Guest in the 1931 race, then went to Wrightson Air Hire, but crashed at Shackend Railway Station near Hawick in April 1937.

    3 - G-ABIF (1931)

    This Southern Martlet 205 had only been registered in January 1931, and belonged to Miss J Forbes-Robinson. Theodore C Sanders flew it in the 1933 King’s Cup race. It was withdrawn from use in 1940, but went to the ATC during WWII, until it was finally cancelled in December 1945.

    4 - G-ABVE (1932, 1933)

    G-ABVE was the only Arrow Active II ever built, registered in March 1932 to Arrow Aircraft Ltd of Yeading, Leeds. Leech flew this aircraft in the 1932 and 1933 races, achieving 137mph.

    In an extraordinary link with MacRobertson aviator Geoffrey Shaw, they were together in July, 1932:

    "Six members joined the Yorkshire Aeroplane Club during June, amongst them being Mr. Geoffrey Shaw and Mr. A. C. Thornton. The latter is the designer of the" Arrow Active," and his latest production, the "Active II" has been much in evidence, being tested by F/O.H. H. Leech."

    After the race, it was stored at Yeading until 1957 before being completely renovated in 1958, with the installation of a 145-hp Gipsy Major engine. It survives, and is now in the Real Aeroplane Collection at Breighton Aerodrome, Selby, Yorks.

    5 - G-ACUP (1934)

    Unfortunately, the registration of this brand-new Percival D.3 ‘Gull Six’ did not prove prophetic; Leech only managed fifth in the heats, despite averaging 160mph. The Gull went on to re-appear in the Kings’ Cup in 1938, flown by H Thomas-Ferrand, and was then sold in Australia in May 1939.


    Haliburton Hume Leech - Wikipedia


  • McKenna, John Francis Xavier

      F/O John Francis Xavier McKenna AFC

      1930, aged 24



    b c.1906. From Porton, Wilts.

    B.Sc. F.R.Ae.S.

    AFC in January 1939 as Sqn Ldr

    Killed in WWII: 19th January 1945, when a Group Captain RAF; buried Durrington, Wilts.


  • Napier, Carill Stanley

      Mr Carill Stanley Napier

       1937, aged 30



    b. 29 Apr 1907 From Putney, London

    Son of the famous engine-maker Montague; an apprentice with Westlands in 1929. 'his one recreation apart from flying is the commendable indoor sport of darts. Believes that air-racing is good fun only when taken not too seriously''

    Killed in WWII: 29 April 1941, when a First Officer in the Air Transport Auxiliary; buried RAF Halton, Bucks.


  • Ormston, John Gladholme

      Mr John Gladholme 'Jack' Ormston


    photo: 1931, aged 21


    a Speedway Rider from Durham. Yep; a speedway rider. Apparently, [it says here], a rider in the historic 1936 World Championship Final. [see also Arthur Franklyn].

    "Mr Ormston has already used his Westland Widgeon on several occasions as a means of travelling between one speedway track and another, or from Wembley to his home at Coxhoe, Co. Durham."

    d. 2006.


  • Probyn, Harold Melsome

      Wing-Cmdr Harold Melsome Probyn

      1916, when a 2nd Lieut in the 2/5th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, aged 25



    from Lancashire, later an Air Commodore; retired to Kenya.

    Felt that aviation wasn't as much fun after the invention of the parachute.

    In 1927-8 he entered as 'Harold Brooklyn', and 1929-31 he entered as 'J Wellworth'; I have no idea why.


  • Pugh, C RV


      Lieut C RV Pugh, RN





  • 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


  • Rodd, Patrick Geoffrey Tremayne

      Lt Patrick Geoffrey Tremayne Rodd, RN

      1930, aged 29



    "He runs a Puss Moth as well as a Speed Six Bentley. He is probably unique, in that he has had his chauffeur, Mr. J. Camp, taught to fly at the Hanworth Club, so that he can have either his aircraft or his car brought to him when he requires them. He does a great deal of Continental flying..."

    He was killed 31 Jan 1933 when making too 'impetuous' a turn after taking off from a snow-covered lake at St Moritz.

    A 'good natured, wealthy young pilot'. And his 1919 diaries are in the National Archives.


  • Russell, Leopold Oliver

      Hon Leopold Oliver Russell

      1930, aged 23



    In 1931, an Assistant Advertising Manager from Milton Ernest, Bedfordshire

    Later, Director-General of the British Cement and Concrete Association (1958)

    d. 1988


  • Shipside, Thomas William

      Mr Thomas William Shipside


    photo: 1928, aged 28


     A Motor Agent from Nottingham - [actually, the Morris car distibutor for Nottinghamshire and part of Leicestershire] who used his aicraft in his business, and apparently flew all over the country with his wife.


  • Symondson, Francis Stanley

      Mr Francis Stanley Symondson MC



    b. 27 Mar 1897 in Sutton, Surrey but living in Fowey, Cornwall; WWI ace (12 victories).

    Went to Italy in WWI flying Camels with 66 Sqn, and was shot down once in Belgium and twice in Italy.

    Despite being over 40 when WWII broke out, Francis joined the RAF as a Flt-Lt and then in June 1943 joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA).

    ATA Francis Symondson ATA, 1943



  • Webster, John C

       Mr John C Webster

     mini_-_j_c_webster.jpg  1931


    "The first overseas entrant for the King's Cup air race—Mr. John C. Webster, of Montreal —wants to take the cup back to Canada and fill it with snow. 'Snow' he said, 'is a good friend of the Canadian flier.'

    'I made the longest flight of my life when I made the practice flight over the course for the King's Cup race', he confessed, with a boyish smile, 'though I have been flying for three years. The course is nearly 1,000 miles long, and we don't often fly as much as that in a day—even in Canada. When I start in the race from Heston Air Park on July 25th, I will be starting the hardest day's flying of my life'.

    'Britain may not be very big, but viewed from the air there is so darned much of it. Out there, you can fly hundreds of miles without noticing much difference in the landscape, but here everything down below seems to be all of a heap. And that just about describes your weather, too.'

    Mr. Webster is a member of the Montreal Flying Club, whose chief instructor is Captain ("Tony") Spooner, brother of Miss Winifred Spooner, the famous woman flier."

    "TRAGEDY has overtaken Mr. J. C. Webster, the Canadian pilot who recently took part in the King's Cup air race on a Curtiss-Reid "Rambler." While flying over St. Hubert [Montreal] aerodrome, it is stated, the machine got into a spin and crashed, Mr. Webster sustaining injuries from which he died later in hospital. His death occurred a few hours before an official reception, which was to have been given to celebrate Webster's return from England."

    From Shediac, N.B. His father established the Webster Memorial Trophy - the premier Canadian aviation award - in his memory.


  • Wilson, George Noel

      Mr George Noel Wilson

      1930, aged 43



    a 'merchant' from London, born in Darlington; died 1957


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