King's Cup - 1933

Full Race Story - see here

  • -King's Cup - 1933


    Lois Butler has a chat while her Leopard Moth is attended to

    The Story of the Race:

    Hon Lady M Bailey D.H.80a Puss Moth G-AAYA 1 eliminated in Round 2
    Flt-Lt A PK Hattersley D.H.80a Puss Moth G-ABDF 2 eliminated in Round 2
    Mr A CS Irwin D.H.80a Puss Moth G-ABLS 3 eliminated in semi-final
    Mr A M Diamant D.H.80a Puss Moth G-ABMD 4 eliminated in Round 1
    Mr H H Leech Arrow Active II G-ABVE 5 5th
    Mr Alex Henshaw Comper Swift G-ACGL 6 8th
    Mr T C Sanders Southern Martlet G-ABIF 7 retired
    F/O P EG Sayer HawkerTomtit G-ABOD 8 eliminated in Round 1
    Flt-Lt P WS Bulman Hawker Tomtit G-ABAX 9 eliminated in Round 2
    Mr G E Lowdell Hawker Tomtit G-AASI 10 eliminated in semi-final
    Capt E W Percival Percival D2 Gull Four G-ACHA 11 eliminated in Round 1
    Lt-Col L A Strange Spartan Clipper G-ACEG 12 eliminated in Round 2
    Wing-Cmdr H M Probyn Miles M2 Hawk G-ACHJ 14 retired
    Mr L Lipton D.H.60G III Moth Major 'Jason 4'* G-ABVW 15 retired - broken propeller
    Mr W L Runciman D.H.80a Puss Moth G-ABLG 16 eliminated in semi-final
    Mr G RA Elsmie Percival D2 Gull Four G-ACGR 17 eliminated in semi-final
    Flt-Lt E A Healy Arrow Active I G-ABIX 18 eliminated in Round 1
    Mr C S Napier Hendy 302A G-AAVT 19 eliminated in Round 1
    Flt-Lt H M Schofield GAL ST6 Monospar G-ACGI 20 retired during Round 1
    Capt W L Hope Comper Swift G-ABWH 21 eliminated in Round 2
    Capt H S Broad D.H.84 Dragon G-ACFG 22 7th
    Capt Geoffrey de Havilland D.H.85 Leopard Moth G-ACHD 23 winner
    Mrs Lois Butler D.H.85 Leopard Moth G-ACHB 24 6th
    Flt-Lt E CT Edwards Comper Swift G-ABUU 26 2nd
    Mr F R Walker Comper Swift G-ACBY 27 crashed during Round 2
    Flt-Lt G H Stainforth Comper Swift G-ABWW 28 eliminated in Round 1
    AV-M A E Borton Percival D2 Gull Four G-ACGP 29 eliminated in semi-final
    Mr A J Styran D.H.85 Leopard Moth G-ACHC 30 3rd
    Mr M DL Scott D.H.80a Puss Moth G-ABOF 31 retired - ran out of petrol
    Hon R Westenra D.H.60G III Moth Major G-ACCW 32 eliminated in Round 2
    Flt-Lt E D Ayre Desoutter I G-AAPZ 33 4th
    Mr T Neville Stack Comper Swift G-ABWE 36 eliminated in Round 2
    Mr R Bannister Comper Swift G-ABJR 39 eliminated in semi-final
    Flt-Lt J Armour Percival D1 Gull Four G-ABUR 40 eliminated in semi-final
    Mr Tom Campbell Black D.H.80a Puss Moth G-ABYW 42 eliminated in semi-final

    * which formerly belonged to Amy Johnson

    Starters: 35 (out of 41 entries)

    Did not start:

    Mr J CVK Watson Miles M.2 Hawk G-ACHK 34  
    Mr A CM Jackaman GAL ST.4 Monospar 1 G-ABVP 37  
    F/O C Allen DH.80A Puss Moth G-AAYD 38  
  • -The Aviators

    The Aviators

  • Armour, John George Denholm

     Flt-Lt John George Denholm Armour

      Jack', chief test pilot for for Blackburn, later a Wing Commander. Susan Slade's cousin.

  • Ayre, E D

    Flt-Lt E D Ayre 

    known as 'Don'

  • Bailey, Mary

    Hon. Lady Mary Bailey

    Royal Aero Club Certificate No. 8067 (26 Jan 1927)  
     mini_-_lady_bailey.jpg1927, aged 37

    1930, aged 40


      The Hon. Mary Westenra, b. 1 December 1890 in London but brought up mainly in County Monaghan, Ireland.

    Her family's home was Rossmore Castle, which was a grand affair built in the 1820s, with turrets, a vast drawing room and servants' quarters, not to mention about 20 cottages on the estate:

    rossmore castle

    Here she is, with her brother Willie, and parents (Mittie and Derry) on a set of steps by the house, in 1913:

    mary bailey rossmore steps Throttle Full Open

    I visited County Monaghan in 2014 and asked in the local museum if they knew where the house was. 'Oh yes' they said, 'but it was demolished forty years ago'. It seems that it became severely infested with dry rot in the 1940s, was abandoned and, indeed, demolished in 1975.

    Anyway, here's all that's left of it now:

    rossmore steps

    rossmore walls

    Mary married South African mining magnate and white suprematist politician Sir Abe Bailey in September 1911 (so, she was 21, he was nearly 47; his first wife had died in 1902 and he already had two children). They then had five more children - 2 boys and 3 girls.

    She learnt to fly at the London Aeroplane Club in 1926. She was the first woman to fly across the Irish Sea 'by the long route' from Chester to Dublin, the following August.

    The following March (1928) she began a solo tour to Cape Town, via Malta and then Cairo. Here, her plane was locked away by order of the Governor-General of the Sudan to prevent her from continuing alone, so she contacted Dick Bentley (who had flown to the Cape a few weeks before) to escort her in his own aeroplane over the "dangerous area of the southern Sudan". She then crashed in Tanganyika, writing off her aeroplane (she said it was her fault), but Abe made arrangements for a replacement Moth to be delivered from Pretoria and she continued, despite having 'flu. Abe was there to meet her when she arrived at the end of April. 

    The return journey was made via the western 'French' route - the Belgian Congo, Angola and the French Congo. She finally arrived back at Croydon on 16 January, 1929, 10 months after she left. It was "undoubtedly one of the finest performances ever put up by a woman pilot." 

    Lady Bailey was "so modest, so vague and so charming", and was "surprised that anyone should make a fuss about her journey". 

    A Director of National Flying Services in 1929, (with Frederick Guest, Colonel the Master of Sempill, Alan Cobham, etc); she was also awarded the Brittania Trophy by the Royal Aero Club, and then made a Dame of the British Empire in 1930 for "services to aviation".

    Mary Bailey in 1930

    At the Chateau d'Ardennes in 1930



    She was a guest at Amelia Earhart's reception at the Royal Aero Club in May 1932.


    In early 1933 she gave everyone a scare by disappearing for several days on another solo flight to Cape Town; thankfully, she had only got lost, run low on fuel and landed safely in the Sahara. [Bert Hinkler, who disappeared at about the same time, was killed in the Alps]. She then flew back to England and almost immediately went down with a bout of typhoid, but recovered in time to compete in the King's Cup later in the year.

    Mary Bailey3

    After that, she concentrated on looking after their horses, giving and attending loads more balls and receptions, and marrying off their many children.

    When Abe died in 1940, she settled near Cape Town (still keeping a house in Rutland) and died there 29th August 1960 aged 69.


    Lady Mary's aeroplanes were:

    a 1926 DH.60 Moth (G-EBPU),

    a 1927 DH.60X Moth (G-EBSF, the one she crashed in Tanganyika),

    the replacement DH.60X Moth (G-EBTG, which Abe bought in Nairobi);

    a 1928 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AABN);

    a 1929 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AAEE) and

    a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth, G-AAYA.


    Air Transport Auxiliary in WWII


  • Bannister, R

     Mr R Bannister


     I think this must be Flt-Lt W R Bannister, ex-RAF chief instructor of the Herts and Essex Aero Club at Broxborne in 1932; on him "rested the smooth running of the entire flying side".

    He formed the London Air Circus at Broxbourne in 1933 to give aerobatics, displays and joyrides.

    Killed 2 Oct 1934, when he crashed G-ACPM, a Dragon Rapide of Hillman's Airways, off Folkestone, killing himself and 6 passengers.

    His widow was left "totally unprovided for" with five young children, and the Royal Infant Orphanage, Wanstead took them all into its care.


  • Broad, Hubert Stanford

     Capt Hubert Stanford Broad MBE AFC

      photo: 1930, aged 33

    b. 18 (or 20) May 1897

    shot through the neck in WWI by one of Richtofen's Red Circus pilots; [c.f. Angus Irwin]; second in Schneider 1925, to Jimmy Doolittle.

    In 1928, he spent possibly the most boring 24 hours of his life by beating 'all existing figures' for long endurance flights in light aeroplanes (unfortunately there was no official 'record' to beat as such, the FAI not recognising such things). His log makes, um, rivetting reading:


    5:30pm: Hendon

    7:40pm: Gloucester

    8:30pm: Coffee and sandwiches

    11pm: Over Central London, 3,000ft; watched theatre crowds leaving

    Midnight to dawn: Remained over Edgeware

    2:30am: second meal

    4:10am: First signs of dawn

    5:10am: Biggin Hill. Saw night bomber in air


    Noon: Stamford. Very sleepy

    4:30pm: Ipswich


    Having trimmed the controls, Hubert settled down and read 3 complete novels 'to relieve the boredom'.

    When he finally landed, he he said that he was very stiff with cramp, and promptly went home to sleep. His Moth still had 12 gallons of fuel, so it could have kept going for another 4 1/2 hours...

    He was named as co-respondent in Beryl Markham's divorce in 1939.

    de Havillands test pilot until 1935 (Bob Waight succeeded him) - broke the world's speed and height records for light aircraft in the original monoplane Tiger Moth, then joined RAE Farnborough; Hawker test pilot post-WWII; died 1975

    FLIGHT MARCH 28TH, 1946

     No. 2. CAPT. H. S. BROAD, Senior Production Test Pilot, Hawker Aircraft Co.

     FOR sheer wealth of flying experience it is doubtful whether there is another pilot in the world to equal Hubert Broad. He has flown everything from diminutive single-seaters to multi-engined--bombers, and including a number of out-and-out racing aircraft. His logbooks, of which he has filled some nine or ten, total over7,500 hours' flying time and 182 separate types. These are honest types—not modifications or different mark numbers of the same aircraft. Many of these he has also flown as seaplanes. Broad, at the age of nineteen, learnt to fly at the Hall School of Flying at Hendon in 1915. The aircraft on which he made his first flight (there was no dual, a pupil did straights across the airfield until he felt it was safe to do a circuit)was the single-seater Caudron with35 h.p. Y-type Anzani engine. Believe it or not, with this tiny horsepower the Caudron occasionally was made to stagger into the air with two people on board, but the passenger had to sit on the wing by the side of the nacelle.

     Early Days

     The end of 1915 found Broad in the R.N.A.S. at Eastchurch, and he was on the very first course at Cranwell, which was then a R.N.A.S. establishment rejoicing in the name of H.M.S. Daedalus. His first tour of duty at the front was with No. 3 Squadron at Dunkirk. He was among a number of pilots lent by the R.N.A.S. to the R.F.C. No. 3 Squadron flew Sopwith Pups, and it was while he was on one of these, escorting a bombing raid by 90 h.p. R.A.F.-engined B.E.s, that he was shot through the neck by one of Richtofen's later Goering's—Red Circus pilots.

     On recovery he spent a while as an instructor at Chingford and then went for his second tour of operations with No. 46 Squadron, who flew Sopwith Camels. The end of the 1914-18 war found Broad instructing at the Fighter Pilots' Flying School at Fairlop.

     Peace found him, as it found so many other young fellows ,with the ability to fly aircraft superbly and no other means of making a living. But a good living could be made by joy-riding in the early 1920's. First he joined the Avro Company, who were running joy-riding in a fairly big way, and in 1920 went to the Adiron Lakes in America with two Avro 504 seaplanes. These two aircraft saw their last days in Long Island, where they were completely wrecked by an autumn gale.

     By the next year he was back in England competing in the Aerial Derby air race round London on a Sopwith Camel. He finished 6th.In October, 1921, Broad joined de Havillands. Those who know this great concern now will smile to learn that when it started in those days it consisted entirely of two fabric hangars and a hut at Stag Lane. If memory serves, the capital of the company at that time was £100.

     The D.H. series numbers, which started in the Aircraft Manufacturing Co. Ltd., were carried on in this new firm, and Broad flew every one of the D.H. designs from the D.H.27 to the D.H.90. In the same period he did a lot of test flyingfor other aircraft constructors.

     He did the W.10, Handcross, Hendon, and some others for Handley Pages, the Parnall Pipit and the Saunders A. 10 fighter. On the Gloster Grebe he ran into wing flutter for the first time (this trouble, in those days, was on a par with the compressibility troubles we have now).

     Seaplane testing

     Another big job he did was most of the development work on the Gloster II and III racing seaplanes. Over a period I used to go with him to Felixstowe regularly. As a Press man I was forbidden the precincts of the R.A.F. seaplane station, but there was a perfectly good Great Eastern Railway pier alongside the station. I used to climb over the fence and watch the proceedings from the pier head. Broad nearly lost his life there one day in October,1924. As he was landing the Gloster II a forward strut to the floats collapsed, and the aircraft turned completely over. Mrs. Broad was watching from the shore, and it seemed a very long time before Hubert appeared on the surface.

     In 1925 Hubert Broad flew the Gloster III racing seaplane in the Schneider Trophy contest which was held that year over Chesapeake Bay in America. This was the race in which Henri Biard, flying the SupermarineS.4—the true forerunner of the Spitfire—crashed in the water with wing flutter. Broad finished this race second to Jimmy (now General) Doolittle. That must have been a vintage generation, because many names from that period have found their way into the high-spots of this last war.

    With the advent of the D.H. Moth in all its variants, Broad was to be seen performing aerobatics at most flying club meetings and entering many of the races. These included the King's Cup Race, which he won in 1926. He was flying a delightful Cirrus I Moth, which was a study in ivory and red. His average speed over the whole732 miles was 90.4 m.p.h. His piece de resistance in aerobatics was a perfectly formed big loop, the base of which was only some 150ft from the ground. It was a joy to behold, but very dangerous to perform. Broad had sufficient sense to realise this and sufficient courage to stop doing it.


     It was during an aerobatic show that Hubert had his closest shave in a life packed with incident. And it was so simple. Flying a D.H. Tiger Moth with no one in the front seat, he did a slow roll—a stunt at which he was a master. The safety belt in the empty cockpit was loosely done up. While the Moth was inverted the belt hung down and, as the aircraft turned the right way up again, the belt came back over the joy-stick. The result was that Broad had only about 1 1/2 inches of stick movement; but, nothing daunted, he made a sort of tail-up, seaplane landing. In this connection it is to be remembered that there were no lovely 2,000-yard runways on which to this sort of thing. In those days there was not a single runway available in Britain; not even for the take-off of over-loaded aircraft for long-distance records!

     Another unhappy moment occurred when he found the tail trim (the incidence of the whole tailplane was adjustable)of a D.H.34 had been connected in reverse. By a good deal of jockeying he managed to get into Northolt. On yet another occasion a careless mechanic left a screwdriver jammed in the chain and sprocket of the rudder actuating gear. This necessitated a down-wind, crosswind, finishing up into-wind landing at Hendon airfield, because that was a bit bigger than Stag Lane.

     One of the prettiest little aircraft he ever flew was the original D.H. Tiger Moth monoplane. This was tailored exactly to fit Broad. Physically he is not of big stature and few other pilots could get into the machine. In the front of the cockpit was a bulkhead which had two holes just large, enough for the feet to be threaded through, and these holes had to be padded with sorbo rubber so that Broad's shins did not get barked while landing and taxying. Springing was almost non-existent. Span was22ft 6in and length only 18ft 7m.

     In August, 1927, on this machine he broke the world's record for light aircraft for both speed and height. For the former the figure was 186.47 m.p.h., he having taken19 min 59 sec to cover the 10 km, and for altitude he reached 20,000ft in just 17 min. A year later he took two more world's records on the D.H. Hound.

     In 1935, after 20 wonderful years of service, he left de Havillands and later did some flying for the Air Registration Board. From here he went to the Royal Aircraft Establishment and finally joined Hawkers to be in charge of all their production testing at Langley. He will be 50 in a matter of a few weeks, yet every day sees him at oxygen height testing Tempest IIs. As he says, he has gone from 35 h.p. in the Anzani to over 3,000 h.p. in the Centaurus and Sabre VI, and from 2 ½ lb/sq ft in the Caudron to 40 lb/sq ft in the Tempest II.


  • Bulman, Paul Ward Spencer

     Maj (later Flt-Lt) Paul Ward Spencer 'George' Bulman CBE MC AFC

    George Bulman

       photo: 1917, when a 2nd Lieutenant in the RFC


    Universally known as 'George'; after WWI, test pilot at RAE Farnborough until 1925, then chief test pilot at Hawker Aircraft, where he took over from 'Fred' Raynham.

     The Bystander Special Aviation Edition, 1933

    It was at his instigation that the Hurricane was fitted with a variable-pitch propeller, "The improvement in performance was so impressive that the result was a panic of refitting of airscrews, and the effect on the outcome of the Battle of Britain can be imagined."

    Harald Penrose said he was "a great little man, eager yet cool, eyes crinkled in a smile, bald head gleaming as he climbed helmetless into the cockpit".



       seated in a prototype Hurricane c.1946

    Britain's Test Pilots

    Flight, 4th April 1946: “GEORGE” BULMAN might never have been known in the aircraft industry had he continued at his original occupation. In fact, he would have been more nationalized than he is now, because he started his business career in the Bank of England. Perhaps that is where he got his meticulous attention to detail.

    Group Capt. Bulman is seldom known by his proper Christian name Paul, and it is interesting to learn how he ever came to be known universally as "George." He always confessed to a shocking memory for names, and during the 1914-18 war addressed almost everyone as "Colonel" or "General." When peace came, a civil edition had to be found, and his friends and acquaintances became Georges. They, in their turn, called him "George" Bulman.

    A little more than a year before the Royal Flying Corps became the Royal Air Force in April, 1918, Bulman learnt to fly on a "Rumpety" (Maurice Farman Longhorn) of No. 4 Reserve Squadron at Northolt. Previous to this he had been in the Honourable Artillery Company, but was dead keen to become a motor cyclist despatch rider. A motor-cycling friend, however, managed to persuade him that flying was the thing really worth doing, and got him transferred to the R.F.C.

    After his training, "George” was with fighters exclusively. First in No. 46 Squadron under Major (now Air Marshal, retired) Philip Babington, flying Sopwith Pups and then with No. 3 Squadron, when it changed over to Sopwith Camels. He went to No. 3 as a fighter expert, and in the fighting at Courtrai these tiny Camels—carrying four 20lb bombs each—operated with the tanks. This was the birth of the operations by Typhoons, the direct descendants of the Camel, in the Falaise Gap in the Battle of Normandy nearly 30 years later. It is impossible to get Bulman to talk about his deeds in the 1914-18 war. He was heard to let it slip on one unguarded occasion that he was a bloodthirsty young man, but farther than that he never goes. Asking how many enemy aircraft he got to his credit always brings the same answer: ''We flew as a Flight, and did no individual operations. All victories belonged to the Flight.” Nevertheless, he was awarded the Military Cross for his share.

    First Test Work

    At the close of hostilities in1918 he was granted a permanent commission, and almost immediately took up his first test flying. He was posted to the Daimler airfield at Radford, where Sopwith Snipes and S.E.5AS were produced, and shortly afterwards went to the ferry pool in the Midlands at Castle Bromwich. Here experience on twin-engined types was gained as the unit had to test and ferry D.H.10s (made by the Birmingham Carriage Co.) and Handley Page 0/400s.

    It was because of his work here that he came to take up test flying as a permanent occupation. There happened to be a number of one-engined failures on the D.H.10s which had caused some loss of life among the ferry pilots. "Farnborough“ was investigating the trouble, and "George" took one to Farnborough to replace a crash. He had found the trouble in the petrol system, and the outcome of a talk on this with Roderic Hill (now Air Marshal Sir Roderic) resulted in an invitation to join Farnborough. That was in 1919.

    His test flying at the R.A.F. dealt exclusively with engines, and the period between 1919 and 1925 proved to be a fascinating one ; as he puts it,'' ironing out the bugs of the air cooled radial engine." The team with whom he worked took the radial out into the world.

    While at Farnborough he did a certain amount of testing for Blackburns, and, among other types, flew the Cubaroo, Blackburn, Beagle and Airedale. In view of the development to-day in helicopters, it is interesting to remember that 20 years ago, at Farnborough, he flew the Brennan helicopter, which had all the basic elements of the successful modern types. It was flown while partially moored in the old balloon shed.

    About 1924 there came into existence the R.A.E. Aero Club, of which Oliver Simmonds (now Sir Oliver of Aerocessories) was the secretary, Mr Child the designer, and Bulman the chairman and competition pilot. A monoplane—the Hurricane—with triangular-section fuselage, was built by the members and fitted with a horizontally opposed engine, first a 600 c.c. Douglas motorcycle engine and later a 30 h.p. Bristol Cherub. This contraption nearly wrote "George" off. Vibration from the twin-cylinder engine was prone to shut the petrol off because the cock employed was one of the very ordinary "slide with a hole in it" models common to motor bicycles. This cock was under the dash and was critical of its setting. Imagine, then, the juggling required when the engine and airscrew stopped dead at 800ft. over Redhill while flying from Farnborough to Lympne for the competitions. He had to dive nearly vertically to get sufficient airspeed to force the engine over compression—no small task with a two-cylinder engine—and at the same time search under the dashboard for the petrol cock. The engine picked up with no height to spare.

    Display Flying

    Pilots who could fly as exquisitely as Bulman were very much in demand for the Royal Air Displays, which were then held on the last Saturday in June each year. Since he was already doing odd jobs for Hawkers, and was thes ervice pilot deputed to fly the Hawker Woodcock in 1924,it was natural that he and the Hawker people became well acquainted, with the result that in 1925 he resigned his commission and joined the company. The Horsley was being flown at the time, and Bulman took over the Mark I from Fred Raynham who was one of the very old stagers. Raynham was, I think, the only man who ever had a joystick break off in his hand and have to land the machine (a Handley Page monoplane) by the small socket at the base, letting go every second or so to look over the side to see where he was going. "George" did all the test flying on the Horsley II, including preparing it for thel ong-distance record, which it held for a few hours in 1927 by flying from Cranwell to Jask in the Persian Gulf. It was beaten the next day by Lindbergh flying from NewYork to Paris. If any pilot to-day thinks he is flying an overloaded aircraft let him remember that when the Horsley was filled with fuel ready for the record, it burst its tyres just standing on the tarmac!

    Starting with the Heron and Hornbill, Bulman was responsible for test-flying all the Hawker prototypes right up to and including the Hurricane. The Fury (biplane) and Hart days were the days he loved. He worked like a Trojan turning good designs into super-good flying aircraft. This good test-flying, allied to his technical knowledge and charm of manner, undoubtedly played a big part in bringing the Hawker concern to the pre-eminence which it now enjoys.

    Having got Philip Lucas to take on development flying of types later than the Hurricane, Bulman went to the U.S. in May, 1941, as Chief of the Test Branch of the British Air Commission. He had a team of 10 or 11 pilots with him, and they flew all the types of aircraft on order for the British Government, making out flight-test reports on the Boscombe Down pattern. At first this was a civilian job, but after America came into the war he wore uniform and was promoted to Group Captain.

    Compressibility Recognised

    It was whilst he was in America that Bulman realised that the peculiar happenings which test pilots were reporting were just what the scientists had foretold would happen when speeds in the region of that of sound were approached. Much experimental work was carried out on the Lockheed Lightning, and Bulman devised a method of flying whereby the effects could be intensified or diminished safely and at will. His notes to test pilots on the subject show a clear-cut appreciation of the problem, and he probably has more practical knowledge on the subject than anyone else.

    According to Bulman, his test pilot's life was almost devoid of incident—certainly he was always careful to study everything on the ground before taking off—but he has had one or two close shaves. For instance, when he was flying the Leopard-engined Horsley to Denmark, he had a con-rod break over Heligoland. Landing in Germany was forbidden. So, finding that the engine would run at full throttle (imagine the vibration and racket) he flew to Groningen in Holland and landed there. The inside of that engine was a marvel to behold!

    And here is a story told for the first time. I have had it filed away in a drawer for years. At a Household Brigade Club meeting at Hatfield "George" put up a remarkable show. To the spectators it appeared as if he climbed vertically to 3,500ft, stopped his airscrew and then, flicking into a vertical dive, regained his engine as he pulled out at no feet. What really happened was that he accidentally gave the Hart a little negative g at the top of the climb and this emptied the Kestrel's carburettor. From the wealth of his experience he remembered that an airscrew will start in a pull-out at 3 or 4g even when it refuses to do so in a straight dive.

    After twenty years' service with the Hawker Company, he gave up the directorship which he had held since 1936, and is now taking a well-earned rest before coming back into the industry. But before leaving '' George '' to sit back for a while, let me quote one more case of how an enthusiastic man can get done a job which has far-reaching results. In 1938 all the Hurricanes had fixed-pitch airscrews, and no official sanction could be got for anything else. Bulman scrounged a Hurricane off contract and got de Havillands to collaborate by putting in a two-speed airscrew. He then borrowed a c.s. governor from the Hamilton Standard Corporation in America. The improvement in performance was so impressive that the result was a panic of refitting of airscrews, and the effect on the outcome of the Battle of Britain can be imagined.


  • Butler, Lois

     Mrs Lois Butler

    Royal Aero Club Certificate 8634 (14 Jun 1929)


    Née Reid

    b. 3 Nov 1897 in Montreal, Canada; the "beautiful" [so said Harald Penrose] wife of Alan Butler.

    (later, the 'Flying Grandmother', oh well...)

    Her first husband having died in 1923, she married Alan Butler in 1925; together they had a daughter and a son.

    15th in the Women’s Combined Alpine Skiing at the 1936 Winter Olympics, skating for her native Canada (although she was a member of the British Team before that).

    KC1933 Lois Butler King's Cup 1933

    Post-WWII, the Butlers moved to Rhodesia and bought a tobacco farm, but eventually moved back to Studham Hall, Bedfordshire.

    She owned a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth G-ABGX, which was sold in France in December 1934, re-registered as F-AMRX and whose registration was finally cancelled in 1936.


    d. 17 Aug 1970 in Piraeus, Attiki, Greece from a heart attack while on holiday, and is buried in Studham.

    Air Transport Auxiliary in WWII


  • Campbell Black, Tom

    Mr Tom Campbell Black

    mini - t campbell black  photo: 1934

    MacRobertson hero (Part I).

    b. 22 August 1899 in Brighton

    RNAS in WWI, then moved to Kenya as a 'soldier settler'. Persuaded Mrs Florence Kerr Wilson to set up Wilson Airways in 1929, and became her managing director and chief pilot until 1932 when he returned to England as personal pilot to Lord Marmaduke Furness. He always liked horses.

    Married Florence Desmond (a famous actress and comedienne) in 1935, before Charles Hughesdon (see below) did.

    See here:   for a movie of CWA Scott and Tom Campbell Black explaining how they got from Mildenhall to Melbourne (although Tom, too busy having a fag, don't say much. He only says 'Kircut', actually)

    Tom's obituary, in The Aeroplane - September 23, 1936 by Charles G Grey, the Editor

    Tom Campbell Black was killed at the Liverpool Municipal Aerodrome at Speke on September 19 in an accident of a kind which has happened over and over again without harm to anybody. That Tom Black of all people should have been killed in such an accident is a freak of Fate.

    At present the north side of Speke airport is occupied by 611 West Lancashire (Bomber) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force. On Saturday Tom Black, who had flown up from Gravesend a day or two before in the Mew Gull in which he was to compete in the Johannesburg Race, was demonstrating the machine to the Liverpool people who had backed him in the race. He had made several flights, and an experienced pilot who saw them said that Tom Black's last landing was the best he had ever seen in a Mew Gull or anything else, and that his landings were better and better after each flight.

    To make inspection by the public easier the machine was in a little roped-in enclosure close to the RAF's Bessonneaux temporary sheds. At four o'clock in the afternoon Tom Black started out from this little enclosure intending to fly the machine back to London. His line when taxying out to the proper place from which to take off at the Western side of the aerodrome down by the river against an East wind took him parallel with the boundary of the landing area - necessarily in the direction from which any machine landing into the wind in the ordinary way would arrive.

    At that moment Flying Officer P S Salter, RAF, who had taken one of 611's Harts up for a test, was coming in to land, which he did in a quite orthodox and proper manner - up-wind towards the squadron's sheds.

    Tom Black started taxying out with a man on each wing-tip. A short way from the enclosure he signalled to the men to let go and speeded up to about 15 mph, then he slowed to about 10mph and was to be seen looking at something in the cockpit. That probably accounted for his not seeing the Hart coming in.

    The pilot of the Hart obviously could not see him, and so long as pilots are stuck behind massive motors they never will have a chance of avoiding collisions on the ground.

    Those on the ground saw what was happening, but naturally could do nothing to stop it. The Hart came slowly on, taxying towards the sheds, and the left wing of the Mew Gull hit the left leg of the undercarriage of the Hart, which collapsed. Apparently the first revolution of the airscrew of the Hart after the impact hit the top of the Mew Gull's left wing and the next tore straight across the cockpit. The screw then hit Tom Black, who evidently threw up his hands to protect his head when he saw the Hart looming over him, and the screw hit him on the side so that he died from internal injuries.

    The narrowness of margin between this fatal accident and what might have been merely an annoying collision is shown by the fact that the windscreen, or rather the forward fixed part of the transparent cover of the cockpit, is untouched, as also is the back-board of the cockpit against which the seat rests. A foot either way would have saved him.

    If the machines had met head-on the Hart would probably have removed the motor from the Gull, and though there would have been a fire the impact between the machines would have been so slight that the odds would have been in favour of Tom Black getting out. If the machines had met at a slightly different angle the airscrew of the Hart would probably have chewed up the wing of the Gull and would never have touched the cockpit at all. And naturally if either had been going at different speeds, faster or slower, the collision would never have happened, because the angle of their tracks, which was estimated by an experienced on-looker at about 170 degrees, would just have allowed them to clear one another.

    Tom Campbell Black was born in 1899. He went to the Royal Naval School at Greenwich, where he was when war broke out in 1914. Thence he joined the RNAS at Cranwell in 1917. Naturally he was best known even among aviating people, as co-pilot with CWA Scott, of the de Havilland Comet which won the MacRobertson Trophy and its £10,000 first prize in the race from Mildenhall to Melbourne. Later he added somewhat to his reputation by flying from London to Cairo in something under twelve hours, - but these were minor affairs when compared to his real service to British Aviation as the great pioneer of Air Transport in East Central Africa.

    With the financial help of that far-sighted lady, Mrs Wilson of Nairobi, he started Wilson Airlines, which today is linked up with Imperial Airways, and was the foundation of air transport in our East African colonies. Tom Black himself made thirteen journies by air between Kenya Colony and England, which did much to convince East Africa. Also by way of proving his arguments he flew round the capitals of Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, and Zanzibar in a day.

    For all that work rather than for the merely ephemeral notoriety of hitting up a few records Tom Black deserves to be remembered as one of the builders of British Aviation.

    As an inidvidual Tom Black was one of the most lovable persons I have met. His Service work and his African flying proved that he was all that a man should be, and he had a far-seeing commercial sense, but with it all he had a sort of juvenile charm and simplicity which endeared him to all who knew him at all well. Everything appealed to him as being intensely amusing, and yet he had an earnest and serious side to his character.

    His sense of humour was immense. If only one could get some of his Central African adventures down on paper just as he told them they would be a great success. His story of the Serengetti lion which killed the American tourist who tried to take a kinema picture of it after it had been wounded, and what happened after that, could have been made by Rudyard Kipling into one of his best stories, practically without alteration.

    Another of his endearing qualities was his loyalty to his friends. One found it in his admiration for CWA Scott, and his stories of their partnership in their race to Australia. I might make Charles Scott uncomfortable if I wrote all that Tom Black told me about him, but I do think that it is due to both of them to say that when after the Australian race certain handsome financial offers were made to Charles Scott, as the senior pilot, he insisted that Tom Black should share the proceeds with him - and that in an equally proper spirit Tom refused to share.

    In March 1935 Tom Black married Miss Florence Desmond. Some day the theatre trade will discover that she is one of the World's greatest tragic actresses, as well as one of our greatest comediennes. In fact the last time I saw Tom he was greatly pleased because at last somebody in the theatre trade had offered his wife a real acting part in a play, instead of just regarding her as a genius in funny films and in cabaret. They were a happy couple, and so completely opposite in temperament that their married life was bound to be a success.

    Last year Mr and Mrs Tom Black formed Campbell Black (Aviation) Ltd. to take on any kind of job in aviation. They were the sole directors. The company began its activity by owning a few aeroplanes and letting them out to air circuses and Tom Black used to get quite a lot of fun out of running about the country supervising their activities while preparing bigger schemes. The last time I saw him was on one of those trips to the opening of the Municipal Aerodrome at York. We published a photograph of him at the time. There he was his joyous, boyish self, and that is how I like to remember him.


    I've read this a few times now, and I still can't quite understand what happened at Speke.

    The airport looked like this in 1936:

    We are looking north-west; the River Mersey would be bottom left, off the edge of the photo.

    If there was an East Wind, aircraft would be taking off and landing into it, so Tom would go to the western end of the landing area.

    The Hart would also be landing at the western end, heading east. He would probably land very close to the spot where Tom would be parked, waiting for his turn to take off. The Hart was landing 'up-wind towards the sheds', and then taxied 'towards the sheds'.


    what was the Hart doing taxying back westwards? Apparently the two aircraft hit almost head-on - the left wing of the Gull struck the left undercarriage of the Hart. Surely the Gull was static, as Tom was looking for something in the cockpit and obviously not expecting a Hart bomber to suddenly appear on top of him?


    One explanation is that Tom was parked facing south-south-east, the Hart landed south-west of him and then turned north-west, though I wonder why in that case the Hart pilot didn’t see the Gull.

    Unless (and this seems unthinkable) Tom was taxying across the middle of the landing area, not paying proper attention; the Hart landed, came straight on and hit him.

    Poor Mr Salter; he must have gone through the rest of his life known as the man who killed TCB.


  • de Havilland, Geoffrey

    Capt (later Sir) Geoffrey de Havilland O.M. K.B.E A.F.C Hon.F.R.Ae.S

       1911, aged 29       1936, aged 54

     Geoffrey de Havilland - Wikipedia has his story


  • Diamant, Albert Marc

     Mr Albert Marc Diamant




     b. c.1898. From Warfield, Berkshire.

    Flight, 1939: "Capt. Mark Diamant has been appointed as the new general secretary of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators. He has been associated with the work of the Guild almost since its inception. He was a [WWI] pilot, and was for some five years the manager of the aviation department of the Dominion Motor Spirit Co. Capt. Diamant is well known in the flying club world and is, if we remember correctly, actually a member of some dozens of clubs all over the country."

    Killed in WWII: 30th January 1942, when a Wing Commander, 24 Sqn RAF(O); his remains were cremated at Oxford


  • 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.


  • 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


  • Hattersley, Arthur Patrick Kilvington

      Flt-Lt Arthur Patrick Kilvington Hattersley

        Daily News (London) - Friday 20 November 1936


    RAF from Feb 1918

    "RECORD FLIGHT FROM FRANCE A record flight from Lille (France) London was made last night by British Continental Airways when an air liner their regular dally service completed the 160 miles' Journey In one hour. The machine was piloted by Chief Pilot Captain A. P. K. Hattersley and carried passengers and luggage. Captain Hattersley reported visibility to quite exceptional, and said that the evening light the coast England could be clearly seen before leaving the French side." Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 20 May 1936

    d. 19 Nov 1936 in British Airways (ex-KLM) Fokker F12 G-AEOT, which crashed near Gatwick Airport - "The pilot, Flt Lt A.P.K. Hattersley, was very experienced and had about 5,000 hours logged - he had, however, only done 2 hours in a Fokker F12 prior to the accident."

    "Captain Arthur Patrick Kilvington Hattersley was 36 years old and had been flying since the age of 17. He was a flight lieutenant in the R.A.F. during the war. In 1923 he joined the South African Air Force and returned to England in 1926, becoming an R.A.F. instructor. Hattersley became one of the chief pilots of British Continental Airways, which later merged into British Airways. "


  • Healy, Lewin Edward Alton

      Flt-Lt Lewin Edward Alton Healy



     RAF Cranwell, 1922. Twice mentioned in dispatches.



  • Henshaw, Alexander Adolphus Dumfries

      Mr Alexander Adolphus Dumfries Henshaw

      1932, aged 20



    b. 7th November, 1912.

    The extraordinary Mr Spitfire. Leant to fly in (of all places) Skegness. "After 25 hours solo bought a Comper Swift and in the 1933 King's Cup Race won the Siddley Trophy with it." In 1936, still the youngest competitor in the race.

    d. 24th February, 2007


  • Hope, Walter Laurence

      Capt Walter Laurence 'Wally' Hope

      1917, when a 2nd Lieut in the RFC, aged 20

      1928, aged 31


    Technical director of Air Freight.

    b. 9 Nov 1897 in Walton, Liverpool

    Aged 18, and described as a "trick-cyclist", he was summoned in 1915 for committing a breach of the Realms Act by taking a photograph of one of his Majesty's ships at Barrow; he pleaded not guilty, admitted that he was carrying a camera, and was fined £5.

    A close friend of Bert Hinkler, he made an extensive search over the Alps at his own expense when Bert went missing on his fatal flight in 1934, but then sued the Daily Mirror when they published their hair-raising account of his exploits, "Captain Hope's Ordeal in the Alps". He said there was "not one word of truth in it."

     m. 1920 Marjory [Stone]

    Three-time winner of the King's Cup Race (1927, 1928 and 1932)

    In the 1926 King's Cup race, "he had to descend at Oxford while racing for home in the last lap with a small “airlock" in his petrol pipe, which effectually put his tiny Moth machine out of the running. He landed in a small field - so small that he found it impossible take off again when his minor trouble had been rectified without pushing his  plane through three fields to a broader stretch of country, where he could rise. By this time it was so late that he decided that would abandon the race and go on at his leisure to Hendon.

    Interviewed at his home in Hendon yesterday, Mr. Hope said: “The only thing that I am really disappointed about is that I feel sure that if this trifling mishap had not occurred I should most certainly have won. For three laps I was racing neck and neck with Captain Broad, with an aggregate speed equal to his - between 90 and 91 m.p.h." Daily Herald

    At the end of the 1928 race, "Thinking all was over he proceeded to loop and stunt before landing, and having landed switched on his well known winning smile. Suddenly there was a terrific hooting, and Sir Francis McClean in his white Rolls-Royce came tearing across to tell Hope he had not crossed the finishing line... Within 30 seconds Hope was in the air again, discovered the finishing line, landed, and again switched on the winning smile fortissimo." C G Grey

    Entered for the MacRobertson Race in 1934 (No 24) but didn't take part in the end.

     m. 1954 Hilda L [Stone or Hunt]

    d. Oct 1979 - Isle of Wight


  • 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).


  • 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


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