King's Cup - 1936

  • -King's Cup - 1936

    Friday 10/Saturday 11th July, 1936. Hatfield.

     Click here to see the Newsreel!

    Weather: Poor. Low cloud and rain all of Day 1. Day 2 started better but then more rain.

    Story of the Race:

    Pilot Aircraft   Race No Fate
    Mr E W Percival Percival E.2H Mew Gull G-AEKL 1 4th
    Flt-Lt J B Wilson B.A. Double Eagle IV G-AEIN 2 3rd
    Flt-Lt T Rose Miles M.2U Hawk Speed Six G-ADOD 4 2nd
    Mr W Humble Miles M.2E Speed Six G-ACTE 5 5th
    Mr C WA Scott Miles M.3B Falcon Six G-ADLC 6 13th
    Flt-Lt R EMB Milne Miles M.2L Hawk Speed Six G-ADGP 7 eliminated on Day 1
    Mr R J Waight de Havilland Technical School T.K.2 G-ADNO 8 6th
    Mr P H Maxwell Miles M.5 Sparrowhawk G-ADNL 9 9th
    Mr J HG McArthur Miles M.5 Sparrowhawk G-ADWW 10 disqualified
    Mr S W Sparkes Percival D.3 Gull Six G-ADMI 11 eliminated on Day 1
    Mr R Falk Percival D.3 Gull Six G-ADZO 12 7th
    Mr J D Kirwan Parnall Heck 2C G-ACTC 13 retired at Bristol - damaged undercarriage
    Mr P Q Reiss Percival P.10 Vega Gull G-AELE 14 retired at Shoreham - nosed over and damaged propeller
    Lt P Randolph Percival P.10 Vega Gull G-AEKD 15 eliminated on Day 1
    Lt D Misri Chand Percival P.10 Vega Gull G-AEAB 16 eliminated on Day 1
    Mr Charles E Gardner Percival P.10 Vega Gull G-AEKE 17 Winner
    Mr H J Wilson Comper Swift G-ABWH 19 11th
    Mr W L Hope B.A. Double Eagle IV G-ADVV 20 retired - oil or fuel system trouble
    Mr Geofrey R de Havilland D.H.90 Dragonfly G-ADNA 21 8th
    Mr T HO Richardson Comper Swift G-ABWW 22 10th
    Mr J H Mathew Miles M.2H Hawk Major G-ADLA 23 crashed at Shoreham - overshot boundary
    Flt-Lt D WF Bonham-Carter Miles M.2H Hawk Major G-AEGR 24 14th
    Mrs Amy Mollison B.A. Eagle I G-ACRG 25 retired - undercarriage trouble
    Mr C F Hughesdon Miles M.2F Hawk Major G-ACYO 26 "Sent to Coventry" (?)
    Flt-Lt E A Clouston Miles M.3A Falcon Major G-AEFB 27 12th
    Mr Alex Henshaw D.H. 85 Leopard Moth G-ACLO 28 retired at Brockworth - low oil pressure


    Starters: 26 (out of 28 entries)

    Did not start:

    Sir Charles Rose Percival P.10 Vega Gull G-AEEM 18  
  • -The Aviators

    The Aviators

  • Bonham-Carter, David William Frederick

      Flt-Lt David William Frederick Bonham-Carter CB, DFC

      photo: 1921, aged 20

      photo: 1930, aged 29

     No, I don't think he's related to Helena. He was related to Florence Nightingale, though!

    b. 22 February 1901; an RAF Officer at Martlesham Heath in 1936, later Group Capt and Station Commander at RAF Waddington in WWII, despite being stone deaf by then; seconded to RCAF and involved in Canada with the Empire Training Plan, then Air Commodore (first President of Newark Air Museum).

    Died 1974 in Ipswich.


  • Chand, Dewan Misri

     Lt Dewan Misri Chand

      in 1936

    b. 11 October 1907

    'Infantry Officer in the Indian Army who learned to fly with the Bombay Flying Club and has followed the sport with zest. He won the Viceroy's Cup Race in February, flying a hired Club Gipsy Moth, and came to England to have a shot at higher game.'

    Also entered for the Schlesinger (Portsmouth - Johanesburg) Race in 1936, but the aircraft was not ready in time.

    Later, a Major General.

    d. 13 March 1970.

    On 22 October 2009, the Indian Post Office issued a stamp in his honour.


  • Clouston, Arthur Edmond

     F/O Arthur Edmond Clouston

      in 1936, aged 28

    Famous D.H. Comet pilot, from New Zealand. Civil Test pilot at RAE Farnborough in 1936. Flew Desoutters in other races.

      With the Brittania Trophy

    © The Royal Aero Club [0654-0280]


    d. 1984

  • 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


  • 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]

  • Gardner, Charles Exton

     Mr Charles Exton Gardner

       1931, aged 25


     Aeronautical engineer 'with his own aerodrome at home in Surrey'. Always nice to have.

    "Flew to India [in 1936] to compete in the Viceroy's Cup Race"

  • 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


  • Hughesdon, Charles Frederick

      Mr Charles Frederick Hughesdon

     mini - c f hughesdon 1933, aged 24



    Lloyds Insurance Broker; he married actress Florence Desmond after Tom Campbell Black's death.

    Honorary Flying Instructor to the Insurance Flying Club at Hanworth


  • Humble, William

      Mr William 'Bill' Humble MBE


     photo: 1930, aged 19



    b. 14 April 1911 in Doncaster

    The Aeroplane described him in 1936 as "A mining engineer... has to climb up several thousand feet to get into his Speed Hawk Six - from the bottom of the family coal mine." (Ha!)

    [From 1937 his father, also called William, was Chairman of the Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries, Ltd, until they were nationalised. William Snr was a keen racehorse owner; his horse 'Nearula' won the 2000 Guineas in 1953 and he died in 1964 aged 89.]

    Bill didn't work in the family coal mine, however.

    From 1939 to 1948, he was test pilot for Hawkers - initially testing Hurricanes, right up to the prototype Sea Hawk - then later in their Sales Department in the Middle East.

    d. 1 Mar 1992

    His grand-daughter is Kate Humble, the TV presenter. (See 'Who Do You Think You Are', Series 6). She says 'He was unbelievably handsome... a rogue, a very good-looking rogue. I was 23 when he died. He lived abroad, but came back to England in the late 1980s, when he got ill. Because he wasn't a good father to my father, and didn't really like children, I only got to know him better when I was an adult.'


  • Johnson, Amy

    Amy Johnson (Amy Mollison)

    Royal Aero Club Certificate 8662 (28 Jun 1929)

     amy johnson 1929 1929




    Amy Johnson, Hull's Finest

    a.k.a. Amy Mollison

    Born 1st July 1903 in Kingston upon Hull;  Amy was 'a slight young woman with heavily lidded eyes, dentured teeth, a shy smile and a soft Yorkshire accent' [she later developed a rather fake upper-class BBC one, possibly under her husband Jim's influence].

     By 1929, a secretary (albeit one with an economics degree, and an engineer's licence to go with her aviator's certificate) turned solo record-breaking pilot and all-round nation's sweetheart. Married for six years to Jim Mollison (which was a Big Mistake).

    On May 26th, 1932, after her solo flight from America, Amelia Earhart was the guest of the Royal Aero Club in London, and amongst the ladies in attendance were Lady Bailey, Amy, and Winifred Spooner (less than a year before her untimely death).


    Air Transport Auxiliary in WWII (Died in Service)

    Amy's aircraft included:

    a 1928 DH.60G Gipsy Moth (G-AAAH) which she named 'Jason', and is now in the Science Museum;

    a 1930 DH.80A Puss Moth, G-AAZV, 'Jason II';

    a 1930 DH.60G Gipsy Moth, G-ABDV, er, 'Jason III'.

    After 1930 she owned:

    a 1932 DH.60G III Moth Major, G-ABVW,... ummm, let me guess... yes... 'Jason 4', and

    a 1932 DH.80A Puss Moth, G-ACAB, 'The Desert Cloud'.


  • Kirwan, John Daniel

      Mr John Daniel Kirwan

     1933, aged 20



    From Perth, 'a student'


  • Mathew, James Knox

      Mr James Knox Mathew

      1930, aged 24



    an Army Officer. Address c/o the Guards Club, London


  • Maxwell, Patrick H

      Mr Patrick H Maxwell




    "Joined the RAF in 1930. Learned to fly at Sealand. Flew Bulldogs with No 17 (Fighter) Squadron at Upavon and finished with two years as test pilot at Martlesham. Instructor at the Phillips and Powis Civil Training School."


  • McArthur, James Henry Gordon

      Mr James Henry Gordon 'Butch' McArthur


    photo: 1935, aged 24



    37925 Flight Lieutenant James Henry Gordon ‘Butch’ MacArthur DFC

    Born in Tynemouth on 12th February 1913, MacArthur became a civil pilot in the 1930’s, at one time holding the London to Baghdad speed record. He took an RAF Short Service Commission in 1936, being Commissioned as an Acting Pilot Officer on the 6th, and on 18th July was posted to No.9 Flying Training School at Thornaby where he became a full Pilot Officer on 11th October. He then joined the Station Flight at Aldergrove on 14th January 1937 and was promoted Flying Officer on 11th May. On 1st October 1938 he was posted to the Experimental Section, Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough as a test pilot.

    MacArthur was posted to 238 Squadron at Middle Wallop as a Flight Commander in June 1940, having become a Flight Lieutenant on 11th May, before joining 609 at Middle Wallop as B Flight Commander on 1st August 1940 under S/Ldr Darley. On 8th August whilst flying Spitfire R6977 he destroyed two Ju.87’s off the Isle of Wight at 12:30hrs, and destroyed a Bf.110 on the 11th, again in R6977, 15 miles south south east of Swanage at 10:15hrs. Flying R6977 again he claimed a Bf.110 probably destroyed on the 12th and Claimed a Bf.109 damaged on the 13th August flying R6977. On 15th August he destroyed two Bf.110's in R6769, one northwest of Southampton and the other 15 miles south south west of this. He claimed another Bf.110 Destroyed on the 25th in X4165 at 17:20hrs in the Warmwell / Poole area and on 7th September he destroyed a Do.17Z in L1008, damaging a Do.215 just over a week later on the 15th in R6979 during an action in which he suffered an oxygen failure at 25,000ft. Attacked by Bf.109’s he lost consciousness and came to just in time to pull out of a high-speed dive at a low altitude. The damage to his ears was to require future hospital treatment, but on the 16th he flew Spitfire R6922 to Hamble for repair. The Air Speed Indicator began to malfunction so he decided to follow another aircraft down onto the runway, much to the chagrin of the pilot of the other aircraft who then went around for another circuit. McArthur followed him for a few more circuits until he finally landed, forgetting to lower his undercarriage in the process and writing off the aircraft. ‘I didn’t like the thing anyway’ he is recorded as saying.

    Following medical tests Butch handed over command of B Flight to Flight Lieutenant Dundas, after which he was not allowed to fly above 5,000 feet and in consequence was not able to return to operations, although on 25th September flying X4165 he had destroyed another Bf.110 (reported as a Jaguar) over Bournemouth. MacArthur was awarded the DFC on 22nd October 1940, announced on the 9th in Squadron Routine Orders, and was portrayed by Captain Cuthbert Orde in November.

    Subsequently employed on what he called ‘stooge jobs’, he was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader on 1st September 1941, being promoted to Wing Commander on 1st January 1944.

    Released from the RAF in 1947 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in Edmonton, Alberta in 1948 and was posted to the Winter Experimental Establishment, testing RAF and Royal Navy aircraft. In 1949 he turned his hand to air racing and was granted leave for the races, acquiring Spitfire MkXIVe TZ138 on 4th August 4th, 1949 in partnership with F/Lt Ken Brown DFC, who had been a Flight Sergeant with 617 Squadron on the Dams raid. Purchasing the Spitfire for $1250, registering it as CF-GMZ on 25th August.

    Sponsored by Pat Reid of Imperial Oil, who told Brown 'you have a sure winner on your hands', and granted a Class F racing certificate of serviceability by the Department of Transport, Butch flew from Edmonton via Toronto and raced in the Tinnerman Air Races at Cleveland, Ohio as number 80, finishing in third place in the Thompson Trophy on 4th September 1949 and receiving a substantial prize for his efforts. MacArthur left the airfield the following morning at 06:00hrs with the winnings and without filing a flight plan or informing F/Lt Brown, later selling the aircraft for $1000 to apparently pay for race debts despite the sponsorship.

    He was transferred shortly afterwards and served in Canada, the United States and Japan and being awarded the United Nations Korea Medal and the Canadian Forces Decoration.

    He was badly injured in an accident involving two cars in 1957, ending up in a hospital in Montreal and leaving the airforce soon afterwards, moving to Mexico. He married and divorced after a few years but remained in Mexico and is reputed to have joined the Mexican Air Force.

    Wing Commander ‘Butch’ MacArthur was killed in a flying accident at the Las Vegas Airshow in May 1961 at the age of 48 and was buried with full military honours through the help of the Vancouver Legion. His medals were sold at Sothebys in 1986.


  • Milne, Robert E M B

      Flt-Lt Robert E M B Milne

      1936, aged 36



    "Born in Canada in 1900 and educated at Brandon, Manitoba and Christchurch, Oxford. Saw active service in the air during 1917 and has been instructing for 13 years. Has collected 6,000 hours and has an A.1. Category, CFS. During five years at Cranwell he taught three Groves Memorial prizewinners [for the best all-round pilot in the senior term]."

    Left the RAF in 1931 and joined National Flying Services at Reading, later taken over by Miles Aircraft for whom be became chief pilot. 1936-8, instructor at Skegness for Aircraft Distributors, Ltd. Post-war, Airspeed's senior test pilot at Portsmouth.

    "Robert Milne, in his younger days, was a great athlete. For Cranwell he played rugger, hockey, cricket and was in the College boxing team. In 1923 he won the welterweight championship of the R.A.F. and, in the same year, was runner-up in the Inter-services championship."


  • Percival, Capt Edgar Wikner

      Capt Edgar Wikner Percival

      1930, aged 32



    Australian aeronautical genius who ended up in the USA and New Zealand, via Luton.

    b. 23 Feb 1897 in Albury, N.S.W. In 1915, while training in England, he became only the third person on record to recover from a spin (supposedly, Fred Raynham [q.v.] was the first). He later wrote: "After that I found that spinning was great fun and spun a Bristol Scout the next day. Very much later, on the Western Front, I found a spin was a very speedy way of dropping on the enemy - especially through a handy cloud."

    Designer, and pilot, of some of the finest racing and record-breaking aeroplanes of all time.

    "He always flies his rakish Mew Gulls in a soft felt hat and tries to look as much unlike an intrepid birdman as possible, though he has never yet deceived the handicappers by this ruse." 

      King's Cup 1934; sans trilby, for once

    Flight said he "has an uncanny navigational sense in thick weather, but sometimes flies pensively past his destination in 100-mile visibility".

    Michael Madigan wrote: "It was very difficult to resist his puckish humour and not to fall under his spell... In his early flying days he had a fox-terrier called Ginger Mick. This dog always sat in the [open] rear cockpit tethered to a spar. One day as Edgar was preparing to land he went into a loop to lose height, forgetting about his passenger. After levelling off he heard strange scrabbling noises from the back and looking out saw Ginger Mick frantically dog-paddling in the air suspended by his lead. Edgar managed to manoevre Ginger back into the plane, and after landing he thought he would never see Ginger Mick again as he rushed off, but Ginger was as persistent an aviator as his master and reappeared, to settle in his place at start-up, large as life, and eager for more."

     In 1956, with the EP.9 'Prospector'. And trilby.

    © The Royal Aero Club


    d. 21 Jan 1984; his ashes were taken by the RAAF "to be scattered in the very field in Richmond, N.S.,W., where it all began."

    "Edgar Percival had a strong character, a high mental and moral sense, and was a perfectionist - the qualities which made him successful. He was the dominant presence which compelled attention in a group. This dominance arose from his vast knowledge of aviation in all its aspects... all this and his strength of will did not make him an easy associate. He could see problems clearly, had the energy to solve them, and drove himself relentlessly, which made him rather intolerant of those less gifted."

    (All quotes via Martin Barraclough, for which many thanks)


  • Randolph, Patrick

      Lt Patrick Randolph

      1933, when 2nd Lieut in the Grenadier Guards, aged 20.


      in 1936


    b 25 Jan 1912 in Chelsea, London.

    His parents (American-born Arthur Bertram Randolph and Enid Saffron Pickersgill-Cunliffe) had made the society pages when they had a 'best girl' as well as a best man at their wedding in 1908.

    However, his father was killed in WWI, his mother remarried (becoming Saffron Duberly, and 'lady of the manor' in St Neots) and in 1924 she and Mr Duberly sailed off to Jamaica, leaving the 12-year-old Patrick to go with his aunt Adelaide to the USA, presumably to visit family (his grandfather Arthur Randolph Randolph had emigrated and died there in 1885).

    It seems that Patrick subsequently lived with his aunt Adelaide and her husband Lionel in Dorset - he always quoted their address as his own, and again visited the USA with her in 1935.

    In December of 1933, he and fellow-officer Capt Goschen flew (in Pat's Percival Gull) to Egypt to take up an appointment at the Flying School for 2 years. Whilst there, he took part in the 'Oases Circuit Air Race' along with 31 others from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Jugoslavia, Sweden and Belgium.

    He "sportingly flew up for the race round the Isle of Man in 1936 during 48 hours leave and flew back the same night".

    He took part in several other races, e.g. the Folkestone Air Trophy in August 1933; the London-Cardiff Race in 1936, and the Manx Air Race in June 1937. He entered for the Schlesinger Race in 1936 (as co-pilot to Lt Misri Chand) but the aeroplane wasn't ready in time.

    He owned 4 aeroplanes:

    - G-AACV, a 1928 Avro Avian IVM;

    - G-ACJW, a 1933 Percival Gull which was sold in Australia in 1934 and became VH-UTC;

    - G-ACUL, a 1934 Gull Six (sold in New Zealand, becoming ZK-AES), and finally

    - G-AEKD, a 1936 Vega Gull.

    It was this aircraft in which he was killed in a crash in Jaipur, India on 12 October 1937, aged 25. P Q Reiss (q.v) was also seriously injured in the same accident.

    A few weeks before his death, he and his uncle-in-law Lionel had been the joint executors for the will of his father's half-brother, Judge Joseph Randolph J.P., selling Eastcourt Estate ('A Georgian house with 484 acres, garages, stabling, and 9 cottages').

    (His mother Saffron's son by her second marriage was also killed, in WWII. Her second husband died in 1951; she herself died in 1980).


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