James Keith Campbell Baines

Born 21st December 1905 in Woodford, Essex. His father, Louis, was a tea and indigo merchant; his elder sister Phillis was born in Calcutta. In 1901 the family lived in Tiverton, Devon; Louis, Lillian, Phillis, Jack, Silsen, Kathleen, and their 3 domestic servants.

He was killed, aged 28, during the MacRobertson Race on 23rd October 1934 when he and Gilman crashed in Italy.

Joined the N.Z.A.F. in 1925, training at Palmerston North and Wairapa.

He arrived in London from New Zealand on March 26, 1934. He sold his Avro "Avian," just before departure, to a brother-officer in the N.Z.A.F. Reserve, and embarked for England in January, via Australia and South Africa. During the ship's stay in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Capetown, Baines kept his hand in with flights on machines hired from the local aero clubs. At the time of the Race, he had flown 3,860 hr.

His "Fox" was purchased at Hounslow from Anderson Aircraft and was modified at Hanworth by N.F.S., Ltd., as a replica of the sister-machine entered by Raymond Parer. Its capacity was increased to 175 galls., and its range to about 1,750 miles.

"Whilst awaiting delivery of the "Fox," Baines has been making approach landings at Mildenhall. He expresses himself delighted with the new aerodrome, its freedom from obstruction, its perfect run, and its billiard-table surface."

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In  July, 1934, James wrote to the organising committee for the race and asked them to 'change the name of the nominator from myself to Mrs Lilian M Campbell-Baines, my mother, who has made it possible for me to enter the Races'.

Baines and Gilman crashed on the 10th of October 1934, and the funeral, at the British Cemetery at Naples, was held on the 26th. The British Air Attache in Rome, Group Captain T Hetherington, undertook all the funeral arrangements; the photographs of the ceremony 'very clearly indicated the profound sympathy of the Italian nation and the honours bestowed on these two officers'.

Sadly, James' brother had also been killed earlier in the year in a gun accident; their eldest brother had been killed during WWI also flying, aged only 19.

Although they had insured the aeroplane, Baines and Gilman hadn't taken out any life insurance.

 

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