Mr Lionel Maxwell Joachim Balfour

  photo: 1930, aged 25

 b. 11 Dec 1905.

Ian Long kindly tells me that "  Christopher Balfour, Lionel's son, published a lovely book about him in 1999 called "Spithead Express: The Pre-War Island Air Ferry and Post-War Plans" (Magna Press, ISBN 0 95194423 8 7), copies of which can be found on Ebay from time to time."
"Lionel gained a degree in engineering and served his apprenticeship at English Electric. He was left with a substantial amount of money following the death of his mother in 1928. He owned Puss Moth G-ABIY, which his sister Rachel had in fact won in a raffle. He housed it at Hanworth with his Moth G-ABJH.
He was aware of the need for an air link between Portsmouth and Ryde on the Isle of Wight and put a considerable amount of money into Wight Aviation, of which he was a director, in 1931. A Klemm G-ABJX and a Spartan 3-seater G-ABLJ were used by the firm. In 1932, the company attracted Francis 'Lux' Luxmoore who also became a director and the name was changed to Portsmouth, Southsea &  Isle of Wight Aviation (P.S.&I.O.W.A.). The venture proved to be a great success, with their pale blue, buff and silver livery. Airspeed were keen to use P.S.&I.O.W.A. to show off their products and the air ferry used 6 Couriers, 1 Ferry and 1 Envoy. The air ferry were also keen Monospar customers."
Another director of PS&IOWA was Sir Charles Rose (q.v.).

He married Lady Myrtle, 24-year old third daughter of the Admiral of the Fleet Lord Jellicoe, in 1932, and here they are after the nuptuals:

mini - lmj balfour and lady myrtle

She died after an operation on 10 November, 1945 though, and he married twice more.

"All of the air ferry aircraft were impressed into service when WWII began and so the company's engineers began to carry out contract work for their neighbours, Airspeed. By the time the war began the company had already manufactured 31 pairs of Oxford wings for Airspeed. Balfour's company undertook a complete rebuild of an Oxford and thus became a part of the Nuffield repair organisation. By the time the war ended they had repaired or modified over 1,000 Oxfords. Keen to restart the air ferry using De Havilland Dragon Rapides, Balfour managed to get a severely restricted charter service going but it ceased by the end of 1947. Now presented as a fully fledged engineering company it looked to others sources of revenue. P.S.&I.O.W.A. became Portsmouth Aviation and designed and built the Portsmouth Aerocar G-AGTG. It was displayed at the 1947 and 1948 S.B.A.C. air shows. Despite great interest in the Aerocar at home and in India, the venture was stalled. During the latter half of the 20th century the company were constructing military ordnance carriers and loaders.

Lionel Balfour died in 1973."


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