Brigadier-General Arthur Corrie Lewin, CB  CMG, DSO


photo: 1931, aged 57


A retired officer, born in Edinburgh, living in Kenya. "I have no great opinion of the value of air-racing today. As a sport it is far behind, say, pig-sticking, steeplechasing or polo".

Address, c/o the Conservative Club, London.

Runner-up in his only King's Cup, though, at the age of 63; impressive.

Heading back to Kenya after the race, he and Mrs Lewin underwent a frightful ordeal; they spent 10 days on a tiny, mosquito-infested island in the Nile swamp after getting lost and making a forced landing. The Whitney Straight entangled its wheels in the grass and nosed over; they had to extricate themselves, to find that they only had a packet of sandwiches and a gallon of water between them, which they made to last for about 3 days.

Luckily they were spotted after 4 days by an Empire Flying boat ('Cassiopeia' - piloted by Capt. John Cecil Kelly-Rogers - which dropped food supplies. The rescue was then organised by telephone from 150 miles away - "the distance of the nearest white man."

Mike Pease tells me that "My father knew him quite well in Kenya many years ago and I met with him on several occasions when I part-owned a Tiger Moth (VP-KDU). The old general caused a real stir when he crash landed in the Sud in Southern Sudan (my father was Commissioner of Police) which resulted in enormous expenditure to rescue him.

At Njoro, where we farmed, he once chopped off the head of a Kikuyu woman who was illegally crossing the airstrip on which he was coming in to land. The propeller on his plane causing the damage! "

Mike Blake added this: "His first a/c, at least a/c with Kenyan connections was DH 60GIII Moth VP-KAU. Next he owned Miles M.2F Hawk Major VP-KBL which was written off at Tilesford Aerodrome Pershore 19 Aug 1935. His second Hawk Major was VP-KBT which was sold in New Zealand as ZK-AFJ. [He also briefly operated DH 80 Puss Moth VP-KCO but this was impressed at the outbreak of WWII.]

The Whitney Straight which came to grief in the Sudan was G-AEZO."

 Mike B also reckons that Mike's Tiger Moth VP-KDU was "more likely VP-KDR which was owned by the General after the War. KDU was a Piper Pacer, in fact the first Piper a/c to appear on the Kenya register."


'Flight' reported his death in 1952: "We regret to hear of the death, in Nairobi last week, of Brigadier-General A. C. Lewin, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., at the age of 78. Known as the "flying general," he took up private flying on retirement from a distinguished military career. He was runner-up in the 1937 King's Cup Air Race, and as recently as this year he won the East African Aerial Derby.

Born in July 1874, Arthur Corrie Lewin was educated at Cheltenham and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He entered the King's Regiment in 1895, served with the Mounted Infantry in South Africa from 1899 to 1902, and joined the 19th Hussars in 1905. He served throughout the 1914-18 war, and was A.D.C. to H.M. the King from 1918 to 1941. In 1931 he learned to fly, at the age of 57, and in the same year flew solo from Britain to Kenya, after only 50 hours' solo. Since then he had owned ten personal aircraft and had flown over 2,500 hours as a private pilot. He flew between Kenya and Britain several times; on one such flight, in 1937, he and his wife were marooned for ten days in a Sudan swamp where his aircraft had force-landed; they were rescued by Dinka tribesmen. In the same year he came second in the King's Cup Air Race, and was also appointed an honorary air commodore, R.A.F.V.R.

During the Second World War he flew as Sub-Area Commander and later as Welfare Officer with the R.A.F. East African Command. On March 2nd of this year, flying a Tiger Moth, General Lewin won the Aerial Derby, main event in the Aero Club of East Africa's Air Rally, and was presented with the East African Standard Cup. A recent and well-deserved award, that of the Royal Aero Club's Bronze Medal, was made in recognition of the General's 'outstanding record of private flying.'"


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