Wing Cmdr George Edward Lowdell AFM




Flying instructor at RAF Digby in 1925 (he taught Allen Wheeler to fly, who said of him "How lucky I was with my instructor George Lowdell! Apart from being a magnificent pilot he was the most inspiring teacher").

Instructor with Suffolk and Eastern Counties Aero Club in 1928; later a Wing Commander, and instructor with Shoreham School of Flying.

However, in 1932 he was convicted of drunk-driving:



George Edward Lowdell, 29, an airman instructor, of Belvedere Road, Ipswich, was charged at Colchester on Friday with being drunk in charge of a motor car.

Stanley Elgar, postmaster of Colchester, stated that he was driving his car from Walton-on-the-Naze to Colchester, and just after he had left Weeley he noticed a Morris car in front of him " performing a rather peculiar course all over the road, swerving frequently from the near side to the off.

Several times it mounted the margin of the road, and on one occasion two young ladies had to " skip " quickly out of the way. The speed was never excessive. Near Greenstead Rectory the car was pulled up, and witness went to the driver and said: "Do you realise what you have been doing? You have only just escaped death, and narrowly missed killing other people." Defendant seemed dazed, and when told that he could not go on he said he would have to go on, he had to get to Brooklands tnat night.

Two police-officers came, and defendant was arrested. Replying to Mr. Frampton, witness said the driver did not give him the impression that he was a very tired man. , Arthur Houston, commercial traveller, Thorpe Road, Tendring, who was proceeding in the direction of Colchester, said defendant's car was '' all over the place."

When charged, defendant's reply was so muddled that he could not be understood. Dr. William F. Payne said he came to the conclusion that defendant was drunk. Defendant said he had had some whisky and beer.

 Defendant, in the witness-box, said he was formerly chief instructor to the Suffolk Aero Club, and was now instructor at Brooklands. He had been giving a demonstration at Clacton. He flew to Clacton, and during the day gave exhibitions of trick flying and joy rides. In the morning there was an accident, and he was up in the air longer than usual at upside down flying in order to amuse the crowd. During the day he had nothing alcoholic to drink, but after he had finished flying at 6.30 p.m. he had five beers. He had had nothing to eat since luncheon, and left Clacton at 8 p.m. After a heavy day he felt queer when in the car, and kept dozing.

When he arrived at the police - station he felt 'dead tired," and his whole condition he put down to continuous flying, to having no food, and to the heat of the day.

Edwin Freshfield, an undergraduate, and a pupil of defendant, said the stunt flying defendant did that day imposed a great strain. When defendant left Clacton he was very tired, but not drunk. Mr. Frampton submitted that defendant's condition was due to absolute fatigue.

The Chairman (Mr. C. M. Stanford) said the Bench were unanimous in finding the case proved. While it might have been only an indiscretion, they had to take serious notice of it, and defendant would be fined £5, with £2/5/9 costs. The Bench appreciated the action of those witnesses who had come forward at their own expense and loss of time to protect the public, and to save the defendant himself from further danger. "


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