Mr George Beacall Powell

  1921, aged 22

 george powell

Dick Terry kindly tells me that George Beacall Powell was one of the original 16 pilots for Imperial Airways, and that he was b. 20th April 1899 in Loppington. Sadly, the rest of his story is quite a short one:

"In July 1916 George Powell was a science undergraduate at Keble College Oxford, but he left the University the following year and on 11 June joined the RFC as a Cadet.

On 29 July 1917 he was promoted to 2nd Lt on probation on the General List. In October, after further training he was appointed Flying Officer. In November he attended the Armament Experimental Station Orfordness for bombing & weapons training.

In February 1918 Powell contracted jaundice and it was more than six months before he was allowed to resume flying – but only under close medical supervision. He was eventually declared fit for Home Service flying duties on 15 November 1918.

In January the following year Powell was awarded the Air Force Cross

In February 1919 he was assigned to No 1 Communications Squadron where he remained until September when he was transferred to the unemployed list. He joined Instone Air Line soon after.

In 1923 Powell had to withdraw from the Kings Cup Air Race when his DH 34 could not be spared from its official duties on the London Continental air service.

Powell moved to Imperial Airways when it was formed by the amalgamation of Instone Air Line with three other companies in April 1924.

He died a year later on 19th April in a motoring accident at Mitcham Common. The coroner decided that Powell had been driving negligently and blamed him entirely for the accident – the other driver was cleared of all blame. Shockingly these details were recorded on his death certificate.

His body was taken back to Croydon and then flown, in a D.H. 34, to Shrewsbury Aerodrome. The Times dated 27 April 1925 recorded the event as the first time in the history of aviation that an aeroplane had been used as a hearse. The funeral and interment took place in Stanton, Captain Powell’s home town."


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