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Bird, Sir James (1883–1946), naval architect and aircraft manufacturer, was born on 19 March 1883 in London, the second son of Samuel Bird, merchant, of East Cowes, Isle of Wight, and his wife, Freda. He was educated at Marlborough School, where he was a prefect, played in the hockey eleven, and captained the football fifteen. He next served an apprenticeship with ...

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Dobson, Sir Roy Hardy (1891–1968), aircraft manufacturer, was born at Horsforth, Yorkshire, on 27 September 1891, the eldest child of Horace Dobson, farmer, and his wife, Mary Ann Hardy. He became an engineering apprentice with T. and R. Lees, a firm then operating in ...

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J. L. Pritchard

revised by Robin Higham

Fairey, Sir (Charles) Richard (1887–1956), aircraft manufacturer, was born in Hendon, London, on 5 May 1887, the son of Richard Fairey, mercantile clerk, timber merchant, and failed importer, and his wife, Frances Jackson. His father died in 1898 leaving his family almost penniless. Both his mother and father could trace their histories back to Elizabethan times, and both families were famous as carriage builders in the old coaching days, providing a rich font of historical memories which made a deep impression on ...

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Havilland, Sir Geoffrey de (1882–1965), aircraft and aero-engine designer and manufacturer, was born at Magdala House, Terriers Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, on 27 July 1882, second of three sons of the Revd Charles de Havilland (1854–1920) and his first wife, Alice Jeannette (1854–1911), daughter of ...

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Keith, Kenneth Alexander, Baron Keith of Castleacre (1916–2004), merchant banker and industrialist, was born on 30 August 1916 at the Wicken House, Castle Acre, Norfolk, the elder of the two sons of Edward Charles Keith (1877–1972), farmer and natural history author, and his wife, ...

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Morris, William Richard, Viscount Nuffield (1877–1963), motor manufacturer and benefactor, was born on 10 October 1877 in the parish of St John, Worcester, the eldest son of Frederick Morris (1849–1916) from Witney and his wife, Emily Ann (d. 1934), daughter of Richard Pether...

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Shilling [married name Naylor], Beatrice (1909–1990), mechanical and aeronautical engineer, was born at Sydney House, Waterlooville, Hampshire, on 8 March 1909, the youngest of three daughters of Henry Shilling (1852–1936) and his wife, Annie (Nancy), née Dulake (1873–1954...

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Siddeley, John Davenport, first Baron Kenilworth (1866–1953), manufacturer of motor vehicles and aero-engines, was born on 5 August 1866 at Cheadle Hulme, the eldest son of William Siddeley and Elizabeth, née Davenport. He was no academic, and left school to work in his father's business as an apprentice hosier. The meagre rewards led him to enrol in evening classes, where he developed his mechanical acumen to the extent that in 1885 he began designing bicycles. On 9 March 1893 he married ...

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Thomas, George Holt (1870–1929), aviation industrialist, was born on 31 March 1870 at Hampton House, Stockwell Private Road, in south London, the seventh son of William Luson Thomas (1830–1900), founder of the illustrated weekly Graphic and Daily Graphic newspapers, and his wife, Annie Carmichael...