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Alcock, Sir John William (1892–1919), aviator, was born at Basford House Cottage, Seymour Grove, Old Trafford, Manchester, on 6 November 1892, the eldest son of John Alcock, a domestic coachman and later a horsedealer, and his wife, Mary Whitelegg. He had a boyhood fascination with machines, and after attending the parish school at ...

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Ball, Albert (1896–1917), airman, was born at 301 Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham, on 14 August 1896, the elder son and second of three surviving children of Sir Albert Ball (1863–1946), master plumber, land agent, and sometime mayor of Nottingham, and his first wife, Harriet Mary Page (...

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Beamont, Roland Prosper (1920–2001), air force officer and aviator, was born on 10 August 1920 at 8 Private Road, Enfield, Middlesex, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Clement Beamont, a trade officer with the Foreign Office, and his wife, Dorothy Mary, née Haynes. Educated at ...

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Billing, Noel Pemberton (1881–1948), aviator and self-publicist, was born on 31 January 1881 in Hampstead, the youngest child of Charles Eardley Billing, a Birmingham iron-founder, and his wife, Annie Emilia Claridge. He was educated at the high school, Hampstead; Cumming's College, outside Boulogne...

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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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Blackwell, Sir Basil Davenport (1922–2003), engineer and industrialist, was born on 8 February 1922 at 72 Hollyshaw Lane, Whitkirk, Yorkshire, the son of Alfred Blackwell, engineering company manager, and his wife, Hilda Kathleen Sophia, née Bretherick (later Lloyd). He was educated at Leeds grammar school...

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Boothman, Sir John Nelson (1901–1957), air force officer and aviator, was born at Napier Road, Wembley, Middlesex, on 19 February 1901, the son of Thomas John Boothman, a railway clerk, and his wife, Mary, née Burgess. Educated at Harrow county school he was, in January 1918, too young to enlist in the British forces, so he joined the French ...

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Brabazon, John Theodore Cuthbert Moore-, first Baron Brabazon of Tara (1884–1964), aviator and politician, was born in London on 8 February 1884, the younger son in the family of two sons and two daughters of Lieutenant-Colonel John Arthur Henry Moore-Brabazon (1828–1908), landowner, of ...

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E. C. Shepherd

revised by Peter G. Cooksley

Brown, Sir Arthur Whitten (1886–1948), air navigator and engineer, was born in Glasgow on 23 July 1886, the only child of American parents, Arthur George Brown, an electrical engineer, and his wife, Emma Whitten. Arthur was still an infant when his parents moved their home to ...

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G. P. Bulman

revised by Anita McConnell

Buchanan, Sir John Scoular (1883–1966), aeronautical engineer, was born at Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, on 23 November 1883, the son of Joseph Buchanan, a steel smelter, and his wife, Janet M. Scoular Hogg. They also had another son and a daughter who emigrated to Canada...

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H. A. Jones

revised by Julian Lock

Butler, Frank Hedges (1855–1928), motorist and aviator, was born in London on 17 December 1855, the fifth son of James Butler, wine merchant, of Hollywood, Wimbledon Park, and his wife, Frances Mary, eldest daughter of William Hedges. He was educated at private schools at ...

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Cayley, Sir George, sixth baronet (1773–1857), aeronautical designer, was born on 27 December 1773 in Scarborough, Yorkshire, the only son of Sir Thomas Cayley (1732–1792), and his wife, Isabella Seton (d. 1828); there were also four daughters. After brief schooling in York...

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Chadwick, Roy (1893–1947), aircraft designer, was born at Farnworth, near Widnes, Lancashire, on 30 April 1893, the elder son of Charles Henry Chadwick, a mechanical engineer in Manchester, and his wife, Agnes Bradshaw. Educated at a school in Urmston and at the Manchester College of Technology...

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Cobham, Sir Alan John (1894–1973), aviator, was born on 6 May 1894 at Camberwell, London, the only child to survive of Frederick Cobham, a tailor, and his wife, Elizabeth Burrows. He attended a local council school and Wilson's Grammar School and then started work in a clothes store. In 1912 he became a pupil farmhand. He was a warehouse employee when the First World War was declared. Promptly enlisting, he served as an artillery NCO veterinary assistant in ...

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Cody [formerly Cowdery], Samuel Franklin (1861–1913), showman and aeronautical designer, was born on 6 March 1861 in Davenport, Iowa, USA, the fourth of five children of Samuel Franklin Cowdery (1833–1902), a former Union soldier and jobbing carpenter, and his wife, Phoebe Jane (1834–1900)...

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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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Dowty, Sir George Herbert (1901–1975), aeronautical engineer and industrialist, was born on 27 April 1901 at Pershore, Worcestershire, the son of William Dowty, a druggist and chemist in Pershore, and his wife, Laura Masters. He was the elder of twin boys by half an hour and the seventh son in the family. The twins were educated in a small private school in ...

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Duke, Neville Frederick (1922–2007), air force officer and aviator, was born on 11 January 1922 at 82 Hadlow Road, Tonbridge, Kent, the son of Frederick Herbert Duke (1881–1957), managing clerk for a corn merchant, and his wife, Jane, née Tarbit (1888–1971). Educated at ...

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Edwards, Sir George Robert (1908–2003), aircraft designer and industrialist, was born on 9 July 1908 at 12 The Parade, Highams Park, Walthamstow, Essex, the son of Edwin George Edwards (1872–1938), a tobacconist and confectioner, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth (1872–1908), daughter of Robert Freeman...

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Fage, Arthur (1890–1977), aerodynamicist, was born on 4 March 1890 at Portsmouth, the youngest in a family of two sons and two daughters born to William John Fage (1859–1947), coppersmith at Portsmouth Dockyard, and his wife, Annie Crook (1862–1943). Educated at Portsmouth secondary school...