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Sir John William Alcock (1892–1919) by Ambrose McEvoy, 1919 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Bacon, John Mackenzie (1846–1904), astronomer and aviator, born at Lambourn Woodlands, Berkshire, on 19 June 1846, was the fourth son of John Bacon (1809–1871), vicar of Lambourn Woodlands, a friend and neighbour of Charles Kingsley and Tom Hughes, and his wife, Mary Lousada...

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Bailey [née Westenra], Dame Mary, Lady Bailey (1890–1960), aviator, was born in London on 1 December 1890, the only daughter and the eldest of three children of Derrick Warner William Westenra, fifth Baron Rossmore (1853–1921), and his wife, Mittie Naylor (d...

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Balfour, Harold Harington, first Baron Balfour of Inchrye (1897–1988), airman, businessman, and politician, was born on 1 November 1897 in Farnham, Surrey, the younger son and second of the three children of Colonel Nigel Harington Balfour OBE, a serving officer, of Belton, Camberley, Surrey...

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Albert Ball (1896–1917) by E. N. Birkett, c. 1915–16 The Imperial War Museum, London

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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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Batten, Jean (1909–1982), aviator, was born on 15 September 1909 in Rotorua, New Zealand, the youngest child and only daughter of Frederick Batten, a dentist, and his wife, Ellen Blackmore (1876/7–1966). Frederick was the son of an English immigrant surveyor, James William Batten...

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Roland Prosper Beamont (1920–2001) by William Vanderson, 1958 [with the English Electric P1B Lightning at Farnborough] Getty Images

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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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Noel Pemberton Billing (1881–1948) by Elliott & Fry, 1920s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Sir John Nelson Boothman (1901–1957) by Walter Stoneman, 1946 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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John Theodore Cuthbert Moore- Brabazon, first Baron Brabazon of Tara (1884–1964) by Sir Cecil Beaton, 1940 © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby's; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Bristow, Alan Edgar (1923–2009), helicopter pilot, businessman, and inventor, was born on 3 September 1923 at 202 Bedford Hill, Balham, London, the elder child of Sidney Edgar Bristow (1892–1972), an Admiralty clerk and later naval store officer, and his wife, Betsy, née Falconer...

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Sir Arthur Whitten Brown (1886–1948) by Sir John Lavery by courtesy of Felix Rosenstiel's Widow & Son Ltd., London, on behalf of the Estate of Sir John Lavery / courtesy of the Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum

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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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Bruce [née Petre], Mildred Mary (1895–1990), motorist and aviator, was born on 10 November 1895 at Margaretting, Ingatestone, Essex, the daughter of Lawrence Joseph Petre (1864–1944), landowner, of Coptfold Hall, Essex, and his wife, Jennie Maginness, née Williams (d. 1943), an actress. She was educated at the convent of ...