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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 ...

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D'Erlanger, Leo Frederic Alfred (1898–1978), merchant banker and air transport promoter, was born on 2 July 1898 at 6 Hamilton Place, London, the elder of the two children of Baron François Rodolphe D'Erlanger (1872–1932), writer on Arab music and painter, and his wife, ...

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Gower [married name Fahie], Pauline Mary de Peauly (1910–1947), aviator, was born on 22 July 1910 at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the younger of two daughters of Sir Robert Vaughan Gower (1880–1953), solicitor and Conservative MP, and his first wife, Dorothy Susie Elenor (1882–1936)...

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Pauline Mary de Peauly Gower (1910–1947) by Bassano, 1937 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Alexander Adolphus Dumphries Henshaw (1912–2007) by unknown photographer, 1938 collection of Philip Jarrett

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Henshaw, Alexander Adolphus Dumphries [Alex] (1912–2007), aviator, was born on 7 November 1912 in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, one of four children of Albert Henshaw (1888–1964), a wealthy entrepreneur in agriculture, property, and the holiday industry in Lincolnshire. He was educated at Lincoln grammar school...

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Vincenzo Lunardi (1759–1806) by Francesco Bartolozzi, pubd 1784 (after Richard Cosway) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Lunardi, Vincenzo (1759–1806), balloonist, was born at Lucca, Tuscany, on 11 January 1759, and passed his early years in the East Indies before becoming, through the patronage of his guardian, Chevalier Gherado Compangi, secretary to the Neapolitan ambassador to the Court of St James...

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McCudden, James Thomas Byford (1895–1918), airman, was born at the Female Hospital, Brompton, Gillingham, Kent, on 28 March 1895, the third child and second son of William Henry McCudden (1864–1920), a sergeant-major and later a warrant officer in the Royal Engineers, of Carlow, Ireland...

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James Thomas Byford McCudden (1895–1918) by Sir William Orpen The Imperial War Museum, London

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O'Gorman, Mervyn Joseph Pius (1871–1958), electrical and aircraft engineer, was born in Ireland on 19 December 1871, the son of Edmund A. O'Gorman of Harrogate, Yorkshire. After attending Downside School he read classics and science at University College, Dublin, before proceeding, in 1891, to the ...

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Spicer [married name Pearse], Dorothy Norman (1908–1946), aviator and aeronautical engineer, was born on 31 July 1908 at Hadley Wood, Middlesex, the only daughter of Norman Spicer (d. 1936), a stockbroker, and his wife, Hilda Mary Sisterson. She was educated at the ...

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Dorothy Norman Spicer (1908–1946) by Bassano, 1938 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sutch, Peter Dennis Antony (1945–2002), businessman and airline executive, was born on 8 April 1945 at Hitchin, Hertfordshire, the son of Ronald Antony Sutch and his wife, Kathleen, née Roden. Much of his childhood was spent abroad in exotic and often dangerous places. When he was two his father was offered a post with the Anglo-French ...

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Wilberforce [née Ogilvie-Forbes], Marion Katherine (1902–1995), aviator, was born at Boyndlie House, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 22 July 1902, the daughter of John Charles Mathias Ogilvie-Forbes (1850–1941), ninth laird of Boyndlie, and his second wife, Anne Marguerite Prendergast (d. 1950). Her father had originally studied for the Anglican priesthood but was received into the ...