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Sir James Bird (1883–1946) by Walter Stoneman, 1946 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Blackburn, Robert (1885–1955), aircraft designer and manufacturer, was born on 26 March 1885 at Kirkstall near Leeds, the eldest of three sons of George William Blackburn, an engineer, and his wife, Kate, née Naylor. His career was influenced by his engineering background—George Blackburn...

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Bradfield, Frances Beatrice (1895–1967), aeronautical engineer, was born at Ashbourne Street, Leicester, on 9 October 1895, the only daughter and youngest of three surviving children of William Bradfield (1860–1923) and his wife Annie Mary, née Lanning (1864–1946). Her father was a Wesleyan minister, the son of a farmer and miller from ...

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See Crossley, Francis William

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Cunningham, John [Cats-Eyes Cunningham] (1917–2002), aviator and businessman, was born on 27 July 1917 at Canley, 17 Castlemaine Avenue, Croydon, Surrey, the elder son and third of the four children of Arthur Gillespie Cunningham (d. 1930), company secretary of the Dunlop Rubber Company...

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Sir Roy Hardy Dobson (1891–1968) by Walter Stoneman, 1949 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Edwards, Joseph Robert (1908–1997), motor manufacturer and industrialist, was born on 5 July 1908 at 169 Church Road, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, the youngest son of Walter Smith Edwards, marine engineer and later Lloyds surveyor, and his wife, Annie, née Wilkinson. He was educated at ...

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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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Sir (Charles) Richard Fairey (1887–1956) by Cuthbert Julian Orde, c. 1930–34 Royal Aeronautical Society Library

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Farman, Henry (1874–1958), aviator and aircraft manufacturer, was born in Paris on 28 May 1874, though both of his parents were British. His father, a journalist, had long been resident in France, so that the first language of his three sons was French. ...

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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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Sir Geoffrey de Havilland (1882–1965) by Sir Oswald Birley, 1940 reproduced with permission of BAE Systems plc

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Hearle, Francis Trounson (1886–1965), aircraft manufacturer, was born at West End Terrace, Penryn, Cornwall, on 12 September 1886, the second child of James Hearle, a dealer in agricultural machinery, and his wife, Helen Trounson. After his education at Trevethan grammar school in Falmouth...

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Hives, Ernest Walter, first Baron Hives (1886–1965), aero-engine designer and industrialist, was born on 21 April 1886 at 20 Cholmeley Road, Earley, Reading, the twelfth child of John William Hives, a factory clerk, of Reading, and his wife, Mary Washbourne. He was educated at ...

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Hunting, Sir Percy Llewellyn (1885–1973), shipping and aviation entrepreneur, was born on 6 March 1885, at Deep Dene House, Newcastle upon Tyne, the eldest son of Charles Samuel Hunting (1853–1921), a successful shipowner of Newcastle upon Tyne, and his wife, Agnes Mona Arthur...

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Keary [married name Smith-Keary], Eily Marguerite Leifchild (1892–1975), naval architect and aeronautical design engineer, was born at Blenkarn, Elmbourne Road, Upper Tooting, London, on 12 October 1892, the second of the five daughters of Peter Keary (1865–1915) and his wife, ...

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Kenneth Alexander Keith, Baron Keith of Castleacre (1916–2004) by Brian Griffin, 1977 © Brian Griffin; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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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, ...