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Samuel Franklin Cody (1861–1913) by unknown photographer, 1912 [at the controls of his aeroplane Cathedral] Getty Images

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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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Critchley, Alfred Cecil (1890–1963), greyhound racing promoter and aviation administrator, was born at Stapleton ranch, near Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the first of the two sons of Oswald Assheton Critchley (d. 1935), ranch owner, and his first wife, Maria Cecil, née Newbolt (...

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James Burnley

revised by Julian Lock

Gale, George Burcher (1794–1850), balloonist, is believed to have been born at Fulham in May 1794. Originally an actor in small parts in London minor theatres, he became a great favourite of the theatre proprietor Andrew Ducrow. In 1831 he went to America...

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Perring, William George Arthur (1898–1951), aerodynamicist and government scientist, was born on 16 December 1898 in Gillingham, Kent, the eldest son of John Richard Brooking Perring, a shipwright, and his wife, Alice Johns, both formerly of Devon. In 1913 he commenced a seven-year apprenticeship at the ...

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William George Arthur Perring (1898–1951) by Bassano, 1946 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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(William) Miles Webster Thomas, Baron Thomas (1897–1980) by Walter Stoneman, 1943 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas, (William) Miles Webster, Baron Thomas (1897–1980), motor company and airline executive, was born on 2 March 1897 at Garfield Villa, Cefn Mawr, near Ruabon, Denbighshire, north Wales, the son of William Henry Thomas, retired furniture dealer and restorer, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth (Polly), ...

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Tytler, James [called Balloon Tytler] (1745–1804), balloonist and radical, was born on 17 December 1745 at the manse at Fern, Forfarshire, the fourth child of George Tytler (1705/6–1785), Church of Scotland minister in the presbytery of Brechin, and his wife, Janet Robertson (...

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James Tytler (1745–1804) by Hannah Crowninshield, 1804 photography courtesy Peabody Essex Museum