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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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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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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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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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Brackley, Herbert George (1894–1948), air force officer and airline executive, was born in Islington, London, on 4 October 1894, the second of the seven children of George Herbert Brackley, a master tailor, and his wife, Lilian Sarah Partridge. The family later moved to ...

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Butler [née Reid], Lois (1897–1970), aviator and skier, was born on 3 November 1897 at 275 Drummond Street, Montreal, Canada, the only daughter and second of the five children of Sir William Duff Reid (1866–1924) and his wife, Minnie Cormack (d...

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Sir George Cayley, sixth baronet (1773–1857) by Henry Perronet Briggs, 1840 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Coxwell, Henry Tracey [pseud. Henry Wells] (1819–1900), balloonist, was born at the parsonage at Wouldham, near Chatham, Kent, on 2 March 1819, the youngest son of Commander Joseph Coxwell of the Royal Navy (1774?–1832) and his wife Ann Godfry (probably née Reeves)...

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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 George Robert Edwards (1908–2003) by Godfrey Argent © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Douglas Graham Gilmour (1885–1912) by unknown photographer Sylvia Adams

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Gilmour, Douglas Graham (1885–1912), engineer and aviator, was born at Dartford, Kent, on 7 March 1885, the elder son of the large family of East India merchant David Gilmour (d. 1907), formerly of Shanghai, and his wife, Margaret Jane Muirhead (d...

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Charles Green (1785–1870) by Hilaire Ledru, 1835 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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G. C. Boase

revised by Julian Lock

Green, Charles (1785–1870), balloonist, was born at 92 Goswell Road, London, on 31 January 1785, the son of Thomas Green, hat maker, and his wife, Anne. He was baptized a year later, on 1 February 1786, at St Luke's, Old Street, Finsbury. On leaving school he was taken into his father's business. At some point in or before 1807 he married ...

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Green, Gustavus (1865–1964), aero-engine designer, was born in Hounslow, Middlesex, on 11 March 1865. He subsequently took the surname of his stepfather, Samuel Green. At the age of about sixteen he moved to Hastings where he was in turn a jeweller and a hairdresser; in 1897 he moved to ...