M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
Flight, November 18, 1911.
At Brooklands, the new Martin-Handasyde monoplane is now off the stocks, and is undergoing its trials. As our readers are aware, this machine is built on exceptionally pretty lines, and for excellence of workmanship and detail design it would be impossible to find a better example in this or any other country. Its flying capabilities are equally as good, and under the pilotage of such an experienced aviator as Tom Sopwith it bids fair to attain considerable success.
Flight, February 24, 1912.
THE LATE MR. GRAHAM GILMOUR.
SATURDAY last, February 17th, was a day of mourning for the entire aviation industry, for just before noon on that day Douglas Graham Gilmour, one of our foremost English pilots, was claimed a victim to the triumphal progress of aviation. Enthusiastic, skilful, active, daring, but with his daring always tempered with a certain caution, he was one of those pilots whom the science and practice of heavier-than-air locomotion could little afford to lose. The details embracing this tragic incident are briefly these. Shortly after 11 o'clock he started away from Brooklands on the Antoinette-engined Martin-Handasyde monoplane, with the intention of making a cross-country flight. That he did not intend to fly to Hendon or down the river is rather borne out by the fact that he gave his mechanics to understand he would return within the hour. Passing over the Old Deer Park at Richmond at a height of what is generally estimated to be 400 ft., the machine, apparently without any warning, suddenly failed, and with its occupant was dashed to earth, a tangled mass of wreckage. Poor Gilmour, as we all know, was killed instantaneously. At the inquest, which was held on the following Tuesday morning, a verdict of "accidental death " was recorded, coupled with the remark that the jury were of the opinion that something must have happened to the machine to have caused the accident, although the evidence was not sufficient to show what. Eye-witnesses gave evidence to the effect that the left wing broke in the air, but that all truss-wires were found intact when the wreckage was examined rather casts a doubt upon this theory. At the same time, knowing Mr. Graham Gilmour's ability at the lever, and even taking into consideration that he had recently complained of a certain giddiness when flying, it seems difficult to connect the cause of the accident to any failing on the part of the pilot. The theory that the accident was due to the peculiar internal condition of the air on Saturday appears to be the most tenable, and this would account, if the failing of the wing explanation is entertained, for the abnormal strain that would be necessary to rupture so strongly and conscientiously constructed a wing as those with which the Martin-Handasyde machine was equipped. In every part of the south of England where flying was indulged in on Saturday last, this extraordinary condition of the atmosphere was noticed. At Brooklands flying was abandoned for a considerable time for that reason. At Hendon, Ewen, while flying his Deperdussin about mid-day, met with a "pocket," which, although he was turning to the right, had the effect of banking his machine heavily in the opposite sense to that necessary for the turn. With full warp and full rudder, and diving steeply, the dangerous cant of his machine was not corrected until he had dropped, in his estimation, 200 ft. At Eastchurch, Lieut. Longmore, at a height of 2,000 ft., met with a "pocket" of so serious a nature that he asserts he has no desire for a repetition of the experience. Lieut. Lawrence at Shoreham had noticed a similar state of affairs. The accident that Capt. Gilbert de Winckels sustained at Salisbury Plain has also been attributed to these abnormal conditions in the air.
If this theory that the wing broke in the air is entertained, we can but cite the occurrence as an appalling example of bad luck, for to us it is altogether unnatural to connect structural failures with a machine so thoroughly well designed, and so carefully and conscientiously constructed as the one on which poor Gilmour met his end.
We voice the feelings of all those interested in aviation, not only in England, but in the whole world, in extending our heartfelt and sincere sympathies to the relatives of the lamented pilot, and to the constructors of his machine.
Mr. Giimour's portrait appeared, it will be remembered, as a Flight Pioneer in these pages on October 29th, 1910.