Eric Gordon England seated at the controls of a Bristol Box kite at the same company’s flying school at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, where he was an instructor. Other notable early aviators here are, from left, standing: Lt Ercole; Lt Antonini; Sehor Campana; Lt Moore RN; Lt Bower RN: Lt Athol Wyness-Stuart; Pierre Prier and Henri Jullerot.
England (nearest camera) and two colleagues pose with a Bristol Boxkite.
A rare photograph of Jose Weiss launching one of his glider models. A much underrated figure, Weiss was a strong advocate of the inherent stability of a birdlike crescent-shaped wing with reflexed tips and a variable camber from inner section to the wingtip.
Eric Gordon England in his ENV-engined Hanriot monoplane, which he affectionately named Henrietta. The aircraft’s slender canoe-like fuselage was aerodynamically clean but offered its pilot little protection against the elements.
The Weiss Tractor Monoplane No 2, named Sylvia, at Brooklands. Powered by a 35 h.p. ENV Type D eight-cylinder water-cooled Vee-configured engine, it was this machine that deposited England into the sewage farm at Brooklands, much to the amusement of spectators.
The prototype of the Wight 1914 Enlarged Navyplane, built by renowned shipbuilding company J. Samuel White, at the Olympia Aero Show in March 1914.
A bigger version of the Wight Navyplane of 1913, which had three-bay wings, the five-bay 1914 Navyplane was powered by a 200 h.p. Salmson two-row liquid-cooled radial engine. The largest seaplane in the world at the time, the type was ordered by the British and German Admiralties.
The 1914 Enlarged Navyplane in flight during trials at Cowes. Germany’s first example of the type was launched on May 16, 1914, after which it was delivered by sea to Kiel. Sadly, England’s partner-in-crime, Kapitan-leutnant Schroeter, was killed in the Enlarged Navyplane on June 25, 1914, the day after their “wicked” overflight.
Weiss built a series of powered monoplanes, which were named after his daughters. Madge, seen here with Weiss employee Gerald Leake at the controls at Fambridge in 1909, was powered by an Anzani 12 h.p. three-cylinder fan-type radial engine connected via a chain-drive to a pair of pusher propellers.
One of Weiss’s monoplane designs on its rail-and-derrick launcher at Fambridge in 1909. By March 1910 Pemberton Billing’s “aero-colony” at Fambridge had been abandoned owing to a lack of smooth ground and too many drainage ditches, some of which were up to 6ft (1-8m) deep and 12ft (3-6m) broad.
As well as being a talented airman, Eric Gordon England also showed promise as an aircraft designer. His first complete design was the G.E.1 biplane for Bristol, conceived as a robust two-seater with detachable wings to be transported with an army column. It was tested during May-June 1912, but had been scrapped by year’s end.