Early Aviator at Barford Fete

Mr Hamel flying his aeroplane at Barford fete. 1912
IMAGE LOCATION: (Warwickshire County Record Office)
Reference: CR, 367/128/9, img: 8181
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This flight took place at the Barford Primrose League Fete and Flower Show in July 1912. The fete was held in the fields by the river Avon in conjunction with the Barford, Sherbourne and Wasperton Horticultural Society’s annual show. A lively account of this event was published in the Warwick & Warwickshire Advertiser a few days later. The aviator, Mr Gustav Hamel, must have been courageous because the flying conditions were described as ‘very nasty’ with a strong wind. Another brave man, Mr Mills, volunteered to take his first flight.

Mr Mills’ first flight

They took off into the wind, and had difficulty clearing the trees on the Barford Road. They rose to a height of 1,500 feet and reached a speed of 110 miles per hour when the wind was behind them. Mr Mills described the flight afterwards:

An extraordinary new sensation, but distinctly nice. I must confess I did not like the thought of coming down and the landing, but that was the nicest part. The quietness of the planing was beautiful, while one felt as one does in a big ship in a big sea. I enjoyed it very much

The plane flown

The plane was a two-seater Bleriot monoplane with a 70 h.p. Gnome engine. It appears flimsy to us today, but was the newest model at the time. Mr. Hamel made two other flights, one over Warwick, Leamington and Kenilworth and the other towards Stratford upon Avon, both with a passenger on board.

Tent pegging competition

The article also gives the results of tent pegging competitions in which F. Beech triumphed. There was a V.C. Race, also won by F. Beech (with G. Beech third). Does anyone know how a tent pegging competition works? Or indeed what a V.C. race was?

This article is based on a Warwickshire County Record Office exhibition held in 1969

1 Warwick & Warwickshire Advertiser, August 3, 1912, p. 4 col. 5.

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