|In June 1910 the first all-British flying meeting took
place at Dunstall Park, only 4 years after the first ever
flight in Europe. The newspapers reported that by the
beginning of the month 6 hangars had been erected and
Bleriot, Humber and Star machines were already there. A Mr.
Hartill of Cleveland Street, Wolverhampton constructed
a machine especially for the event. Unfortunately there was
almost no flying because of high winds, heavy rain, and a
dispute with some pilots over payment of their hotel
The meeting began on 27th June and lasted
for 5 days, ending on 2nd July. It was held
under the auspices of the Midland Aero Club, which had
been formed the previous year. Its headquarters were at
the Grand Hotel in Birmingham and the club president was
the Earl of Dartmouth. The official programme listed a
varied selection of events. Prizes were awarded for the
flight of the longest duration, cross-country flying,
passenger carrying, figure flying, bomb throwing etc.
The first flight was made by Captain Dawes, on
leave from the army to learn how to fly. He decided to fly around
the trees at the end of the park, but could not turn in time and
sailed over the fence to end up in a field beyond. Thanks to the
atrocious conditions there were a number of spectacular crashes.
James Radley’s Bleriot crashed in a gale and Alec Ogilvie’s
Short-Wright aircraft fell to the ground from a height of 60ft.
Radley and Gibbs also crashed but luckily there were no casualties.
Prizes were distributed on the last
day. Graham White made the first circuit flight and won
the duration prize by keeping his aircraft in the air
for 15 minutes and 38 seconds. Mr. Boyle won the
monoplane class by flying for nearly 8 minutes. Mr.
Grace won the prize for the highest flight, reaching
nearly 600 feet. Mr. G. B. Cockburn won the prize for
the shortest take-off in his Farman biplane over a
distance of 100ft. 5 inches.
|The most successful local man was Mr. Barnes who
kept his machine in the air for 77 seconds.
|A Wright biplane won the speed contest, piloted
by Mr. C. S. Rolls, one of the founders of Rolls
Unfortunately he was killed less than two
weeks later during a similar contest at Bournemouth,
which highlights the danger involved in such events.
Granville Bradshaw piloted the locally built Star
monoplane, which unfortunately failed to fly.
A postcard especially produced for
The Star monoplane.
|Other pilots included Mr. Davies, A.V. Roe, Mr.
Gilmour, Mr. Mander, Mr. Lane, Mr. Cody, Mr. Holder, Mr.
Frances, Mr. McArdle, and Mr. Maxfield.
Music was provided by the South Staffordshire
Regiment and the Wolverhampton Military Band. The event proved to be
very popular and aviation meetings were held at Dunstall Park for
The locally built Star monoplane returned in
1911 with Joe Lisle, son of the company’s owner, Edward Lisle, at
the controls. This time the aircraft successfully flew and Edward
was so alarmed at the sight, that he banned his son from flying
Some of the aviators who took part in 1910.
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