Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Frederick Phillip Raynham OBE 1893-1954

Frederick Phillips Raynham was an early associate of Sir Alliott Verdon-Roe. He took
Aviators' Certificate No. 85 on a Roe biplane at Brooklands in 1911, a few weeks before his
18th birthday, and soon he was an outstanding pilot in that early colony of aviators who included
Tommy Sopwith, Harry Hawker, Gordon Bell, and Ronald Kemp —with whom he was later associated in the Air Survey Co. At Brooklands he flew regularly for A. V. Roe and Co., Martinsydes, and Sopwiths and free-lanced for others. On October 24th, 1912, he established
a British Duration Record of 1.5 hrs on an Avro with 60 h.p. Green, and he won many races
and flying prizes, mainly at Brooklands and occasionally at Hendon. In the early summer of 1914 he caused a sensation while flying the first Avro 504 (80 h.p. Gnome) at a Hendon race meeting;
he climbed to over 12,000ft over Hendon, switched his engine off and, with a following wind, landed at Brooklands—more than 20 miles distant—without restarting the engine.
Throughout the 1914-18 war he tested hundreds of Martinsyde scouts.

In 1919 he took a Martinsyde with Rolls-Royce to Newfoundland to try for the Daily Mail Atlantic prize. Soon after Hawker and Mackenzie Grieve left on their historic attempt, Raynham
crashed while trying to take off in his heavily loaded aircraft; he and his navigator, W. Morgan, were uninjured but badly shaken. He flew a Martinsyde Semiquaver for Britain in the first postwar Gordon Bennett Race in France, but engine trouble prevented
him from finishing the course. In the first King's Cup Race in 1922, Freddie Raynham, flying
a yellow Martinsyde F.6, finished second to F. L. Barnard in an exciting contest round Britain. Later mat year he made the first real soaring flight ever seen in England—in a Handasyde glider on the second day of the Itford Hill gliding meeting. He soared for 1 hr 53 min, a duration which remained unbeaten until the Frenchman Maneyrol stayed up for three hours in a half-gale
in the very last hours of the meeting. Raynham was awarded the Britannia Trophy for 1922 for his flight. He competed in the light aeroplane meetings at Lympne in 1923 and for several years thereafter, flying a Hawker Cygnet; he was "George" Bulman's predecessor in test-flying for Hawkers. Later, in association with Ronald Kemp, he formed the Air Survey Co. and went as pilot to India and Burma, where he helped to form the Indian Air Survey and Transport Co., of which he became managing director.