William Brock
William Brock
Collection of Jerry Blanchard, 6-15-07

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines!
European Aviation History 1900-14

Via email from Mike Banks, 3-23-04
Hello, Ralph,
     A fact nobody seems to have mentioned: Brock joined the service when WWI began as a flight instructor and was commissioned as a lieutenant. He may have been promoted to Captain, which would be why he was called "Captain Brock" so often.
     I live NW of Cincinnati, in Oxford, Ohio. That is not far from Springfield, Ohio, where Billy Brock grew up. I'm going to drive over to Springfield when I have time in a couple of weeks, to try to find his grave and get a photo of the headstone.
Best regards,
--Mike Banks
     If you search for "William S. Brock +aviation" using the Google search engine, (3-21-04), you will find about 71 links. (In 2003 there were 21 links). Of them, I only find one which refers to his activities in the early days.
     I was alerted to this page on the Fantasy of Flight website by Ed Mate, 3-18-08. It offers several photos of the plane, a very helpful biography of Brock and a very interesting description of the plane written by Kermit Weeks.
     Ed included the following comments:

     The Brock monoplane in the Fantasy of Flight is a four-fifth scale replica built by Brock and the IMACS. As pictured it is in Kermit Weeks' Museum. It was originally in the Museum of Science and Industry. I have pictures of it there. Not there anymore, it was taken down and sold without IMAC's permission to a museum in Minnesota. Kermit Weeks purchased it from whoever in Minnesota.
     In 1916, it was decided to do it four-fifths size because Brock said it would be a better performer. And so it was. Brock became an exhibition flyer as Lincoln Beachy later did. (Incidentally Lockwood in recent years sold the Beachy engine fished out of Lake Michigan after he crashed. This was part of the amazing amount of historical aviation property which Lockwood still owns.) He has the barometer that Brock used in his original triumphal flight. Also the original engine and propeller, emtpanage, and landing gear. A few wood parts such as wing ribs. They are there in his home museum and garage. Also he has a Heath Baby Bullet and the special engine that Guynemer had in his Spad with the hollow shaft so he could fire a cannon shell. The instrument panel from his father's Sopwith triplane he flew in WWI.

P.S. Brock was given a bicycle by the Wright Brothers when he was working in the same area they were at Midway Airport in Chicago. They felt sorry for him having to walk so far to work. Don Lockwood has the bike.

A Concise History of Air Racing
By Don Berliner
     This page on the website of the Society of Air Racing Historians offers an account of Brock winning the Circuit of Britain race in 1914. It also offers the report when he won the The London-Paris-London Race shortly thereafter. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.
     If time permits, I think you will enjoy reading about the other races of the period. You will find a "Concise History of Air Racing" extending up through 1969. Mr. Berliner has compiled a very valuable resource for us.
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