AKA C. J. Burke
Charles James Burke
Burke in the uniform of the Royal Flying Corps
from Wikipedia

Transcribed by Bob Davis from the book,
"Colonel Cody and the Flying Cathedral,
The Adventures of the Cowboy Who Conquered the Sky,"
by Garry Jenkins.
      Early British Aviation woes in January 1911 Geoffrey de Havilland's biplane had crashed on its initial flight at Farnborough. On the 10th it was ready again for flight. "Everyone was on tenterhooks, praying for success, because only three days earlier the new Farman recently purchased by the War Office was crashed during its initial tests by Captain C. J. Burke, a bulky soldier with a few hours' flying experience who had gained his certificate in France. After making an excellent flight of 2 miles over Loaffan's Plain at 50 to 80 ft., he descended near the Balloon Factory; attempting a second flight a few minutes later, he stalled after 50 yards, and the machine came down on its right wing, cart-wheeled, and was smashed to pieces, nastily injuring Captain Burke."

     If you search for "Charles James Burke", using the Google search engine, (11-9-07), you will find about 250 links.
Charles Burke (British Army officer)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     This is a very fine source of more information on this pioneer aviator and a good place to start your search. In addition to a detailed account of his life and career, you will find a beautiful portrait of him, the one you saw at the top of this page. As usual with articles in Wikipedia, you will find a number of links whicih will help you to understand the text. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

The third shall be the first?
     This website is devoted to the celebration of Cottesmore's 1 and 3 Squadrons. The squadrons were established on 25 May, 2002. The following paragraph, in which Capt. C. J. Burke is briefly mentioned, is extracted from the main story.

     "Both units formed on 13 May 1912 - 1 Squadron at Farnborough, Hants from No. 1 (Airship) Company, Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers, and 3 Squadron from No. 2 (Aeroplane) Company at Larkhill, Wiltshire. On the same day II(AC) (2) Squadron was born, also at Farnborough, from a detachment of No. 2 (Aeroplane) Company also. There has been much argument between 2 and 3 Squadrons as to who was the first fixed-wing squadron, as 1 Squadron remained on balloons for another year or so. Both units claim the honour, but it would seem that 3 Squadron has the firmer claim as most of 2 (Aeroplane) Company's aircraft were at Larkhill, only two aircraft being resident at Farnborough under the command of Captain C. J. Burke. "

     You can access the page by clicking on the title above. If time permits, I think you will enjoy reading the rest of the story.

Airman Scholar
A Journal of Contemporary Military Thought
Vol 6, No 1 Spring 2000
     This website offers three references to Captain Burke. You can find them by using the "Search" function of the Adobe Reader on "Burke." I have extracted two of them as an example.

     "In 1911, in the first article on air power in the of the Royal United Service Institute Journal, Captain CJ Burke of the British Army Air Battalion wrote: "As aeroplanes employed on (such) reconnaissance duties will encounter hostile aeroplanes with a similar mission to themselves, ... one must be prepared for a struggle between hostile aeroplanes, similar in its object to the struggle between the independent cavalries of two hostile armies."42
42 "Aeroplanes of Today and Their Use in War," by Captain CJ Burke, Royal United Service Institute Journal, May 1911, 626.

     You can access the website by clicking on the title above.


The Adventures of the Cowboy
Who Conquered the Sky
by Garry Jenkins
Product Details
Hard Cover: 276 pages;
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
(June 1, 2000)
Out of Print: Used from $0.70
ISBN: 0312241801
     You can find a complete description of the book on the Amazon website. At this writing, (4-15-05), there are 40 used copies available, priced from $0.70!

I have no information as to the dates of his birth or his death.
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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