Gustav Hamel

  100 years ago the Warwickshire Yeomanry held their annual camp in Warwick Castle Park. An important feature of the camp was an Open Day to raise funds for the regiment, and on 8th June 1911, the Birmingham Daily Mail made some pertinent comments on this.

"At the Warwick Yeomanry Camp on Monday over 20,000 people paid for admission - a fact sufficient to make the Commanding Officers of other units green with envy. The flying man will probably take a big slice out of the profits, but nevertheless the regiment's funds will immensely benefit. No one wants the Territorial Force turned into a catering concern for public amusement, but if the government will not find the essentials for existence, no one can blame the military for endeavouring to raise the funds themselves."

The flying man was Mr. Gustave Hamel and on the 6th June The Birmingham Gazette and Express described his flight.

"Mr. Hamel flew from Warwick Castle Park in a Bleriot 50 h.p. monoplane with a Gnome engine. He made a capital; ascent and flew several times at various heights around the district and encircled the Towers of Warwick Castle. The highest point he reached was nearly 4,000 feet. The flight, which lasted over twenty-five minutes, was a brilliant exhibition . and his descent to the spot from where he started was extremely fine."

Photographs of this historic flight over Warwick Castle Park in 1911 are on display in the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum.

The History of the Warwickshire Yeomanry by Adderley records on page 202 for the year 1911:

Sports on a large scale were held in the Castle Park on Whit-Monday June 5 and were largely attended. The programme in addition to Military events comprised a flight by Mr.G.Hamel, a Marathon Race from Stratford to Warwick, and the Band, Pipers and Dancers of the Gordon Highlanders. The attendance was estimated at 20,000 people, and a considerable sum of money was taken at the gate.

For further info on Warwickshire Yeomanry - see:

The Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum

Philip Wilson
Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum Trustee and Archivist.

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