Hydroplane of the British Navy
Short Tractor Biplane S41 (formerly H1)
Hydroplane of the British Navy. Weymouth May 1912.
     This plane started off with a 100 hp Gnome engine, though later different engines were fitted. It did attend the Review at Weymouth, so the provenance is correct.
Photo courtesy of Colin Pomeroy, Sqn Ldr RAF (Ret). 3-11-04
Plane identification courtesy of Nick Forder

via email from Colin Pomeroy, Sqn Ldr RAF (Ret). 3-11-04
Dear Ralph,
     I have just visited your website seeking, not information of Grahame-White, but on an aircraft photograph which I have just been loaned (see below). At the foot of your website you made a request for any information on the great aviator to be sent to you; this is an abbreviated version (missing out the obvious [Daily Mail race, etc]) on what I have uncovered about him down here in Dorset:
     "In May 1912 Claude Grahame-White and Benny Hucks came to Weymouth to participate in the review of the Home Fleet in Weymouth Bay. Grahame-White brought his Henri-Farman monoplane to the resort by rail, but the arrival method of his companion is not recorded. "G-W's" diminutive aircraft was later wheeled on its own purpose-built trolley along The Esplanade and Preston Road to 'The Weymouth Cricket Club's ground at Overcombe Corner', where it was re-rigged for flight. Overcombe Corner was, by now, also becoming known as the location of the Lodmoor airstrip!
     The Home Fleet was reviewed in Weymouth Bay by King George V - with HMS Hibernia and HMS Africa both present as ships within the 3rd Battle Group, and sporting their aviation ramps - and a contemporary souvenir wall chart of the review shows the two aircraft over the lines of warships. Most interestingly, the chart also marks the Cricket Club Airstrip - annotating it as 'LODMOOR. Aviation Ground and Hangars'. After the review Grahame-White left the local area with his aircraft by rail, but Hucks flew direct to London. He took off at 3.20 pm and arrived at Hendon at 5.51pm, giving him an average airspeed over the 142 mile route of just over 90 mph - a very creditable performance for the year 1912.
     As mentioned, HMS Hibernia was present for the review; however, a planned demonstration of her flying-off abilities for the sovereign was not carried out. Nevertheless Samson, Jerrard and Longmore all gave flying displays over the assembled warships - as did Grahame-White and Hucks. Operating out of Lodmoor and supported by personnel from Eastchurch in Kent, at that time effectively the centre of British naval aviation, these were probably amongst the most significant and formative flights carried out by RN pilots prior to The Great War of 1914 - 1918. So fascinated were the local folk by all this aerial activity, a strong police presence was drafted into Lodmoor for crowd control purposes."
Colin Pomeroy,
Sqn Ldr RAF (Ret).
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