Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club
Robert Loraine
Rhos-on-Sea Golf Club

via email from Lannie Liggera, 6-30-09
     To set the scene for Loraine's aviation accomplishment July through September 11, 1910, there were three people responsible for his successes; Loraine, Jules Vedrines, Farman's chief mechanic, and Loraine's close friend, Capt. George H.Smart, who was the ground manager, dealing with problems like unbuilt hangars, the boxed-up aeroplane ending up on a railroad siding, the habitual lateness of Gibbs, the the chauffeur who drove the "chase car" used by all early aviators, and Vedrines, who spoke no English. Smart came from a military family; his father, at his retirement, was a General in the Royal Artillery. Smart graduated from Dover College and then Sandhurst, and like Loraine, was a veteran of the Boer War. In 1909 Smart retired from the regular army, deciding to attempt to become a playwright. He and Loraine met in 1909 when Smart thrust a script into Loraine's hand one night as he left the theater.
     Loraine also spoke fluent idiomatic French, which he had acquired "hanging out" around the French aviation scene from 1907 on. He was at Sangratte when Bleriot took off and flew the Channel. Booh he and Vedrines were temperamental; Smart served as an able buffer between them. When Vedrines got particularly upset he would exclaim , "My God I am homesick!" At one point he went back to France and brought his wife back, along with his brother Emil, and his wife. Emil went home after the brothers had a fight but most probably the one who caused mechanical problems like the piece of solder that rolled back and forth in the gasline during the flight over the Irish sea, and the bad tailplane adjustment which barely allowed Loraine to descend.
     Two sites on the Isle of Anglesey remain almost as they were when Loraine landed, the Rhos-en-Sea golf club (whose centennial pamphlet has two pictures of Loraine landing and taking off from the greens) and the "bowl in the earth" at the farm at Bryn Goelcerth, to which a small pond has been added. Penrhos Park, from which Loraine actually took off, is now an industrial park.
      C. G. Grey, editor of The Aeroplane, remarked that is Loraine had not landed on Irish soil, he had at least landed in Irish water, which is technically correct.
     When Loraine landed on the Needles, proving that the aeroplane could weather a storm, before he culd fly again the fabric covering of the planes (wings) and other parts would have to dry out and be re-doped, a finish used to make the fabric tighter still.
      Back at the aerodrome, Smart found he was shaking from head to foot after seeing his friend disappear into the clouds. Then the storm broke over the aerodome and people ran into the hangars. The rain was so hard it came through the rooves.
More later!

George Smart
from Lannie Liggera
from Partick Doherty, 12-21-07
     He held the ranks of Lt, Capt, Major and Lt Col while in the RFC and then RAF; he was married twice; the daughters were all by the second wife Winifred; His wife Winifred wrote one biography under two titles.

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