Lincoln is best known as the birthplace of the Tank, however during the First World War the city was a major production centre for aircraft for the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
Local engineers Clayton and Shuttleworth Ltd, Robey and Co Ltd, and Ruston, Proctor and Co Ltd all received large contracts from the War Office and Admiralty.
Airfields were built for test flying the aircraft on the West Common, Lincoln, at Bracebridge Heath, and adjacent to Clayton's Forge.
The first German airship to be destroyed over England was brought down in 1916 by a BE2C built by Ruston, Proctor. It was piloted by Captain William Leefe-Robinson RFC, who received the VC for this feat.
The Sopwith Camel flown by Captain Roy Brown that was involved in the shooting down of the Red Baron, Manfred von Ricthofen, in 1918 was built by Clayton and Shuttleworth Ltd at the Titanic Works, Lincoln.
In 1918 a brightly painted Sopwith Camel built by Ruston, Proctor carried out "leaflet raids" over the city to encourage people to buy War Bonds.
In the Second World War, the Repair Organisation managed by A V Roe and Co Ltd at Bracebridge Heath recovered large numbers of damaged Avro Lancasters, which would otherwise have been scrapped, and returned them to service; this made a major contribution to the bomber offensive against Germany.
After the War Avro built two of the diminutive 707 delta wing research aircraft for the Vulcan programme at their Lincoln site and provided support for Hawker Siddeley Group products throughout the World.
This is not just a book about aircraft however - it also covers the companies, the airfields, and the people who were involved in this work. It is lavishly illustrated with contemporary photographs from company archives and personal collections.
Aircraft Made in Lincoln
is available from all good bookshops price £9.95
or by post
from the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology
ISBN 0 903582 16 3
SB 210mm x 210mm
75 pages - over 125 illustrations
text and photographs © John Walls and Charles Parker
Camel image Ruston and Hornsby Ltd via Ray Hooley
Made in Lincoln logo © Made in Lincoln Project
this page last updated 7 October 2004
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