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The Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines

By Don Hale

Published by Coast & Country at Smashwords

Copyright 2010 Don Hale. ISBN No 978-1-907163-51-7


The true drama behind the 1906 Daily Mail Air Race By Don Hale

I can still recall on several occasions many years ago, my grandmother Minnie, and my own mother Doreen (Minnie’s only daughter) telling me slightly different versions of the same story.

It concerned a major event in the spring of 1910, when the pilot of the first long-distance flying machine landed in Burnage, Manchester, after making a hazardous journey from London to win the Daily Mail Air Race - and collect a cheque for £10,000.

My grandmother’s memory naturally became a little bit hazy as the years rolled by and later the story was perhaps enhanced, and may even have been unintentionally exaggerated in parts by ‘mum.’ However, the essential nucleus of the story remained valid and encouraged further investigation. My later findings supported many of their claims and added credibility to decades of family uncertainty.

My notes therefore, have not just been based on family paperwork and newspaper cuttings kept by my great grandfather, but include the results of further research from many other reliable archive sources.

In April 1910, and after more than four years of prompting by the public and press; two intrepid flyers, an Englishman Claude Grahame-White, and a French rival, Louis Paulhan, fuelled the country’s enthusiasm for aviation racing, by taking part in an exciting challenge, flying from London to Manchester in an attempt to win an incredible £10,000 prize offered by Daily Mail newspaper proprietor Lord Northcliffe.

My grandmother, Minnie, who was then just sixteen years of age when the race took place, explained that she had once been taken by a policeman during the early hours of the morning, to a wet and soggy field on the outskirts of Manchester to witness the arrival of a small biplane piloted by a young Frenchman.

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