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Printed From: Cross & Cockade
Category: Member's Photos
Forum Name: British
Forum Discription: Photos of British Aircraft
Printed Date: 07 Dec 2022 at 23:21
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 10.03 -

Topic: Ben-My-Chree
Posted By: Nick T-Jones
Subject: Ben-My-Chree
Date Posted: 01 Jan 2013 at 18:53

After a fortuitous conversation at Scale Model World  with, I believe, Colin and Barbara Huston, I bought Ian Burns's book Ben-My-Chree which  contains several references to my grandfather Maurice E A Wright, one of the RNAS pilots on the ship. Fascinating stuff.

 Anyway, I have dug out some of his original pictures which I proffer for your interest and, hopefully to see if anyone knows more about his service career.

Maurice Wright had a lifelong career in aviation, starting out with  undergraduate friends Nicholl and Dawson in 1913 building a Wright type glider ( pictures in the attached link). The three obtaining consecutive RAC certificate No936- 938 on 8 October 1914 at Eastbourne. These men were friends with (Sir) Richard Fairey and  became directors of Fairey Aviation – M Wright in 1925, after resigning from the RAF as a Squadron Leader. He remained with the company until his death in 1957.

His  career thus spanned from fabric and wire to the Delta 2 and 1000+mph

 There’s a nice picture of a Felistowe too . Wright is second from the left

 Nick Tudor-Jones" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -" rel="nofollow -

Nick T-J

Posted By: Adrian Roberts
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2013 at 00:54
A very interesting set of photos, thanks

Posted By: tartle
Date Posted: 09 Nov 2014 at 18:26
Great set of photographs. do you know what his association with the Felixstowe was?

Posted By: Nick T-Jones
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2014 at 11:00
I don't have much info on Maurice's association with the Felixstowe, except knowing that he was based at Felixstowe at some time possibly after the war but his service record says he was based at Grain during 1917-18-  and from a book called "The Clouds Remember" by Leonard Bridgman (stamp inside front cover says P.M.C Officers Mess RAF Station Leconfield - i guess my Dad purloined it!) - anyway Bridgman says on page 128 "--I have it on the authority of Squadron Leader Maurice Wright, who was the test pilot who put these flying boats through some of their early trials, that they handled well and a good deal better than the bigger F.3 with its 103ft wingspan.

Another of his exploits was flying the prototype  Fairey Campania N1000 non stop from Isle of Grain to Scapa Flow.

Posted By: tartle
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2014 at 14:56
Thanks for the interesting information. I will keep an eye open for his name as I trawl the archives at Kew. I am just finishing a book on another Maurice- Egerton who spent the Great War as inspecting officer on the Curtiss flying boat contracts and the Liberty engine.. hence my interest in the Felixstowe picture ( I lived there as a child and can just remember the oddflying boat moored in the water where the container port is now).

Posted By: tartle
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2014 at 15:04
Just found these snippets:" rel="nofollow - obituary" rel="nofollow - snippet2

Posted By: Nick T-Jones
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2014 at 16:38
You'll remember the Supermarine Southampton hull houseboat at Felixstowe Ferry then - which is now so beautifully restored at Hendon?
 I lived in Woodbridge. I assume you have Gordon Kinsey's book on Felixstowe?

Posted By: tartle
Date Posted: 10 Nov 2014 at 18:57
There was a pub nearby across the road from the houseboat; my father used to do the books there once a month and in the off-tourist season take me along and give me a glass of pop and an enamel pot of shrimps with brown bread to eat on the green by the pub. I used to slip off and play on the unoccupied flying houseboat! I must read the book you mentioned as I did not know about it... just got a second hand copy off Amazon at a really good price!
PS ... I seem to remember more than one hull at anchor there... or maybe 60 years is too long to get it right?

Posted By: Nick T-Jones
Date Posted: 11 Nov 2014 at 18:47
I'm glad you've found the book on Felixstowe.
 I was browsing the second hand shelves at Hendon Museum and found another on East Anglian early aviation called  "Aeronauts and Aviators" by Christopher Elliot  published by Terence Dalton of Lavenham (1971) covering aviation in Suffolk Norfolk and East Cambridgeshire from 1785 -1939.

There is a picture of the Southampton on the mud and another of a Fairey Atalanta flying boat hull also moored there. (your memory is obviously not suspect!!)
 This had been designed to an admiralty spec in 1918 but didn't fly until 3 July1923.
It was powered by 4 Rolls Royce Condor 1A engines of 650hp mounted in two tandem pairs.
 It was broken up and burnt in 1970.

Posted By: tartle
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2014 at 00:54
Shame they burned the second one! I knew I had seen the name Wright in my paperwork...
In 1923 there was a lecture to the RAeS by Major Rennie entitled 'Some Notes on the Design, Construction and Operation of Flying Boats'. In Major Rennie's reply to the discussions he says at one point when discussing the crash of the Felixstowe Fury:
Under the control of expert boat pilots such as Colonel Porte, Majors Hallam, Hobbs, Wright and Cooper, porpoising to any serious extent was absent when taking off.
So its seems Maurice Wright also had flown the 'Fury'.
I know the Atalanta as the N4 and for some reason have acquired information on it..somewhere in my files is the reason I did that!

Posted By: tartle
Date Posted: 16 Nov 2014 at 11:59
The book -Seaplanes-Felixstowe- has arrived... great read! Thanks for drawing my attention to it. There is a story on p 61 about the rescue of another Wright- G L Wright- that vividly illustrates the need to improve the structural strength and integrity of the H-series hulls. It humanises the story of Porte's technical efforts.
I'm still looking for early stories of the H-4 and 8 boats that illustrate their lack of combat capability though!

Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 16 Nov 2014 at 15:58
Suggest G Snowden Gamble's "Story of a North Sea Air Station" (Yarmouth),"The Spider's Web" by TD Hallam, and 'To The Ends of the Air" by GE Livock for flying boat ops stories.

Posted By: tartle
Date Posted: 20 Nov 2014 at 15:26
Thanks for the refs... Snowden Gamble's and Hallam's are really good on post-1916 stuff; i.e. mainly about Large Americas and the same with Gordon Kinsey's book I have just acquired... I guess its back to Kew and FAAM for another patrol. I'll follow up on your third recommendation.

Posted By: tartle
Date Posted: 27 Nov 2014 at 13:26
Nick (or should that be Two Nicks?) I've just received 'Aeronauts and Aviators' in the 101 shows both F-B houseboats.. I remember them both but it must have been the deck of the Atalanta upon which I spent most of my time. page 93 also refers to the crash of F.5 N4044 that crashed at felixstowe killing its pilot Edwin Moon and Albert Fyfield. There are reports on accident at Kew that I am slowly writing up on this accident.
"Aeronauts and Aviators" by Christopher ElliotAero
"Aeronauts and Aviators" by Christopher Elliot

Posted By: Grain Kitten
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2015 at 18:28
Nick, lovely pictures and an interesting story.
Your picture captioned DH9? is not a DH9. Even though it appears to have British markings on the rudder it looks like a captured german aircraft, but I can't say which without a bit of searching.
The Short 184 S229 is serial No 8087 assuming the constructors numbers are sequential with the serial numbers in a batch. Its demise is described on page 144 of the book.

I recently found that my Great-Uncle was on the Isle of Grain in 1918, though what he did as a Stoker 1st Class I don't know. He was transferred in the RAF, but he transferred back to the Navy in 1919

Short 184 S229

Posted By: Grain Kitten
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2015 at 23:13
Nick, the DH9?. I think it is an Albatros B.II. It was not a captured aircraft, it was impressed in august 1914 and given serial 890. It was used mostly at Grain, and despite several crashes survived until late 1917/early 1918

Posted By: Nick T-Jones
Date Posted: 13 Jan 2015 at 14:36
Thanks Steve
That solves the mystery.
I never would have thought of considering a foreign type. I believe there was an article in The Aeroplane July 2010 by Philip Jarrett called "The Allies' Albatros" and I'm trying to get a copy from their archive as the back issue mag is out of stock.
There's also a picture of the Grain B11 in a website called" rel="nofollow -  which I'm sure you are aware of.


Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 14 Jan 2015 at 10:22
Alabtros BII (100 hp Mercedes) impressed by RNAS August 1914 under Contract 49949/14 and numbered 890.
27.3.1914 Arrived at Hendon by lorry for tests
5.8.1914 Impressed at Immingham by/on this date
13.8.1914 Deleivered to Grain for defence
25.12.1914 Chased Friedrichshafen seaplane
7.2.1915 Engine failure on take off, ran in to dyke and turned over (F/Lt HR Busteed slightly injured)
11.3.1915 to Grain repair station
Fitted with floats
13.5.1915 Grain by this date
26.5.1915 Anti-Zeppelin patrol (FSL EdeC Hallifax & AM Bunn)
24.6.1915 Fell in to harbour and badly damaged (FSL WG Moore unhurt)
4.4.1916 Test ARD Port Victoria after repair
5.4.1916 Returned to Grain
11.5.1916 Kingsnorth
12,5,1916 Grain
8.2.1917 Visited Detling
28.7.1917 Damaged following forced landing
26.9.1917 Grain Type Test Flight
7.4.1918 Deleted.
The Royal Navy had a DFW Arrow also, impressed from Beardmore's and given the serial 154. It was grounded in 1914 because of potential problems with recognition, and the assumption that it was being flown by a German.
This was a 100 hp Mercedes aircraft, purchased from Germany in March 1914 under Contract CP 36909/14.
17.3.1914 Brooklands
25.3.1914 Accepted at Brooklands (Lt CH Collet RMA test & regular pilot)
3.6.1914 Delivered Eastchurch
8.8.1914 Eastchurch defence by this date
11.8.1914 Eastchurch Mobile Squadron at Skegness by this date
23.8.1914 Killingholme by this date
28.8.1914 Immingham by this date 
6.10.1914 Dismantled
8.10.1914 Eastchurch
20.2.1915 Deleted - parts to Killingholme
19.6.1915 Wormwood Scrubs - instructional airframe ? 

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