Bleriots constructed at Farnborough ?

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    A footnote in ‘Letters from an Early Bird‘ states that Denys Corbett Wilson flew an 80 hp Bleriot to St Omer on 19.10.1914, and this aircraft had been constructed at Farnborough.

    It was condemned soon afterwards (by 29.10.1914) due to warping caused, according to Corbett Wilson, by the use of unseasoned wood.

    First I have heard of Bleriots being constructed at Farnborough, though I do know that Brooklands didn‘t manufacture the 80 h.p. Bleriot XI-2, and just assembled them from parts imported from France.

    Can‘t see Farnborough assembling kits of parts from France, so should the footnoteread ‘Brooklands‘ ?


    The machine in question was 694 which was delivered by air from Brooklands to Farnborough on 8.10.14 ex Bleriot contract A2512. It was inspected by AID and sent overseas, officially on the 12.10.14
    However he was presumably delayed at Dover as a telegram dated 15.10.14 records him departing for France on 80hp Bleriot 694.
    The wings were removed and it was stored at St Omer 22.10.14 with Flying hrs 8:28
    The fuselage was badly out of true and impossible to straighten


    minor correction : the telegram records him leaving Farnborough for Dover on the 15th, en route for France. The log book of the aircraft is the National Archives


    Corbett Wilson was told about the ferry flight on 8.10.1914, and the ‘delivery note’ (signed by Trenchard) was dated 10.10.1914.

    He wrote to his mother on 16.10.1914 that he was hoping to get on that day, with the implication that he had arrived near Folkestone (he followed the railway from Redhill) the day before. On 19.10.1914 he wrote “Arrived here (St Omer ?) with the machine today.”


    Just checked the log book. He test flew the machine on the 10th for 10 minutes and again on the 11th.
    Capt Fox flew it for 8 minutes on the 12th and then Corbett-Wilson for 10 minutes.
    On the 17th he records Farnboro-Dover (2 hrs 0) then Dover-Le Crotoy (1hr 15) the Le Crotoy-St Omer (2hr 0). On the 18th he flew it St Omer-Hinges (35 min)
    A new front oil tank was fitted, the wings trued up, a bomb rack fitted, flags painted on the wings and bullet proof seat put in.
    Corbett-Wilson flew it three times at Hinges on the 19th, for 5,3, and 2 minutes, the last time with Capt Walker. The machine would not climb and he landed in a field adjoining landing ground. The wings were adjusted and new wheel and shock absorber fitted. An integral propellor was fitted, the prop boss found out of true and a Rigg Freres prop fitted. The machine was trued up. Lt Birch flew it four times on the 21st, the final trip being back to St Omer. The back petrol tank was leaking, it was flying right wing down and stiff to control. Leading and trailing edges were warped and it was difficult to true up, so they gave up, removed the wings and stored it at St Omer.

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