Lake District air display will mark anniversary of first seaplane flight in Britain

Posted: 11/09/2011 in all marine news

Victoria Brenan –

The first flight of a seaplane in Britain will be celebrated in the Lake District this month, where the original took place.

The maiden flight of Waterbird took place over Windermere on November 25, 1911 and its centenary will be marked with an air display over the lake.

Waterbird was designed by Edward Wakefield, who overcame fierce opposition from Beatrix Potter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, founder of the National Trust, who campaigned against the Lakeland trials of the flying machines.

Wakefield went on to develop a series of aircraft for the Government, encouraged by Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, who was determined to equip the Navy with hydro-aeroplanes.

A ceremony will be held Storrs Hall Hotel on November 25, followed by air display over Windermere by one of Waterbird’s descendants, a 1949 Hawker Sea Fury.

Among the aviation enthusiasts who will be at the lakeside for the centenary event will be several descendants of Edward Wakefield, including his great grandson John Gordon, his great nephew Sir Humphry Wakefield, his great niece The Hon Ruth Adorian, and his great, great nephew Richard Wakefield Raynsford.

Also attending the event will be Elisabeth Luard, the grand daughter of Waterbird’s naval test pilot Arthur Longmore.

Sir Humphry Wakefield said: “This was the golden age for British aviation and we are hoping to capture the magic of those early pioneers.” “Recreating the flight of Britain’s first seaplane will be a fitting tribute to the ingenuity of Edward Wakefield 100 years later.”

The event will help to raise funds towards the £160,000 cost of completing a working replica of the seaplane, which Gerry Cooper, of Cooper Aerial Surveys Engineering Ltd, has started building using the original plan.

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