Sunday, 9 March 2014

When flying was still a club for the adventurer

In January 1914 when flying was still the preserve of the adventures few a dinner was held in London with many of the great names of early British aeronautics in attendance.This dinner was held in recognition of those who were  first  to loop the loop in an aeroplane. It was named:

                                                  The Upside Down Dinner

Standing on the left, left to right Mr Gustav Hamel, Mr Claude Grahame-White, Mr B C Husk 

When the announcement was made of an upside down dinner in honour of Mr B C Hucks and Mr Gustav Hamel by the Hendon aviators it was expected to be a fun occasion. The dinner was held at the Royal automobile club and was attended only by those intimately involved in aviation.
Everything was done with the aim of embodying the concept of looping the loop and upside down.
The dinning tables were cunningly arranged in the form of a loop in recognition of those attending.

The dinner itself started at the end with the announcement that coffee was served and the chairman,  Mr Claude Grahame-White toasting the King, followed by the instruction  "You may now smoke".
The waiters, dressed in mechanics overalls served coffee, liqueurs and toothpicks.
Next came the savoury, Canape` a la chenteloup, sweets of souffle` a la Hucks, the vegetable of Asperges renversees , the roast being becassines a la Hamel with salad a` la Bleriot, the entree  a vol au vent a la Hendon and the joint baron de Pauillac a` l' aviation.

Wow next came the Fish "The Looping Lobster" announced as " the lobster is now looping". The great dish of one huge lobster upside down surrounded by smaller lobsters was paraded around the loop of tables prior to being distributed to the assembly.
The dinner concluded with a consume de volaille a la Grahame White and hors d`oeuvres.

It would seem that they really knew how to live it up in those days.

In true recognition of the event Mr Hucks endeavoured to honour the health of the king by drinking Giesler from a glass, upside down.
Speeches followed with reminiscences by Mr Grahame-White. In mentioning Mr Hucks as being the first to loop the loop in England he also mentioned Mr Hamel  as being the first to take up a woman to loop the loop although he was extremely sorry to say that Miss Trehawke Davies the courageous lady in question was at the moment very seriously ill and it would echo the sentiments of everyone present if he sent Miss Davies a telegram on behalf of all assembled to wish her a speedy recovery.

Gustav Hamel and Miss Trehawke Davies

Lastly the directors of the London aerodrome had contributed to a Special gold medal to be given to each attendee of the dinner to commemorate the event.

Signatures of those attending the dinner.
Capt E Bass, E Baumann, G W Beatty, W Birchenough, G Biss, W L Brock, R H Carr, J Cates, N Chereau, M Dessouter,  H le Forestier, R T Gates, F W Goodden, C Grahame-White, C Greswell, C G Grey, Gustav Hamel, F Handley Page,           G Holt Thomas, B C Hucks, Bernard Issac, J H Ledeboer, Sir Bryan Leighton, Robert Loraine, P Marty, M D Manton,       L Noel, J D North, J W Orde, H E Perrin, H Pontefract, Lieut J C Porte, A M Ramsay, A G Reynolds, J C Savage,     Stanley Spooner,     L A Strange, T K Walton, R Whitehouse, W E de B Whittaker, E T Willows, J E Withers, P Verrier

Foot note:
Mr Gustav Hamel died whilst crossing the English channel on the 23rd May 1914 aged 25

Miss Davies who lived life to the full died at her London home in November 1915 aged 35

Mr Bentfield Charles Hucks (the first to loop the loop) in England. During WW1 he served with honour in the RFC and following Illness as a test pilot for the aircraft manufacturing co ltd. 
He died as a result of contracting influenza on  7th November 1918 aged 34

Sparkling lives that made history despite of being cut so short.

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