Thunder & Lightnings

Test Flying Memorial

"...and everywhere the
blue sky belongs to them
and is their appointed rest
and their native country"
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Think of the Risks...

...faced by generations of test pilots and other flight-test aircrew in furthering the cause of aviation: some 400 of them died on test-flying duties in Britain alone. The safety and reliability we expect of modern day aviation was won only through the ultimate sacrifices of these brave men - and women.

On this day in 1942...

Wg Cdr H.R. Allen, Ministry of Aircraft Production TPHawker Hurricane Mk IIB Z4993/GUpway, Dorchester, DorsetView details

About the Database

A project to create a test flying memorial was begun by the late John Maynard and Michael Oakey at Aeroplane Monthly magazine back in 2006. This was to be in the form of a hand-inscribed Roll of Honour to be put on display at the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) Museum at Farnborough. Author and historian John Maynard put together the data to be used in the Roll of Honour and it was published online at as each section was completed. The intention was that the public could notify the project's creators of any errors and thus make the final Roll of Honour as accurate as possible.

Unfortunately with the completion of the physical Roll of Honour and its unveiling in 2008, the website was left to die a slow death, with the last update made in summer 2008. Sadly John Maynard then passed away, and the domain name was not renewed in 2010, causing the site to go offline. A valuable resource was therefore apparently lost. While the physical Roll of Honour is a fantastic memorial, it is only available for inspection at FAST and the loss of the online database has been keenly felt. Therefore, this database has been created, based on the information on the last archived copy of the old website, with obvious errors and typos dealt with and various other changes for consistency and readability. There is, therefore, a very good chance that there are errors or omissions in comparison with the final physical Roll of Honour at FAST. Corrections or further details on any particular loss are therefore most welcome - please use the contact form to submit any feedback, or make a comment on any individual entry.

The data is fully searchable and individual incidents can be displayed on a single page and therefore linked to; if anybody wishes to have a snapshot of the database, please get in contact and I'll be only too glad to provide a copy as a SQL dump or a CSV file. No claim of copyright is made in respect of this data which I feel should belong to us all.

Inclusion Criteria


Original database compiled by John Maynard primarily from the works of the late Derek Collier Webb and the late Harald Penrose with the assistance of Tim Mason (inter-war period), Terry Hefferman (A&AEE Boscombe Down). Corrections and additional details from Paul McMillan, members of the RAF Commands forum, Al Clark, Colin Bruggy and myself.

I hope that the database stands both as memorial to all those contained within it, but also to John Maynard for seeing through such a worthwhile project to its completion.

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Site contents copyright © 2016 Damien Burke/Handmade by Machine Ltd.
This page last updated on Wednesday 4th April 2012

Visitor Comments

6 people have commented on this page. This is comment section 1 of 1.

John Carver from High Wycombe

Postd at 11:58pm on Monday, October 10th, 2016

As a non-aeronaughtical engineer it is good to see the work of these guys lauded.I think most people working on this stuff will appreciate the sometimes discomfort and risks that had to be taken. They are truly heroes!

Jan Hoek from Katwijk

Postd at 6:00pm on Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Swift mk7 were testing rockets ,I wonder of the difficulties with the reheat of the avon mk116 were solved

Stewart Lee WARING from lincolnshire

Postd at 10:10am on Monday, November 11th, 2013

I flew as a pilot (Flt.Lt) with the Radar Research Squadron at RAE Bedford for three years on Canberras, Meteor, Comet, Nimrod, Viscount and others on trials of various kinds, It was the best posting you could have.

David Bailey from Lichtenfels

Postd at 12:48pm on Sunday, October 14th, 2012

As Neil McCarthy says, a very worthy site. During the war years my father Robert Bailey was an engineer at Rotols Staverton facility accompanying Bryan Greensted, Rotols chief test pilot, on Wellington/Halifax propeller deicing test flights (apparently quite dodgy at times as chunks of ice occasionally crashed through the fuselage skin). Latterly he worked as a test engineer for Supermarines at Chilbolton heavily involved with 508, 535 and Swift prototype development alongside Mike Lithgow,Dave Morgan,Les ... read more »read more »

Neil McCarthy from Newcastle

Postd at 2:39pm on Monday, May 14th, 2012

A very worthy site, nice one MrB

Mark Bridges from malvern

Postd at 7:52pm on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Great to see this back on line, well done for all the hard work.

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