Brabazon Road, UB5

Place Name

Lieutenant-Colonel John Theodore Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon (February 8, 1884 – May 17, 1964) was a pioneer of aviation being the first Englishman to pilot a heavier-than-air machine under power in England. As a Conservative MP he went on to serve as Minister of Transport and Minister of Aircraft Production during World War II. He took his first solo flight in November 1908 in France in a Voisin biplane and five months later, on May 2, 1909 at Shellbeach on the Isle of Sheppey made the first officially recognised aeroplane flight in England. On March 8, 1910, he became the first person to qualify as a pilot in the United Kingdom and was awarded Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificate number 1. During the First World War he served on the Western Front where he played a key role in the development of aerial photography and reconnaissance. As an politician however he was a failure, like many, he was strongly opposed to war with Nazi Germany and in early 1939, when war seemed imminent, made contact with the fascist Oswald Mosley in an attempt to coordinate activity against the war. Despite this he was made Minister of Aircraft Production, a short-lived post, since a year after taking it he had to resign for expressing the hope that Germany and the Soviet Union, then engaged in the Battle of Stalingrad, would destroy each other. The Soviet Union was an ally. Post war he was involved in the production of the Bristol Brabazon. It was meant to be the pride of post-war British engineering, a world class Transatlantic aeroplane aimed to poach wealthy passengers from the liners. However not long after it was completed and took to the skies for test flights in 1949 it was obsolete and none were ordered. This road and others in the vicinity are named after aviators and aircraft in a nod to the nearby RAF Northholt. In fact the airfield predates the establishment of the Royal Air Force by almost three years, having opened as an aerodrome in May 1915, making it the oldest RAF base. Originally established for the Royal Flying Corps, it has the longest history of continuous use of any RAF airfield. The station played a key role during the Battle of Britain, when fighters from several of its units, including No 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, engaged enemy aircraft as part of the defence of London.

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