At the Control Tower museum we welcomed a Remembrance Day visit from some of the children from nearby Gorselands primary school on Friday 9th November. Two children gave readings and there was a one minutes silence followed by a wreath laying at the foot of the Control Tower Museum. The wreath will be taken to our Remembrance Day service and parade on the Barrack Square at 3pm on Sunday 11th November
Our talk on Friday, 7th December was given my Mr Paul Smiddy. Paul has written a book about the life and times of a remarkable woman racing driver and pilot of the 1920's and 30's.
Mildred, the Hon. Mrs Victor Bruce was one of several daring women adventurers of that era, which included Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart. Mrs Victor Bruce came from a wealthy family. Her mother was American who had married into the aristocratic Petre family from Coptfold Hall, Ingatestone.
She had a passion for speed and borrowed her brother's motor bike and rode to London with her Collie dog in the sidecar when she was only 15. She was banned from driving many times for speeding in cars including three days running at Bow Street Magistrates Court. Mrs Victor Bruce broke many records, including driving a 4.5 litre Bentley for 24 hours at an average speed of 94mph.
Cars and Power boat racing gave way to aeroplanes and she purchased a DH Gipsy Moth in 1930. She then bought a Blackburn Bluebird and took off with the intention of flying around the world! After arriving in Japan she boarded a liner with her aircraft and landed in Vancouver to continue her adventure across America before boarding another liner and arrived in Le Havre before flying to England. She had completed 19000 miles by air.
Other interests pursued by Mrs Victor Bruce included experimenting with air to air refuelling and also a “Flying Circus”
In 1934 she founded Commercial Air Hire Ltd. and began flying between London and Paris delivering newspapers in DH 84 Dragons.