I look forward to it....
But what am I planning here....?
I've done research on HJW that I've shared with P d'O but in chasing up details of HJW's brief flight career I felt I'd like to share this aspect with you now....
Left click on the images to enlarge.
Who was Harold John Willis....?
He was known for his initial rides in the TT on Velocette model KTT in the late 1920's and then concentrated on his role at Veloce Ltd, manufacturers of the Velocette motorcycle, as an engineer and organiser of their racing team.
Born in Kings Norton, Worcestershire in 1900 to Eliza and Sidney C Willis, he was one of four children.
He died tragically following a medical procedure on 11th June 1939. Just on the eve of the success of Stanley Woods in winning the Junior IOM TT again on a Velocette....
In the brief time he was with Veloce he took flying lessons after joining the Midland Aero Club which flew out of Castle Bromwich aerodrome near Birmingham.
Details in a "Flight" magazine of 1927 reveal on the week ending 14th May 1927 he had completed some further dual instruction and then went solo.
"Flight" magazine from August 25th 1927 in the Midland Aero Club section indicates further solo flight for Harold Willis.
On 23rd March 1931 HJW purchased a DH60X de Havilland Moth biplane....
Recorded in the log of the aircraft....G-EBTH
The aircraft was sold following his death on 11th July 1939.
In 1946 the ownership was cancelled for an unknown reason, then the Air Training Corps ( ATC ) obtained it and it was destroyed by fire in a crash in 1951.
Curiously correspondence reveals the engine was purchased at some time by Matt Holder...the Matt Holder of the Velocette Motorcycle Company who purchased the tooling , stock and name from the successful bidder at the liquidation auction of Veloce in 1971.....but his nephew can find no record of what happened to it.....
".... my uncle ended up with the engine out of Willis's Gypsy Moth(G-EBTH) but regrettably well before my time and completely untraceable since...."
This is a photo of G-EBTH landing, but I cannot ascertain if it is HJW flying it...a good chance as he owned it for some 8 years.
The above photograph shows HJW with G-EBTH...the photo taken from Ivan Rhodes book, "Technical Excellence".
Curiously the 1934 Velocette catalogue features an aviation scene with the KSS Mk.1 Velocette...the aircraft is a DH Moth....was it HJW's??
The chap in the flying kit...?? I don't think it is Harold....
From the civil aircraft register –
The various owners of G-EBTH