L/Cpl SA Colburn & early Windermere aviation

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L/Cpl SA Colburn & early Windermere aviation

Postby plbramham » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:53 pm

Regarding Lance Corporal Stephen Albert Colburn 25331, died 25 September 1916 and is buried Parkside Road Cemetery, Kendal, Cumbria, so he clearly died “at home”. CWGC lists him as Royal Flying Corps and 10th Border Regiment. I know from previous research that nearby Windermere was a major venue for early aviation and wondered if that was how he came to join the RFC. Perhaps he was an aero mechanic pre-war?
In Edwardian times Lord Edward Wakefield of Kendal experimented with early aviation and in November 1911 was the first Englishman to launch a seaplane called Waterbird, which became one of a fleet of three offering pleasure flights from the lake between November 1911 and January 1912.
The RNAS recognised the importance of aviation and contracted Wakefield to be the primary developer of seaplanes. For two years a team of mechanics secretly worked on 22 seaplane designs under the guise of The Lakes Flying Company at the Hill of Oaks under Stanley Herbert Adams as a pilot, mechanic and seaplane engines developer. There was a private marine base where later The Northern Aircraft Company trained RNAS seaplane pilots from January 1915. It became RNAS Windermere and closed in August 1916. The base was at Blakeholme, now a caravan park, and the officer’s mess (I believe a prefab) was only demolished in the 1980s to make way for caravan stands.
I have identified the aircraft in the hanger by its serial number. It is a Deperdussin tractor monoplane originally numbered by the Admiralty ” M1” (monoplane no. 1), later renumbered to RNAS no 7. It was bought in France by Lt Cdr. C.R.Samson in January 1912 for £1080. It was flown from Paris to ECNFS (?) by Maurice Prevost on 13th April 1912 and then flown by Samson to Windermere (still as M1) to be fitted with a Gnosspelius float, accepted 24th July 1912. It had reverted to wheels at Eastchurch as RNAS no 7 by 29th August 1912. Participated in army manoeuvres 6th – 12th September 1912 flown by Lt Spenser, D.A.Grey and Cdr Samson. Flown by “Draper” was tested after new wings fitted by naval ratings 23 April 1913, engineer was Lt E.Fetherstone Briggs. Probably was run into the ground or damaged by BE46 plane on 22nd or 24th April 1913. Was on Eastchurch patrol August 1914 and on 27th September 1914. Crated Dover 24th October 1914 ( to go to France?) Deleted December 1914.
During World War Two Windermere again played a role in aviation as it was home to a Short Sunderland Flying Boats factory at Calgarth, Troutbeck Bridge, on the lakeshore now occupied by White Cross Bay caravan site ( another one!). The name came from the Sunderlands in their primer paint looking like white crosses in the bay! A small hamlet for workers was built next to the factory on land which is now occupied by The Lakes School. In 1945 the accommodation was used for refugee holocaust child survivors of the concentration camps.
The photos are by permission of The Margaret Duff Collection.
Attachments
parksideColburn.jpg
Colburn's grave in Kendal
hanger1.jpg
The M1 aircraft. Note motorcycle in background
hanger2.JPG
Hanger interior with monoplane
plane launch.JPG
Crew on board a steamboat transfer to/from aircraft. There is an excellent museum of Edwardian steamboats, possibly this one, on the lakeshore.
biplane 9.JPG
Launch ramp, probably Blakeholme
ferry hotel plane.JPG
Over the Ferry Hotel. The ferry is still in operation, hotel closed long ago
waterhead.JPG
Waterhead at the top end of Windermere. Note the steamer "Tern", still in operation, which was used as a training vessel by the Royal Navy during WW2
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Re: L/Cpl SA Colburn & early Windermere aviation

Postby plbramham » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:05 am

On 1911 census Stephen Albert Colburn was single, a driver/general carrier, living at 7 Buttery Well Lane, Kendal, with his mother Lucy Ann a 49 year old widow and charwoman. Also in their 3 room home were his sisters Sarah Elizabeth - a 20 year old weaver, and 17 year old Margaret Ann - a laundress, plus a boarder Maud Mary Capstick a 29 year old warper .
In summer 1912 Colburn married wife maiden name of Sarginson.
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