Edwin Harris Dunning

Last updated

Edwin Harris Dunning
Dunning First Moving Carrier Landing IWM Q 110613.jpg
Dunning is congratulated after landing on HMS Furious in his Sopwith Pup on 2 August 1917
Born17 July 1892
South Africa
Died7 August 1917 (1917-08-08) (aged 25)
Scapa Flow, Orkney
Buried
Bradfield, Essex
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Naval Air Service
Years of service–1917
Rank Squadron Commander
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Distinguished Service Cross

Squadron Commander Edwin Harris Dunning, DSC (17 July 1892 – 7 August 1917), of the British Royal Naval Air Service, was the first pilot to land an aircraft on a moving ship.

Contents

Early life

Dunning was born in South Africa [1] on 17 July 1892 the second child of Sir Edwin Harris Dunning of Jacques Hall, Bradfield, Essex. He was educated at Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth. [2]

First landing on a moving ship

Dunning's Sopwith Pup veering off the flight deck of HMS Furious during his fatal attempt to land on the carrier while underway. Dunning killed on second carrier landing IWM Q 80597.jpg
Dunning's Sopwith Pup veering off the flight deck of HMS Furious during his fatal attempt to land on the carrier while underway.

Dunning landed his Sopwith Pup on HMS Furious in Scapa Flow, Orkney on 2 August 1917. He was killed five days later, during his third landing attempt of the day, when an updraft caught his port wing, throwing his plane overboard. Knocked unconscious, he drowned in the cockpit. [3]

He is buried at St Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, between his parents. A plaque in the church states:

The Admiralty wish you to know what great service he performed for the Navy. It was in fact a demonstration of landing an Aeroplane on the deck of a Man-of-War whilst the latter was under way. This had never been done before;and the data obtained was of the utmost value. It will make Aeroplanes indispensable to a fleet;& possibly, revolutionise Naval Warfare. The risk taken by Squadron Commander Dunning needed much courage. He had already made two successful landings;but expressed a wish to land again himself, before other Pilots did so;and in this last run he was killed. My Lords desire to place on record their sense of the loss to the Naval Service of this gallant Officer.

In memory of Dunning, the Dunning Cup or Dunning Memorial Cup is given annually to the officer who is considered to have done most to further aviation in connection with the Fleet for the year in question. [4] In the 1950s and 1960s it was awarded to Royal Air Force squadrons which achieve the highest standard on courses at the Joint Anti-Submarine School. [5]

The grave of Edwin Harris Dunning grave in the churchyard of St Lawrence, Bradfield, Essex The grave of Edwin Harris Dunning grave in the churchyard of St Lawrence, Bradfield, Essex.jpg
The grave of Edwin Harris Dunning grave in the churchyard of St Lawrence, Bradfield, Essex
A memorial to Edwin Harris Dunning in St Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, Essex A memorial to Edwin Harris Dunning in St Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, Essex.jpg
A memorial to Edwin Harris Dunning in St Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, Essex
A window memorial plaque to Edwin Harris Dunning in St Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, Essex A window memorial plaque to Edwin Harris Dunning in St Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, Essex.jpg
A window memorial plaque to Edwin Harris Dunning in St Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, Essex

Honours and awards

Notes

  1. 1901 Census of Eastbourne – RG13/880 Folio 34 Page 11 (10, Landsdowne Terrace, Eastbourne)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. The First World War: A Complete History by Sir Martin Gilbert
  4. "Dunning Cup – Award for 1920". Flight: 495. 21 July 1921.
  5. "JASS Award". Flight International: 102. 18 January 1962.
  6. "No. 29507". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 March 1916. p. 2870.
  7. "No. 30316". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 October 1917. p. 10156.

Related Research Articles

Royal Naval Air Service former air arm of the Royal Navy

The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) was the air arm of the Royal Navy, under the direction of the Admiralty's Air Department, and existed formally from 1 July 1914 to 1 April 1918, when it was merged with the British Army's Royal Flying Corps to form the Royal Air Force, the world's first independent air force.

Richard Bell Davies Recipient of the Victoria Cross

Vice Admiral Richard Bell Davies,, also known as Richard Bell-Davies, was a senior Royal Navy commander, naval aviator, and a First World War recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Sopwith Pup British WW1 biplane fighter aircraft

The Sopwith Pup was a British single-seater biplane fighter aircraft built by the Sopwith Aviation Company. It entered service with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in the autumn of 1916. With pleasant flying characteristics and good manoeuvrability, the aircraft proved very successful. The Pup was eventually outclassed by newer German fighters, but it was not completely replaced on the Western Front until the end of 1917. Remaining Pups were relegated to Home Defence and training units. The Pup's docile flying characteristics also made it ideal for use in aircraft carrier deck landing and takeoff experiments.

835 Naval Air Squadron was a former squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm originally formed in February 1942 as a torpedo bomber and reconnaissance unit flying Fairey Swordfish. In June 1943, six Sea Hurricanes were added to the squadron as a fighter flight. The composite unit exchanged the Hurricanes in September 1944 for Grumman Wildcats, serving on until 1 April 1945, when the squadron disbanded.

Gordon Thomson (rower) British rower

Gordon Lindsay Thomson was an English rower who competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics for Great Britain. During the First World War he served as a pilot in the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force.

Victor Smith Australian admiral, Chief of Naval Staff, Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee

Admiral Sir Victor Alfred Trumper Smith, was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Smith's career culminated with his appointment as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee—forerunner of the role of Australia's Chief of the Defence Force—from 1970 to 1975, following an earlier term as Chief of Naval Staff from 1968 to 1970.

Captain William Melville Alexander was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with 22 aerial victories.

825 Naval Air Squadron

825 Naval Air Squadron is a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Naval Air Squadron which was re-commissioned on 10 October 2014 and currently flies the AgustaWestland Wildcat HMA.2.

Squadron Leader Leonard Henry Rochford was a British World War I flying ace credited with twenty-nine aerial victories. He returned to military service in the Royal Air Force during World War II.

Captain Charles Roger Lupton was a British World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories.

Squadron Leader Herbert Gardner Travers was a World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories. Post-war, he worked in civil aviation. He returned to service during World War II.

Captain Rowan Heywood Daly was a British flying ace credited with three aerial victories during World War I, and an additional four victories in Russia during 1919.

Captain Thomas Frederick Le Mesurier DSC & Two Bars was a British flying ace of the First World War credited with seven aerial victories. Le Mesurier was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and Two Bars for his conspicuous service in bombing operations.

Captain Howard John Thomas Saint was a Welsh First World War flying ace credited with seven aerial victories. He became the chief test pilot for the Gloster Aircraft Company in the 1930s.

Stanley Gordon Orr, was the highest scoring fighter ace of the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Flying with the Fleet Air Arm he was credited with the destruction of 17 aircraft. His success was recognised by the awards of the Distinguished Service Cross and Two Bars, an Air Force Cross and a Mention in Despatches.

William Henry Atkinson Canadian flying ace

William Henry Isaac Atkinson DSC, CD was the highest scoring fighter ace of the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and the last pilot from The Commonwealth to become an ace during the war. Atkinson claimed five aircraft destroyed and two shared. During the war he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and was Mentioned in Despatches. Remaining in the navy after the war he was awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration and clasp.

Air Vice Marshal Frederick George Darby Hards, was a Royal Air Force officer who served as Air Officer Commanding British Forces Aden from 1941 until his retirement in 1943.

Major Thomas Francis Netterville Gerrard was a British World War I flying ace credited with 10 aerial victories. He died following a post-war equestrian accident.

Francis John Linnell Royal Air Force air marshals

Air Marshal Sir Francis John Linnell, was a senior Royal Air Force commander during the Second World War. He was Controller of Research and Development of the Ministry of Aircraft Production during the development of the Bouncing bomb, the weapon eventually employed in Operation Chastise. 'Jack' was dubbed Sir Francis in the desert in front of the British press by King George VI and posthumously appointed Commander of the Legion of Merit by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Neville Usborne was a British naval officer who played a prominent part in British military lighter-than-air aviation before the First World War. He was involved with the construction of the first British rigid airship HMA No. 1 and was killed in one of the first experiments in launching an aeroplane from an airship.

References