On 12th May, 1919, two intrepid flyers arrived at Kenley after a trip to Madrid.
Here is the story from ‘Flight’ magazine, 15th May, 1919, page 650:
“Two DeH 4’s, piloted by Lieut.-Col. W. D. Beatty and Capt. Square respectively, and a Bristol Fighter in charge of Maj. Payne left Biggin Hill on the morning of May 7 for Madrid, but, owing to severe weather in the Pyrenees, a stop had to be made at Pau. The machines, however, reached Madrid on May 9. All four machines made a flight in formation on Sunday over Madrid carrying representatives of the Spanish Government.
On Monday Col. Beatty accompanied by Lieut. G. M. Jeffery, left Madrid at 6.15a.m., and landed at Kenley, near Croydon, at 6p.m., having stopped at Pau and Tours for food and petrol.
Some of the other pilots are staying in Spain to give further demonstrations.”
WING COMMANDER WILLIAM DAWSON BEATTY(1884-1941) CBE, AFC, was born in Darjeeling in 1884. He was a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, living in Plumstead, when he gained his aviator’s certificate at Brooklands in 1911.
In 1914 he was advanced from Captain, Royal Engineers, to Squadron Commander, Royal Flying Corps, and by 1916, was Assistant Director of Military Aeronautics. In 1920, Beatty was awarded a Spanish decoration of military merit. He died in Egypt, on 9th June, 1941 and lies at rest in Cairo War Cemetery, Hasan Al Anwar, Misr Al Qadimah, Cairo Governorate.
- Many thanks to Neil Jordan.