Frederick Phillips Raynham OBE (1893-1954), the son of a Suffolk farmer, became interested in aircraft while at school.
He moved to Brooklands in 1909 and worked for J V Neale flying his VI monoplane around Brooklands. He joined Alliott Verdon Roe (Avro) where he learnt to fly with the A V Roe School and later became an instructor. In 1911 aged 17 he earned the 85th Aviator’s Certificate at Brooklands.
He took part in races and record attempts and became a competent pilot. During the First World War he test piloted for Avro, Sopwith and Martinsyde.
The Daily Mail offered £10,000 for the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Raynham had the Raymor built by Martinsyde and had it not crashed on take-off we could be talking about Raynham and Morgan instead of Alcock and Brown, who completed the flight in June 1919. He was granted an honorary commission in the RAF, working as a member of the Air Accident Board from 1940-1943.
‘Freddie’ Raynham rarely won competitions or set records. His obituary in Flight magazine called him ‘Raynham the Unlucky’. He was not unlucky. His skill kept him alive when so many early aviators died.
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