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Amelie’s boys – the flying McCuddens

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Topic: Amelie’s boys – the flying McCuddens
Posted By: NickForder
Subject: Amelie’s boys – the flying McCuddens
Date Posted: 01 Apr 2011 at 14:56
Royal Aeronautical Society NEXT LECTURE,WEDNESDAY 6 APRIL, 19:30, SAMLESBURY
Amelie’s boys – the flying McCuddens
Capt. David Rowland, FRAeS, FRIN
Joint with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
melie Byford, a ‘handsome, dark-haired Chatham girl’, married William McCudden, a regular
soldier in the Royal Engineers, in 1890 and over the next eleven years they had six children –
four of them boys. The boys all served in the Royal Flying Corps, the three oldest becoming pilots
in time to serve and see action during the Great War. Amelie was very proud of her sons, but she
had no illusions about the risks attached to flying.
There is a story to tell about each member of the family, but the second son, James, is usually
the focus of historic attention, and captures the imagination of those of us interested in aviation
history. He was a regular soldier and an air mechanic at the start of the war, rising to the rank of
Major by 1918, and the proud recipient of the Victoria Cross. Depending on how the figures are
interpreted, it can be argued that he was the top-scoring pilot from the UK. Contemporaries recall
a “…complete soldier, thought like a soldier, even walked like a soldier”, and he was admired for
his sheer skill as a pilot and his intelligent approach to combat.
David joined BOAC in 1969 as a co-pilot/navigator on VC 10 aircraft, subsequently joining the
Concorde fleet as a co-pilot in 1976, soon after the aircraft entered service.
Having left the fleet to obtain a command on BAC 1-11 aircraft he returned to Concorde as a
Captain and Flight Manager and later General Manager of the fleet.
Since retirement he has developed his interest in the history of the First World War, both on
the ground on the Western Front and of course, given his background, in the air. He took part in
the BBC2 Timewatch documentary ‘WW1 – Aces Falling’ (March 2009), which focused on the
flying careers of James McCudden and Edward Mannock.
He is a recent Past President and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society; a Fellow of the
Royal Institute of Navigation; and a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. w
Capt. David Rowland
RAeS Past President, 2007-2008

Posted By: EnglishGent
Date Posted: 01 Apr 2011 at 22:24


Love all your posts, thank you. Do you know if a recording or transcript is produced from Royal Aeronautical Society  lectures? This one sounds very interesting.  But alas, I am across the pond on the west coast of the US and won’t be able to attend. Cry

Derek Riley



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