Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,159 pages of information and 233,681 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Robert Francis Macfie

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Robert Francis Macfie (1881-1943). Early aviator.

Robert Francis Macfie is one of the unsung minor heroes of the story of the origins of the tank. A talented Scots-Canadian engineer and early aviator (he had built and flown three aeroplanes between 1909 and 1911).

c1882 Born in the San Francisco the son of Robert Andrew Macfie

1891 Living at Dreghorn Castle, Colinton, Midlothian: Robert A. Macfie (age 79 born Leith), Retired Merchant. With his wife Caroline E. Macfie (age 77 born India) and their grandson Robert F. Macfie (age 9 born USA) and Douglas A. Macfie (age 6 born Kingdorn, Hawanan). Seven servants.[1]

1901 Student at Engineering College, Devonport: Robert Francis Macfie (age 19 born USA and British subject).[2]

1911 Living at 25 Kildare Terrace, Paddington: Robert Francis Macfie (age 29 born San Francisco), Aeronautical Engineer and Aviator working on Own Account.[3]

1911 October 4th. Married Kathleen Armstrong.

1919 The Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors recognised that Mr Macfie had originated ideas that related to "tanks" but did not find any evidence that these ideas were communicated to those involved in developing tanks; he and Mr Nesfield were each awarded £500[4]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1891 Census
  2. 1901 Census
  3. 1911 Census
  4. The Times, Nov 28, 1919