Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William Hugh Ewen

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William Hugh Ewen (1879-1947). Early aviator.

1879 December 1st. Born in Shanghai of Scottish Missionary parents

He took a flight across the Firth of Forth on the 31st August 1911 just weeks after soloing under the tutelage at the Louis Bleriot school. The double journey across the Forth was made by Mr. W. H. Ewen on his Deperdussin monoplane. Starting from the Marine Gardens of Portobello, Mr. Ewen rose until he was about 1,000 ft. high, and passing Inch Keith went on until within a mile of Kinghorn. He then turned and proceeded up the Firth in the direction of Leith. Two miles from the port he once more turned, and this time headed for his starting point at Portobello. He was planing down there, but coming to the conclusion that the Sports Ground was rather too restricted for landing, he flew outside the ground, and descended in a field in the neighbourhood. As soon as the mechanics arrived the wings were taken off and the machine wheeled back to the aerodrome. Mr. Ewen was in the air for about ten minutes, and covered roughly twelve miles.

In September 1911, William Hugh Ewen was preparing to open the Lanark Flying School before moving to Hendon near London.

He was instrumental in teaching many to fly at the Ewen Flying School, Hendon before becoming a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps on the 15th November 1915. He transferred to the Royal Air Force on the 1st April 1918 in the rank of Major.

He was the founder of W. H. Ewen Aviation Co which became the British Caudron Co.

A famed organist and conductor, he composed the Zephyr Waltz.

He died in Edinburgh of cancer on the 26th November 1947.

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