Tommy Sopwith
  and
Harry Hawker 

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Tommy Sopwith and Harry Hawker were local aviation pioneers.

Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith, 1888-1989, was an affluent young Englishman who set up an aircraft factory in 1912 by leasing a roller-skating rink, situated behind the present Gala Club, near Kingston Station. The 1914-18 war hastened his success and he built bigger premises near Ham Common. The rink then reverted to it's original purpose, but we are not told what state the wooden-block floor was in.

Harry George Hawker, 1889-1921, was an Australian from Moorabbin, Victoria, who came to England determined to learn to fly. He was successful and made many important flights but died following an incident at Hendon, when his plane caught fire.

So much has been written about these famous men that I would do well not to try to add to it, but supply links to their biographers. My photos show the factory used to build the ABC motorcycle and the premises where Tommy Sopwith, in conjunction with the famous Sidney Camm, designed and built the first Hawker Hurricane, together with the hoist used to carry heavy parts clear of the factory floor.

The memorial to Harry Hawker is near his home in Hook, five miles to the south of Hampton Wick

Tommy Sopwith | Tommy Sopwith | Tommy Sopwith

Harry Hawker | Harry Hawker | Harry Hawker

 

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