Lt Col FFR Minchin CBE DSO MC & Bar

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member


    Old Eastbournian Lt Col FFR Minchin CBE DSO MC & Bar, died in an attempted transatlantic flight. Minchin had served with distinction with the Royal Flying Corps in France, north Africa and Macedonia during the First World War. In 1919 he resigned from the RAF and entered civil aviation, flying for Imperial Airways. Always eager for a challenge, he, with two companions, took off from RAF Uphavon on 31 August 1927. After a sighting in mid-Atlantic they were not seen again

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  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    A snippet ......

    The jacket, medals and decorations of Lt Col FFR Minchin are at the ROYAL AIR FORCE MUSEUM Hendon
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    On 31 August 1927 Lieutenant Colonel Frederick F. Minchin, known to his colleagues as 'Dan', Captain Leslie Hamilton, and Princess Loewenstein-Wertheim took off from Upavon airfield in a Dutch Fokker F.VIIA named the St. Raphael in a bid to become the first aviators to cross the Atlantic from east to west.
    The St. Raphael was last sighted some 800 miles (1,300 km) west of Galway heading for Newfoundland. Sadly, the St Raphael was never seen again, and the fate of Lieutenant Colonel Minchin, Captain Leslie Hamilton and Princess Loewenstein-Wertheim remains a mystery
  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Frederick Frank Minchin was born in Madras in 1890 and was educated at Eastbourne College. He passed out of Sandhurst in 1909 and after 2 years resigned his commission to train as a civilian pilot at the recently formed Eastbourne Aviation Company. In 1913 he obtained his Royal Aero Club certificate flying a Bristol Boxkite at the Langney Aerodrome Eastbourne. In 1915 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps(RFC) with the rank of lieutenant and in 1916 was awarded the Military Cross for his daring night bombing flights into enemy territory over Egypt and Palestine. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1918 for his outstanding leadership in directing raids against Bulgarian and Austro-Hungarian armies.
    In 1918 the RFC and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) were merged into the Royal Air Force. In July 1919 he served in India and was appointed a Commander of the British Empire(CBE) having gained three awards for gallantry and Mentioned in Dispatches on three occasions.
    In 1923 Minchin joined one of the first British commercial airlines, Instone, operating from Croydon Aerodrome near London.
  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Heres the Princess .....,9171,736895,00.html

    Princess Ludwig Loewenstein-Wertheim, sister of the Earl of Wexborough and widow to a German prince killed in 1899, at the age of 60 decides to fund an attempt to cross the Atlantic from London to Ottawa, two Empire capitals, in a small plane, the St. Raphael, piloted by Leslie Hamilton and Dan Minchen. On the morning of departure, she arrives in her chauffered car and insists that she's going along to also be the first woman to make the trip. Against their better judgment they take her and are never seen again. Actually, about two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic, they sighted and made wire contact with a steamer. However, the treacherous, opaque Newfoundland fog rolled in and covered nearly a third of the Atlantic, making visual sightings impossible - there is speculation they probably crashed into the sea, but also could have made landfall in the Labrador, one of the most inhospitable areas on earth - we'll never know !
  6. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Found this too !

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

    Lieut. Leslie Hamilton. (Salonika)

    A gallant and skilful scout pilot who never hesitates to attack enemy formations, however superior in numbers. During recent operations he has rendered exceptional service. He has himself brought down, or assisted to bring down, six enemy machines.

    Supplement to the London Gazette 8 February 1919 (31170/2040)
  7. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Princess Lowenstein-Wertheim Accompanies Captain Hamilton and Colonel Minchin In Trip With Ottawa As Goal
    The first trans-Atlantic airplane flight with a woman passenger is under way today.

    The British Fokker monoplane St. Raphael, piloted by Capt. Leslie Hamilton and Lieut. Col. Frederick F. Minchin, and carrying the 63-year-old Princess Lowenstein-Wertheim as a passenger, hopped off from Upavon Airdrome, Wiltshire, England, at 7:31 o'clock this morning (British Time) for Canada.

    It is not certain whether the plane (if it negotiates the trans-ocean leg of the voyage successfully) will land at Ottawa or continue on to London, Ontario, for the $25,000 prize offered for the first non-stop flight from England to London, Ont.
    The distance of the flight is roughly 3,200 miles.

    It was understood the Princess carried plenty of clothing to wear upon her arrival in Canada.
    Before entering the plane, the Princess fell upon her knees and received the archbishop's benediction.
    Minchin is piloting the plane. Hamilton holds the post of navigator.
    This is the third westward trans-Atlantic flight ever attempted. The first by Charles Nungesser and Coli came to grief and the two French airmen were never found. The second, which was attempted by two German junkers planes, ended in failure when storms compelled the pilots of both airplanes to turn back.
    Advices early this afternoon told of the St. Raphael passing over Ireland, the latest telegrams indicating that the plane was passing over the Atlantic from County Galway.
    Weather conditions were reported favorable for flying over the North Atlantic steamer lane.
    Captain Hamilton and Colonel Minchin first planned to leave earlier and the plane was taken from its hangar at 5 o'clock, and wheeled onto the runway for the take-off.
    The gasoline tanks had been filled last night, and all preparations made for the flight. After looking over their plane, the fliers retired, with instructions to be called shortly after 3 o'clock this morning.
    The weather was cloudy, and a heavy mist overhung the field as last-minute preparations for the start were made. The visibility was poor, but the fliers were not to be deterred, and the engine of the plane was tuned up for the start.
    A few moments before 7:30 o'clock, the three figures stepped over the side of the plane's fuselage into the cockpit, Hamilton and Minchin helping their titled passenger into her seat. The engine started with a roar, and the heavily-laden plane sped across the field.
    The two fliers and the princess stole a march on half a dozen other fliers of different nationalities, who had hoped to be the first to cross the ocean from Europe to America by airplane.

    Except for the fact that the flight is being made by three persons instead of one, the daring venture is similar to the early stages of the epochal flight of Col. Charles A. Lindbergh. Little news had been given out regarding the preparations for the flight, and few persons were aware that Minchin and Hamilton had the slightest intention of leaving this morning. It is very likely that no one but the fliers themselves, and perhaps a few intimates, had the least suspicion that the Princess Lowenstein would be a passenger in the plane on its hazardous trip.
    The hop-off thrilled all England as news of the undertaking became generally known. The nation had waited patiently for the long-delayed hop-off of Captain Frank Courtney in his Dornier whale, and upon him had been pinned the hopes of England to equal the achievements of America in the new-found art of trans-Atlantic flying. The sudden and dramatic start of Minchin and Hamilton met with tremendous favor, and unspoken messages of Godspeed were on every tongue.
    Captain Hamilton and Colonel Minchin hope to arrive on the American continent tomorrow morning. They had first expected to fly to New York, but an eleventh-hour change in plans caused them to decide to head for Ottawa.

    Olean Times - Wednesday, August 31, 1927
  8. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member


    LONDON, May 7 - Diamonds and other jewels worth approximately $200,000, the property of Princess Lowenstein-Wertheim, were lost on her ill-fated attempt at a Transatlantic flight in the St. Raphael last August.
    Friends of the late Princess say they consisted of many precious stones and family heirlooms which she treasured almost as dearly as her life, therefore she decided to take them with her.
    In aviation circles which were close to Captain Leslie Hamilton and Colonel F. F. Minchin, who also disappeared with the St. Raphael, the story is [unreadable] that the jewels were taken along with hopes of selling a few of them in the United States in the event that the adventurers needed cash.
    This is denied, but Prince Charles Phillip, Duke of Nemours, who recently married Margaret Watson and who knew all of the late fliers, told the Associated Press correspondent before starting on their honeymoon that Captain Hamilton told him of a scheme to make money on the other side. The proposition, as Hamilton outlined it to the Duke, was this:
    Before starting Hamilton bought 600 one-pound notes. His idea was that as the Saint Raphael landed in America all the notes would be autographed by the Princess, Colonel Minchin and himself and sold for $25 to $30 each or for whatever price they might bring in the souvenir hunters' market.

    The Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) - Monday, May 7, 1928
  9. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Lady Anne Savile, daughter of the fourth Earl, lived nearby in Thames Ditton and a plaque is to be seen inside the Church commemorating her death. Unlike many other members of the Savile family buried in the vault under the High Altar, she has no known grave.

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