Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,668 pages of information and 235,204 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Frederick George Miles

From Graces Guide

Frederick George Miles (1903-1976), aircraft designer and manufacturer.

1903 Born on 22 March in Worthing, Sussex, the oldest of four sons of Frederick G. Miles, laundry proprietor, and his wife, Esther.

1911 Frederick G Miles 34, laundry propreitor, lived in Steyning, with Esther Miles 30 Frederick G Miles 8, Reginald H Miles 5, Dennis William Miles 3[1]

1911 Another brother, George, was born

1916 Left school in Brighton at the age of thirteen and started a motorcycle rental business.

1922 With the help of friends, designed and built a small biplane, the Gnat, in his father's laundry.

1928 Partnership with Cecil Pashley in a flying school and joyriding business, the Gnat Aero Company Ltd, in Shoreham. They bought derelict aircraft and undertook repairs; split into two companies, the Southern Aero Club Ltd, and Southern Aircraft Ltd.

1929 The Miles brothers, Fred and George, designed aircraft, the Southern Martlet, which on July 10th 1929 took off from Shoreham.

1932 Fred married the recently divorced Maxine (Blossom) Freeman-Thomas. Together they designed the Miles M1 Satyr, a single-seat biplane which was built for them by George Parnall and Co[2].

1933 They designed the Hawk, which was built by Phillips and Powis Aircraft at Woodley, near Reading.

Following the success of the Hawk, they joined Phillips and Powis; Miles became technical director and chief designer.

1935 Phillips and Powis Aircraft was converted into a public company, with Rolls-Royce's financial backing.

1936 Colonel Charles Lindbergh asked Miles to build him a fast, long range, light aeroplane for European business trips. This became the Mohawk, first flown in 1937.

1936 Began producing training airplanes for the Air Ministry; the Miles Magister (a development of the Hawk) remained a standard trainer for the RAF throughout the Second World War with more than 1200 built.

1937 Miles became managing director, with his brother George H. Miles as technical director and chief designer.

1938 £2 million order for the Miles Master from the Air Ministry, more than 3000 produced in total.

1941 Rolls-Royce sold its shares to Frederick George Miles who became chairman as well as managing director; his wife and brother also became directors[3]

1943 Miles promoted a scheme for a combined land-plane and flying-boat airport near Gravesend[4]

1943 Company renamed Miles Aircraft Ltd with Miles as chairman and managing director. At its peak the company had 6000 employees. Miles and his wife started the Miles Aeronautical School to train technicians and draughtsmen, which lasted until 1948.

1943 Sir Stafford Cripps, Minister of Aircraft Production, awarded Miles a contract to design and produce a supersonic aircraft, the M52, powered by a Whittle engine.

1946 February the prototype was almost ready but the contract was cancelled by the Ministry following the discovery of German research on swept-back wings. Miles was required to send all the technical data to NASA.

Miles built a 4-engine passenger plane which was taken over by a subsidiary of Handley Page[5]

1948 Miles Aircraft Ltd failed as result of the problems in returning to civil aircraft production. Miles started a new business at Redhill.

1949 Started F. G. Miles Engineering Ltd at Shoreham of which he was chairman and managing director. Widened his business interests into electronics and structural plastics with new subsidiaries including Miles Electronics, Miles Hivolt and Miles Marine and Structural Plastics.

1961 the firm joined the newly formed Beagle Group of aircraft companies, with Miles as deputy chairman of the Beagle-Miles subsidiary and George Miles as group chief engineer.

1969 After the collapse of the Beagle Group in 1969, the Miles Group included Miles Electronics, F. G. Miles Engineering, Miles Hivolt and Miles Marine and Structural Plastics Ltd, all of Shoreham[6].

1976 Died on 15 August 1976 in Worthing.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1911 census
  2. Flight, 28 August 1976
  3. The Times, Apr 30, 1941
  4. The Times, Jul 21, 1943
  5. The Times, Aug 17, 1976
  6. Flight Archive [1]
  • Biography of Frederick George Miles by Anne Pimlott Baker, ODNB.