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 135,272 pages of information and 216,057 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Percy Townley Rawlings

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search

Percy Townley Rawlings (1887-1919) was an early aviator

1919. He was killed in the maiden flight of the Tarrant Tabor along with Frederick George Dunn the chief pilot.


A tribute to Capt. Rawlings comes from Mr. Henry Edmunds, a life-long friend of the deceased officer. Mr. Edmunds writes:— [1]

"May I, as an old friend of Percy Townley Rawlings, D.F.C., send you a few lines of appreciation? I knew Rawlings since his birth, his father and I being neighbours. He was France Removes Restrictions the youngest of three children (all sons) of the same generation as my own children. In early life his mother passed away.

"As a boy, Rawlings was always interested in scientific matters, particularly photography and motors. He was educated at St. Andrew's, Eastbourne, under the guidance of the Rev. E. L. Brown; then at St. Peter's, Westminster, where he gained a scholarship, and he afterwards acquitted himself with honours at Trinity College, Cambridge.

"He was manly, open, and frank, fearless and honest, of an enquiring mind, and fond of experimenting. I remember his pre-heating paraffin vapour electrically, as a fuel for explosive engines.

"Before the War, after leaving Cambridge, he trained as an engineer at Woolwich; and, later on, he had a Government appointment in the Soudan. His two brothers have each served their country, one in the Army throughout the War, the other in the Navy, where he is now Commander Rawlings.

"It was at my house at Brighton that Rawlings met Mr. W. G. Tarrant, who was spending the week-end with me. Rawlings had just returned from the famous flight in the Handley Page to Constantinople, where he bombed the 'Goeben.' I remember his describing vividly his impressions of that memorable journey. If I recollect correctly, he motored down to Folkestone somewhat rapidly. He told me he believed the police were on the look-out for him for exceeding the speed-limit; but he went from Folkestone by air, proceeding to Naples. It was delightful to hear him recount that remarkable voyage. Their fears lest they should not be able to cross some of the high mountain ranges with the heavy load they were carrying, and where, had anything happened, they would have been out of the reach of all human aid. How he availed himself of a special camera for photographing portions of his trip, the results of which he feared it might be unwise to disclose at that time, so he brought the negatives back with him, and I believe they wore kept personally until after the War.

"He and Mr. Tarrant were mutually attracted to each other, and discussed with much seriousness the construction of a new type of bombing-plane, which eventuated in the great Tarrant machine. Rawlings joined Tarrant shortly afterwards, and devoted all his energies to carrying on the work of design and construction. On several occasions he came down to see me, and related his experiences. He was full of confidence as to the future of his work; and invited me to take my first flight with him.

"Townley Rawlings was a gallant gentleman. Those whom the gods love are taken early."


1921 Obituary [2]

Captain PERCY TOWNLEY RAWLINGS, D.S.0 , R.A.F., was born on 22nd September 1887.

He was educated at Westminster School and Cambridge University, where he obtained honours in the Mechanical Sciences Tripos.

In 1910 he went to Woolwich Arsenal as advanced workshop student, and in the following year he obtained a Commission in the Royal Engineers (S.R.).

In 1912 he entered the Public Works Department of the Sudan Government, and during 1913-14 acted as engineer to the Egyptian Irrigation Service on the construction of the Blue Nile Dam.

On the outbreak of the War he was sent to France, as Lieut. R.E., in the 2nd Field Co., being transferred in the following year to the R.N.V.R., for engineering duties with the R.N.A.S.

In 1917 he flew to Constantinople in a Handley-Page machine, and bombed the Goeben, for which he received the D.S.C.

His death took place, as the result of an aeroplane accident, on 26th May 1919, at the age of thirty-one.

He became an Associate Member of this Institution in 1916.



See Also

Loading...

Sources of Information