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 134,035 pages of information and 213,123 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Robert Smith-Barry

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Robert Smith Barry (1886-1949). Eraly aviator. played a leading role in organising the training of British pilots during the First World War.

Smith-Barry learned to fly by taking lessons in 1911 at Larkhill and later at the Central Flying School, Upavon.

When war broke out in August 1914 Smith-Barry enlisted for military service and he flew on night-time anti-Zeppelin patrols. He was commanding officer at No. 60 Squadron (which included Albert Ball).

In August 1917 Smith-Barry secured the agreement of Hugh Trenchard, to return to Britain and re-organise training at a new school at Gosport. The curriculum was based upon a combination of academic classroom training and dual flight instruction. He was clear in stressing that students were not to be led away from potentially dangerous manoeuvres but were instead to be exposed to them in a controlled environment in order that the student could learn to recover from errors of judgement.

Smith-Barry's methods gained worldwide renown and his techniques was rapidly adopted among other combatant nations.

Smith-Barry, who served once again at Upavon during the Second World War, died in 1949.

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Sources of Information

  • [1] First World War