Sidcot flying suit... total star invented it


I'm reading a lot of WW1 RFC memoirs at the moment, idly looked up 'Sidcot suit' to see the details.


Sidney Cotton...

What a bloke!

Spying on Nazi Germany, from a plane with secret cameras, with Kesselring at the contrs completely unaware!!!
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Cotton sadly fell out with the Air Ministry establishment early in WW2 and was put to one side without much recognition . For a good account read Spies In The Sky by Taylor Downing
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Cotton was clever but egotistical. His eventual downfall as head of photographic reconnaissance was was down to him endlessly picking fights with bureaucracy, even when there were alternative ways of achieving the goal.

His successor in charge of PR, Geoffrey Tuttle, was not adverse to picking fights with bureaucracy either, but he only picked the ones he had to when other means had failed.

But a lot of the credit for the RAF's success in PR in WW2 belongs to Cotton.

Wordsmith
 
Cotton sadly fell out with the Air Ministry establishment early in WW2 and was put to one side without much recognition . For a good account read Spies In The Sky by Taylor Downing
Just downloaded "last plane out of Berlin", Google books, will read that first, thanks for the steer.
 
Nah, he missed it.... last seen ranting at G4 near the metal detectors...
The last plane out of wartime Berlin was during the evening of 28 April 1945 when Hanna Reitsch and Ritter von Greim (who had arrived two days before as a General and was now leaving as a Field Marshal commanding the remnants of the Luftwaffe) took off from the Ost-West-Achse (now Straße des 17. Juni) in an Arado Ar 96. It is often claimed that Reitsch piloted the aircraft but she states the following in her autobiography:

Die "Arado" stand in einer Splitterbox. Sie unter diesen Umständen hier gelandet zu haben, bedeutete eine hervorragende fliegerische Leistung. Es war derselbe Pilot gewesen, mit dem wir nach Gatow geflogen waren. Jetzt mußten wir zu dritt herausfliegen, obwohl die Maschine nur zweisitzig war.
[TRANS] The Arado stood in a revetment. To have landed here under the circumstances was an outstanding piece of flying. It was the same pilot who had flown us into Gatow. Now the three of us had to fly out although the aircraft was only a two-seater.

SOURCE:

Reitsch, Hanna. Fliegen - mein Leben. Ullstein, Frankfurt/Main, 1996. ISBN 3-548-35615-X
 

Niamac

GCM
Recently I got and read his autobiography "Aviator Extraordinary: The Sidney Cotton Story". He was one of these mad buggers that wars throw up and he seems to have lived many lives of interest. Everything was related to aviation and his last major effort was running guns into Hyderabad. He was supporting the hereditary ruler against Nehru's intention to incorporate it into India after Independence. He was running them from Pakistan much against desires of the British Foreign Office. The aircraft they used were Lancastrians (converted/derived Lancaster bombers?) against the Indian Air Force flying Tempests. It took him ages to get paid for it.
 
The last plane out of wartime Berlin was during the evening of 28 April 1945 when Hanna Reitsch and Ritter von Greim (who had arrived two days before as a General and was now leaving as a Field Marshal commanding the remnants of the Luftwaffe) took off from the Ost-West-Achse (now Straße des 17. Juni) in an Arado Ar 96. It is often claimed that Reitsch piloted the aircraft but she states the following in her autobiography:



[TRANS] The Arado stood in a revetment. To have landed here under the circumstances was an outstanding piece of flying. It was the same pilot who had flown us into Gatow. Now the three of us had to fly out although the aircraft was only a two-seater.

SOURCE:

Reitsch, Hanna. Fliegen - mein Leben. Ullstein, Frankfurt/Main, 1996. ISBN 3-548-35615-X

I think Cotton claimed to be the last one out before WW2.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
I think Cotton claimed to be the last one out before WW2.
He also took some of the first effective PR photos of WW2. The RAF was having trouble taking photos from high altitude. They wouldn't listen to Cotton's advice in a meeting on 15th September so (as a civilian) he took his civilian aircraft over to the Dutch coast and took the required photos. He returned to a follow up meeting the next day and produced some very clear and exquisitely annotated photographs.

The meeting assumed they were prewar photographs. Cotton said they'd been taken the previous afternoon - whereupon the meeting exploded in anger and Cotton had to leave before he lost his temper. The end result of the meeting was Cotton was called to a meeting with Cyril Newall, the current Chief of the Air Staff, and told to set up an RAF PR unit with the rank of acting Wing Commander. It would not be the last time he crossed swords with RAF bureaucracy.

Wordsmith
 

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