A magnificent man in his flying machine

The first plane ever to land in Peterborough
The first plane ever to land in Peterborough
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The first aeroplane to fly over Peterborough was piloted by W H Ewen in October 1911.

A year later he was at the controls for the first landing of an aircraft in Peterborough.

Crowds gather to greet the plane and pilot  W H Ewen

Crowds gather to greet the plane and pilot W H Ewen

Thousands gathered to greet him in June 1912 as he arrived at the old golf links in Walton in his aircraft, a 60 HP Cauldron.

Amid the excitement he was presented with a rose bowl by the city’s mayor C. E. Crawley to mark his achivement.

Ewen thrilled the crowds by doing some demonstration flights before he headed off for Lincoln.

But he had barely reached tree height when he hit one and crashed. Fortunately, neither he nor his mechanic was hurt in the accident.

Pilot WH Ewen

Pilot WH Ewen

One of the picture shows crowds milling round the crashed plane.

The first recorded fatality in a civilian air crash in the Peterborough area occured eight years later in 1920.

The last picture was taken before the plane’s fateful flight from opposite the Cock Inn in Werrington.The pilotand two passengers (none of whom are on the picture) died when the wings collapsed as the aircraft looped the loop at 2,000 ft.

One of the dead was a Mr Guest, who was the son of the landlord of the Salmon and Compass pub in Peterborough.

Crowds mill round the crashed plane

Crowds mill round the crashed plane

The plane which later crashed and led to the city's first civilian aviation deaths

The plane which later crashed and led to the city's first civilian aviation deaths