Walter Laurence Brock
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Illinois-born American aviation pioneer, most famous for his flying feats in Britain
Walter Brock, a skilled master aviation mechanic and machinist, arrived in Britain in 1911 with a US Aviator’s License, earned at Chicago’s Ashburn Airport.
It was, however, in Britain that Brock really learned to fly, at the Deperdussin Flying School at Hendon Aerodrome, both owned by legendary aircraft constructor Claude Grahame-White. He earned his British Aviators Licence on August 17, 1912, flying in Grahame-White’s French Deperdussin-A monoplane.
Brock went on to achieve great fame as a racing pilot, scoring victories all over Europe until the beginning of World War I. The most famous and prestigious race he won was on July 11, 1914, from London to Paris. The aircraft he flew was a Morane-Saulnier H-type Monoplane, powered by an 80 hp Gnome Rotary engine.
Sadly, Brock’s racing days came to an abrupt end when war broke out and all British civilian aircraft were ordered to be turned over to the military.
From 1917 onwards, very little is known about Walter Brock’s life. One story has it that he was drafted into the aircraft industry during WWII by the Federal Government to help with the development of Boeing’s B-29 pneumatic bomb bay doors.
What is known is that in his last years he acted as a mentor for the Illinois Model Aero Club.This is a very fine vintage sepia postcard, nicely signed and dated (July 11, 1914) to a clear area in blue fountain pen ink. In very good condition. A pencilled note to the reverse reads “first card to be signed on return from Paris after winning race”. VERY RARE