January’s object of the month is a menu from the archive. On 19 January 1914, Hendon Aviators held an ‘Upside Down’ dinner at the Club. The menu was printed backwards and all the courses were eaten in reverse order. The menu celebrated the first British Aviators to ‘loop the loop’ in an aircraft with a passenger. Aerobatic displays were extremely popular and drew large crowds. The menu celebrates the loop the loop achieved by Britons Gustav Hamel and B.C.Hucks.
Bentfield Hucks was the first Briton to loop the loop – without a passenger – in 1913. Like Hamel, he held the Royal Aero Club’s Flying Certificate. He is credited with inventing the Hucks Starter. Sadly, Bentfield Hucks died of double pneumonia just four days before the end of the First World War.
Gustav Wilhelm Hamel was a pioneering aviator and son of the Royal Physician to King Edward VII. He was born in Hamburg, but became a naturalized British Citizen in 1910. A skilled pilot, he was the first person to deliver airmail in Great Britain on 9 September 1911, when he flew between Hendon and Windsor in 18 minutes. He even found time to write a postcard en route. Hamel sadly disappeared over the English Channel on 23 May 1914.