Humble, William 'Bill' (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 12876
Production date
  • whole: Duration 80, Number Of Items 3
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


Purchase & License
Object description

British officer served as test pilot with RAF attached to Hawkers Aircraft Company at Langley, GB, 1940-1948

Content description

REEL 1 Background in GB, 1911-1940: family; education; learning to fly at Marshall's of Cambridge; employment as mining engineer, purchasing Speed Six Hawk aircraft, 1935; racing aircraft; joining 504 Sqdn, Auxiliary Air Force, 1930; joining RAF officer reserve; reserved occupation status, 1939- 1940. Recollections of period as test pilot with Hawkers Aircraft Company Ltd at Langley, GB, 1940-1948: background to obtaining post as test pilot and types of aircraft flown prior; adjusting Hawker Hurricane ailerons; background to joining Experimental Department; incident of Hawker Hurricane cockpit filled with smoke; story of tail coming of Hawker Typhoon in which fellow test pilot was injured; problems of tail coming off Hawker Typhoon. REEL 2 Continues: character of Hawker Tempest; character of Hawker Fury; first flight as chief test pilot in the experimental Hawker P10/40 jet at Boscombe Down, 1947; vibration problem with Hawker P10/40; his discovery of origin of vibration problem in Hawker P10/40; attitude to becoming sales manager, 1948; question of problem of elevator flutter in the Hawker Typhoon; problem of spinning Hawker Typhoon; memories of George Bulman; occasion when he stalled starboard wing on Hawker Fury on landing; reasons for starboard wing stalling on Hawker Fury; relations with Sir Sidney Camm; attitude to being test pilot with Hawker Aircraft Company; question of stress faced by test pilots. REEL 3 Continues: memories of Geoffrey De Havilland; opinion of Sir Thomas Sopwith's flying skills; story of forced landing in Hawker Tempest after dreaming of event the previous night, 1943; wheels up forced landing at small airfield near Henley on Thames; tactics employed by Hawker Typhoon pilots in engaging Focke Wulf Fw 190; memories of test pilots with De Havilland and Glosters; flying early jet aircraft; memories of 'Wimpey' Wade; memories of Neville Duke and his record flight from GB to Pakistan.

Associated people and organisations
Associated places
Associated events
Associated themes
Associated subjects

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM

  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML