The Aerial Derby was an air race in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Daily Mail in which the competitors flew a circuit around London. It was first held in 1912, with subsequent races in 1913 and 1914. Suspended during the First World War, the event was revived in 1919 with a "Victory Aerial Derby". Further races were held in 1920, 1921,1922 and 1923. Although a race was scheduled for 1924 there were insufficient entries, and the event was cancelled and not held again.


The first race, held on Saturday 8 June consisted of a single circuit of a 81 mi (130 km) course, starting and finishing at Hendon Aerodrome with control points at Kempton Park, Esher, Purley and Purfleet. At these contestants had to fly low enough for the judges to see the race number of their aircraft. The first prize was £250 and a gold cup.

The first competition was the subject of enormous public interest, with around 45,000 people paying to view the start and finish at Hendon and enormous crowds gathering along the route.[1]

Sopwith was the first contestant to finish; he was then disqualified for having missed the control point at Purley. He appealed against the judgement, and was later pronounced the winner:[2] visibility had been poor, and Sopwith had in fact passed well outside the marker, unseen by the judges.

Fifteen aviators were expected to start the race but due to the bad weather only seven started:

Pilot Aircraft / Engine Time Speed Notes
S. V. Sippé Hanriot
50 hp Gnome
Did not finish owing to engine trouble
Thomas Sopwith 70 hp Blériot XI-2
70 hp Gnome
1h 23m 8.4s
Gustav Hamel 70 hp Blériot XI-2
70 hp Gnome
1h 38m 46s Carried Miss Eleanor Trehawke Davies as passenger
P. Verrier Maurice Farman
70 hp Renault
Carried the Daily Mirror photographer Ivor Castle as passenger. Did not finish owing to losing way in cloud.
William Barnard Rhodes-Moorhouse Radley-Moorhouse
50 hp Gnome
2h 0m 22s Second prize of £100
James Valentine Bristol Prier monoplane
50 hp Gnome
2h 26m 39s Third prize of £50
Maurice Guillaux Caudron monoplane
45 hp Anzani
Ran out of fuel just before finish while leading the race.


The second competition was held on Saturday 20 September, and was flown over a slightly longer 94 mi (151 km) course, alterations having been made because the original route crossed areas prohibited under the recently passed Air Navigation Order.[3] As well as the Daily Mail trophy and £200 prize a trophy and three prizes of £100, £70 and £25 were given by Shell for the winner of a handicap competition.

Entrants and results[4]

Pilot Aircraft Handicap Time Speed Notes
Gustav Hamel Morane-Saulnier
80 hp Gnome
Scratch 1h 15m 49s 76 mph (122 km/h) Overall winner
Harold Barnwell Martinsyde
120 hp Austro-Daimler
6m 39s 1h 18m 44s 72.5 mph (116.7 km/h)
Harry Hawker Sopwith
80 hp Gnome
12m 10s 1h 25m 24s 67 mph (108 km/h)
F. P. Raynham Avro 504
80 hp Gnome
11m 43s 1h 26m 1s 66.5 mph (107.0 km/h)
R. Slack Morane-Saulnier
80 hp Rhône
5m 4s 1h 29m 59s 62.5 mph (100.6 km/h)
B. C. Hucks Blériot
80 hp Gnome
19m 0s 1h 30m 53s 63 mph (101 km/h) Winner of the Shell trophy for the handicap competition
W. L. Brock Blériot
80 hp Gnome
19m 57s 1h 32m 29s 61.5 mph (99.0 km/h)
P. Marty Morane-Saulnier
50 hp Rhône
10m 46s

1h 35m 51s

59.5 mph (95.8 km/h)
P. Verrier Henry Farman
80 hp Gnome
29m 8s 1h 45m 7s 54 mph (87 km/h)


Originally to be held on 23 May, but postponed to 6 June due to poor weather conditions. Weather conditions on the day it was held were little better, with some contestants failing to start because they had been unable to fly to Hendon on the day. Won by Walter Brock.

Entrants and results[5]

Competition No. Pilot Aircraft Handicap[6] Time Speed Notes
1 Filip Bjorklund Blériot
50 hp Gnome Omega
40m 51s Retired, landing at Epsom.
2 W. Birchenough M. Farman
70 hp Gnome
48m 21s Retired, landing in Richmond Park
5 R. H. Carr H. Farman
80 hp Gnome
33m 34s 1h 46m 27
6 P. Verrier H. Farman
80 hp Gnome
36m 51s 1h 49m 50s
8 L. A. Strange Blériot
80 hp Gnome
29m 46s Retired, landing at West Wickham
9 J. Alcock H. Farman
100 hp Sunbeam
34m 51s Retired
12 W. L. Brock Morane-Saulnier G
80 hp Gnome
20m 24s 1h 18m 54s Overall winner
13 Louis Noël Morane-Saulnier G
80 hp Gnome
20m 54s 1h 15m 9s Disqualified for missing two of the control points owing to poor visibility
14 Lord Carbery Morane-Saulnier G
80 hp Le Rhône
17m 6s
18 Howard Pixton Sopwith Tabloid
100 hp Gnome
6m 20s Retired
15 R.H. Barnwell Sopwith Tabloid
100 hp Gnome
scratch Retired


Dubbed the "Victory Aerial Derby" in reference to the Allied victory in World War I and held on 21 June[7] over the same course as the 1914 event, but due to the increased speed of aircraft over two circuits rather than one. Won by G. Gathergood flying a D.H.4R with M.C. Hammersley flying an Avro Baby winning the handicap race.

Entrants and results[8]

Competition No. Pilot Aircraft Handicap Time Speed Notes
1 Clifford Prodger BAT Bantam
170 hp ABC Wasp
16m 0s Did not finish
2 P. R. T. Chamberlayne Grahame-White Bantam
80 hp Le Rhône
Did not finish
3 C. Draper B.A.T. Bantam
200 hp ABC. Wasp
13m 20s 1h 37m 7s 116.78 mph (187.94 km/h) Modified, with reduced -span lower wings.
4 G. L. P. Henderson Avro 504
110 hp Le Rhone
57m 0s 2h 30m 45.2s 75.22 mph (121.05 km/h) Henderson had originally entered a Martinsyde F.4, but was unable to get permission from the War Office to use this machine.
5 R. H. Carr Grahame-White Bantam
80 hp Le Rhône
Did not finish
7 G. Gathergood D.H.4R
(450 hp Napier Lion)
Scratch 1h 27m 42s 129.34 mph (208.15 km/h) Gathergood's D.H.4 had been considerably modified, with a reduced-span lower wing.[9]
8 Marcus D. Manson DH.4
(375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle)
9m 30s 1h 36m 41s 117.39 mph (188.92 km/h)
9 H. J. Saint DH.9
240 hp Siddeley Puma
23m 30s 1h 51m 55s 101.43 mph (163.24 km/h)
10 Robert Nisbet Martinsyde F.4
250 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon
4m 0s 1h 31m 3.4s 124.61 mph (200.54 km/h)
11 L. R. Tait-Cox Nieuport L.C.1
(320 hp ABC Dragonfly
4m 0s Did not finish
12 C. H. C. Smith Bristol Monoplane
(110 hp Le Rhône
29m 0s Did not finish
14 H. A. Hammersley Avro Baby
(35 hp Green
1h 25m 0s 2h 41m 23s 70.3 mph (113.1 km/h) Winner of handicap competition
15 C. Turner BAT Commercial
(375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle
16 C. R. Vaughan BAT Bantam
(170 hp ABC Wasp
17 H.Hawker Sopwith Snapper
320 hp ABC Dragonfly
Did not start, as permission to fly the aircraft was not given by the War Office[10]
18 J. Alcock Vickers Did not start


No longer sponsored by the Daily Mail, for the 1920 event the prizes were given by the Royal Aero Club. These were £500 for the overall winner, with three prizes of £250, £100 and £50 for the first three places in the handicap competition.[11] Held on 24 July[12] over a slightly amended course of 102.5 mi (165.0 km), with Brooklands taking the place of Kempton Park. The overall winner was F. T. Courtney, and the handicap competition was won by H. A. Hammersley.

Entrants and results'[13][14]

Competition No. Pilot Aircraft Handicap Time Speed Notes
1 Bert Hinkler Avro Baby
35 hp Green
1h 41m 2h 45m 46s 72.39 mph (116.50 km/h)
2 H. A. Hammersley Avro Baby
35 hp Green
1hr 35min 2h 32m 6s 78.89 mph (126.96 km/h) Winner of handicap competition
3 Leth Jensen Blériot-SPAD_S.29
80 hp Le Rhône
45m Did not start
4 F. S. Cotton DH 14A
450 hp Napier Lion
41.5m Did not finish
5 W. L. Jordan Sopwith Snipe
200 hp Bentley BR.2
28m 47m 6s 111.29 mph (179.10 km/h) Entered by Francis McClean
6 W. H. Longton Sopwith Snipe
200 hp Bentley BR.2
28m Did not finish
7 J. S. T. Fall Sopwith Snipe
200 hp Bentley BR.2
28m Did not finish
8 D. G. Westgarth-Heslam Avro "Schneider"
230 hp Siddeley Puma
19m 30s Did not finish
10 J.H. James Nieuport Nieuhawk
320 hp ABC Dragonfly
12m 46m 6s 130.15 mph (209.46 km/h)
11 R.H. Nisbet Martinsyde F.6
300 hp Hispano-Suiza
11m 30s 46m 43.4s 128.43 mph (206.69 km/h)
12 T. O'B. Hubbard Martinsyde F.4
300 hp Hispano-Suiza
10m 30s min 48m 19.8s 124.13 mph (199.77 km/h)
13 H. Hawker Sopwith Rainbow
320 hp ABC Dragonfly
10m 30s 42m 12s 142.18 mph (228.82 km/h) Disqualified for not crossing the finish line properly
14 C.F. Uwins Bristol Bullet
450 hp Bristol Jupiter
7m 30s 44m 4s 136.15 mph (219.11 km/h)
15 F. T. Courtney Martinsyde Semiquaver
300 hp Hispano-Suiza
1 min 38m 47.2s 154.70 mph (248.97 km/h) Overall winner. Originally to have been flown by Fred Raynham, prevented from taking part by an injury.
16 L.R. Tait-Cox Nieuport Goshawk
320 hp ABC Dragonfly
Scratch Did not finish owing to engine trouble.


Again sponsored by the Royal Aero Club and held on 16 July with a prize of £500 for the overall winner and three prizes of £200, £100, and £50 for the first three places in the handicap competition.[15]

Entrants and results[16]

Competition No. Pilot Aircraft Handicap Time Speed Notes
1 T. Tully Avro Baby
35 hp Green
1h 15m 42s Retired during second lap
2 Bert Hinkler Avro Baby
35 hp Green
1h 7m 24s Did not finish, coming down at Sidcup during his first lap
3 A.H. Curtiss B.E.2e
90 hp RAF 1a
Did not start, owing to dissatisfaction with his handicap allowance
4 D.L. Forestier-Walker Sopwith Pup
80 hp Le Rhone
37m 6s Retired, landing at Hendon after first lap because he felt ill.
5 A.S. Butler Bristol Tourer
240 hp Siddeley Puma
37m 6s 1h 52m 1.2s 107.12 mph (172.39 km/h) Third in handicap competition
6 L.R. Tait-Cox Avro
180 hp Wolseley Viper
33 min 30 sec 1h 57m 3.2s 35.01 mph (56.34 km/h)
7 H.S.Broad Sopwith Camel
130 hp Clerget
30m 3s 2h 5m 30s 107.12 mph (172.39 km/h)
8 W.H. Longton S.E.5a
220 hp Wolseley Viper
28m 6s 1h 40m 25 119.50 mph (192.32 km/h) Third overall and second in handicap
9 F.J. Ortweiler S.E.5a
220 hp Wolseley Viper
28m 6s 2h 4m 52.8s 123.99 mph (199.54 km/h) disqualified for not rounding markers at Hendon properly
10 J. Noakes Nieuport Nighthawk
300 hp ABC Dragonfly
17m 34s Did not finish
11 C. Draper BAT Bantam
200 hp ABC Wasp
12 S.H.Long Martinsyde F.4a
220 hp Wolseley Viper
14 H.Hawker Nieuport Goshawk
300 hp ABC Dragonfly
Died in crash while practising for race
15 C.F. Uwins Bristol Bullet
400 hp Bristol Jupiter
7m 42s 1h 32m 34.6s 141.38 mph (227.53 km/h) Second overall
16 F.T. Courteney Alula Monoplane
300 hp Hispane Suiza
Did not start
17 J.H. James Gloster Mars
450 hp Napier Lion
4m 42s 1h 18m 10s 163.34 mph (262.87 km/h) Won both overall and handicap
18 Bernard de Romanet De Monge V
300 hp Hispane Suiza
Did not start
19 D.G Westgarth-Heslam Avro 539
450 hp Napier Lion
Did not start (aircraft destroyed in crash before race)
20 J. Sadi-Lecointe Nieuport
300 hp Hispane Suiza
Did not start


For the 1922 competition, held on 7 August,[17] the start and finish point was transferred to Croydon Aerodrome, with the control points at Brooklands, Hertford, Epping and West Thurrock making a circuit of just under 100 mi (160 km). The competition was won by L. R. Tait-Cox flying a Gloucester Mars I and the handicap competition by L. L. Carter flying a Bristol M.1D.

Entrants and results[18]

Competition No. Pilot Aircraft and engine Handicap Time Speed Notes
1 R. H. Stocken Martinsyde F.4
300 hp Hispano-Suiza
2 H. H. Perry S.E.5a
200 hp Wolseley Viper
3 J. H. James Gloucester Mars I
450 hp Napier Lion
4 L. R. Tait-Cox Gloucester Mars III
200 hp Bentley BR2
1hr 6min 48.4sec 177.85 mph (286.22 km/h) Overall winner
5 L. L. Carter Bristol M.1D
100 hp Bristol Lucifer
47min 9 sec 1hr 50min 0.4sec 107.85 mph (173.57 km/h) Won handicap competition
6 R. A. deHaig Bristol Bullet
400 hp Bristol Jupiter
7 F. P. Raynham Martinsyde F.6
180 hp Wolsley Viper
8 A. S. Butler de Havilland DH.37
275 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon
Withdrew after completing first lap
9 Bert Hinkler Avro Baby
35 hp Green Engine Co
1hr 22min 34sec 2hr 35min 4sec 76.6 mph (123.3 km/h)
10 C. F. Uwins Bristol Racer
400 hp Bristol Jupiter
Did not start


Held on 6 August,[19] with the course slightly modified by eliminating the Epping control point.

Entrants and results[20][21]

Competition no. Pilot Aircraft and engine Handicap Time Speed Notes
1 "A. T. Renno" (Dr. W. Reid) S.E.5a
70 hp Renault
1h 36m 2s 2h 51m 34s 71 mph (114 km/h)
2 Bert Hinkler Avro Baby
35 hp Green
1h 24m 14s Did not finish
3 J. R. King Sopwith Gnu
110 hp Le Rhone
1h 13m 17s 2h 27m 51s 86 mph (138 km/h)
4 J. W. Woodhouse Boulton Paul P.9
90 hp RAF 1a
1h 10m 59s 2h 11m 1s 91.25 mph (146.85 km/h) Third place in handicap competition
5 W. M. W. Thomas Avro 504K
130 hp Clerget
57m 26s Did not start
6 H. A. Hammersley Avro Viper
200 hp Wolseley Viper
51m 38s 1h 49m 56s 109.5 mph (176.2 km/h) Winner of handicap competition
7 F. P. Raynham Martinsyde F.6
200 hp Wolseley Viper
38m 53s 1h 40m 5s 120 mph (190 km/h)
8 H. Hemming De Havilland DH.37
275 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon
38m 1s Did not finish
9 H. H. Perry De Havilland DH.9a
350 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle
33m 54s 1h 33m 40s 128 mph (206 km/h) Second in handicap competition
10 F. T. Courteney De Havilland DH.9a
450 hp Napier Lion
20m 37s Did not finish
11 C. D. Barnard De Havilland DH.9
450 hp Napier Lion
18m 37s 1h 21m 21s 148 mph (238 km/h)
12 W. H. Longton Sopwith Rainbow
400 hp Bristol Jupiter
7m 4s 1h 39m 9s 164.5 mph (264.7 km/h)
13 L. L. Carter Gloster Mars
450 hp Napier Lion
Scratch 1h 2m 23s 192.4 mph (309.6 km/h) Overall winner


The 1924 competition was to have been held at Lympne aerodrome in Kent, the contestants to fly four laps of a 50 mi (80 km) circuit,[22] but the event was cancelled due to there being too few high speed entrants.[23]


  1. ^ The First Aerial Derby. Flight: 15 June 1912, p. 551.
  2. ^ "The Aerial "Derby."". The Times. London (40049): 6. 6 November 1912.
  3. ^ "House of Commons, Daily Mail Aerial Derby". The Times. London (40240): 12. 17 June 1913.
  4. ^ Aerial Derby Round London. Flight: 27 September 1913, p. 1064.
  5. ^ The Aerial Derby 1914 . Flight: 12 June 1914, p. 620.
  6. ^ Sealed Handicap for "Shell" Trophy and 100 Sovs. Flight, 12 June 1914. p. 622.
  7. ^ The Victory Aerial Derby
  8. ^ The Victory Aerial Derby. Flight: 19 June 1919, p. 806.
  9. ^ No. 7.—The Airco (de H.) 4 R., 450 h.p. Napier Lion. Flight: 26 June 1919, p. 844.
  10. ^ No. 17.—The Sopwith Biplane. Flight: 26 June 1919 p. 847.
  11. ^ The Aerial Derby. Flight: 8 July 1920, p. 711
  12. ^ Aerial Derby – 1920
  13. ^ Aerial Derby Handicap. Flight: 22 July 1920, p. 809
  14. ^ Results of Fifth Aerial Derby at Hendon Flight: 29 July 1920, p.833.
  15. ^ The Sixth Aerial Derby
  16. ^ Results of Sixth Aerial Derby . Flight: 21 July 1921, p.487
  17. ^ The Seventh Aerial Derby
  18. ^ 1922 Aerial Derby: Table of Entrants. Flight: 3 August 1922, p. 438.
  19. ^ The Eighth Aerial Derby
  20. ^ Aerial Derby 1923 – List of Entries. Flight: 2 August 1923, p.456.
  21. ^ Results of Eighth Aerial Derby and Handicap. Flight 9 August 1923, p. 467.
  22. ^ The 1924 Aerial Derby. Flight: 22 May 1924, p. 292.
  23. ^ No Aerial Derby?. Flight: 10 July 1924, p. 434.

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