17 September 1915 – Robert Loraine’s joystick

All walks of life continue to volunteer for service. Matinée idol Robert Loraine has returned to the front as a Flight Commander with 5 Squadron.

Loraine is a well known actor who has appeared in many stage plays. He was one of the earliest British aviators – learning to fly in June 1910. In September 1910 he made the first aeroplane flight from England to Ireland, and flew a Bristol Boxkite in the British Army manouevres on Salisbury Plain, during which he sent the first radio signals to be sent from an aeroplane in Britain. He also coined the term “joystick” for aircraft stick controls.

Robert Loraine

Despite all this, he was known as a brave but accident prone pilot. On the outbreak of war he volunteered for the RFC, but was rejected as a pilot after crashing a number of planes. He was however taken on as an observer. A few weeks into his service he was badly wounded and has only just recovered.

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