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British Industrial History

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Eugene Louis Gerrard

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Air Commodore Eugene Louis Gerrard CMG, DSO, RAF (14 July 1881 – 7 February 1963) was an officer in the Royal Marines and Royal Air Force.

Gerrard was commissioned into the Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1900 and served on HMS Hermione, HMS Defiance, HMS Spartiate, HMS Dido, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Vindictive.

In 1911, Gerrard was one of the first four officers chosen by the Admiralty for flying training conducted under the auspices of the Royal Aero Club. Gerrard then served as a squadron commander in the newly formed Royal Flying Corps and was posted as a flight commander to the Central Flying School. Whilst at the Central Flying School, Gerrard set two records for flying at high altitude with passengers. On the first occasion, he flew to 10,000 feet with Major Hugh Trenchard. Later, Gerrard flew to 8,400 feet with two passengers.

1911 August 16th. Holds record for a flight of duration of four hours and thirteen minutes in a Short biplane

Following the outbreak of World War I, Gerrard took up command of No. 1 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service. One of his first acts was to attack the Dusseldorf Airship Sheds in a B.E.2a.

Later in the War, Gerrard was appointed as the commander of an RNAS wing in the eastern Mediterranean where he gained the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership.

The first man actually to fly on British sea-water in an aeroplane appears to have been Commander Oliver Schwann, R.N., and the credit for building the first successful water-flying machines apparently goes to the Short brothers at Eastchurch. British sea-flying on the Service side is closely linked with the names of Captain Murray Sueter, and the Indomitable four, Lieut-Commander Charles Rumney Samson, Lieut. Reginald Gregory and Lieut. Arthur Longmore, all of the Royal Navy, and Lieut. Louis Gerrard, R.M.L.I. From the very first the efforts of the small band of enthusiasts who tried to establish Service sea-flying met with suspicion and even direct opposition.

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