Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Frederick Warren Merriam

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March 1934.

Frederick Warren Merriam (c1890-1956). Early aviator

Frederick Warren Merriam was born Frederick Warren but changed his name by deed poll in 1901 to Merriam after being befriended and sponsored in his flying aspirations by an American, Olin Merriam, (of Webster-Merriam Dictionaries descent).

Frederick Warren Merriam started flying in 1912, and was the chief instructor for the British and Colonial Aircraft Co.

He was the first pilot in this country to fly through cloud (in a Bristol Box-kite, early in 1912); later, as manager and chief instructor of the Bristol Flying School at Brooklands, he had many pupils who subsequently became famous, including Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferte, A. Cdre. P. F. M. Fellowes (who led the aerial Houston Everest Expedition), and Sub-Lt. R. A. J. Warneford, V.C., the first pilot to shoot a Zeppelin down.

At the outbreak of the 1914-18 war Merriam was the senior flying instructor in Britain and he became chief instructor to the R.N.A.S. at Hendon and later at Chingford. Subsequently he flew on antisubmarine operations from Cattewater and Padstow, and after the war did some pleasure-flying and tested the Saunders Kittiwake flying-boat.

In 1922 he founded Britain's first gliding school, near Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

Frederick Warren Merriam died at Christ Church, Hants, on November 12, 1956 at the age of 76.

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