Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Porte

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John Cyril Porte (1883-1919)

1884 Born in Bandon, Ireland[1]

1900 Joined the Royal Navy as a NCO[2]

1909 Promoted to lieutenant

1909 Designed a glider with Lieutenant Pirie which they tested - see Porte-Pirie

1910 was awaiting stationing for command of submarines[3]

1911 Lieutenant R.N. visitor at The Roughetts, White Hill, Bletchingley[4]

c.1911 Met Glenn Curtiss and proposed a partnership to produce an aircraft to tackle the Daily Mail prize for the first transatlantic crossing. In 1912 Curtiss produced the two-seat "Flying Fish", a larger craft that became classified as a flying boat because the hull sat in the water; it featured an innovative notch in the hull that Porte had recommended for breaking clear of the water at takeoff. Curtiss correctly surmised that this configuration was more suited to building a larger long-distance craft that could operate from water, and was also more stable when operating from a choppy surface. In collaboration with Porte, in 1914 Curtiss designed the "America", a larger flying boat with two engines, for the Atlantic crossing.

1913 Promoted to Lieut-Commander[5]

1914 Temporary appointment as Squadron Commander for Special Service in the Navy[6]

With the start of World War I Porte returned to service in the Royal Navy's Seaplane Experimental Station which subsequently purchased several models of the "America" from Curtiss, now called the H-4. Porte licensed and further developed the designs, constructing a range of Felixstowe long-range patrol aircraft, and from his experience passed back improvements to the hull to Curtiss. The later British designs were sold to the U.S. forces, or built by Curtiss as the F5L. The Curtiss factory also built a total of 68 "Large Americas" which evolved into the H-12, the only American designed and American built aircraft that saw combat in World War I.

1916 Wing Commander at Felixstowe (Lieut-Commander retired)[7]

1916 Married Minnie Miller in London[8]

1917 Wing Commander J C Porte was in charge of the RNAS Felixstowe establishment[9]

Conferred CMG

1919 Acting Commander, Lieut-Colonel R.A.F.[10]

1919 Porte died from tuberculosis in Brighton and was buried in West Norwood cemetery; probate was granted to the Public Trustee[11]

1922 Colonel J. C. Porte was recognised for an award from the Royal Commission for Awards to Inventors in relation to flying boats[12] and his widow received another award in respect of information passed to the US Government.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index
  2. Naval List 1900
  3. Naval Lists 1910
  4. 1911 census
  5. Naval Lists
  6. Naval Lists November 1914
  7. Naval Lists
  8. BMD
  9. Naval Lists 1917
  10. Naval Lists
  11. National Provate Calendar
  12. National Archives