British Military Aviation in 1910

3 June
The British Army’s ‘Beta 1’ airship flies for the first time. It is the
first British airship to be fitted with wireless telegraphy (WT) and the
first non-rigid airship to be moored by a mast.

24 September
The first United Kingdom aircraft reconnaissance is made during the British
Army’s autumn manoeuvres, when Captain Bertram Dickson locates the ‘Blue
Army’. Unfortunately, Dickson is captured when he lands in ‘enemy territory’
to make his report and is later interviewed by the Home Secretary, Winston
S. Churchill, who shows great interest in the possibilities of aerial
reconnaissance in warfare.

27 September

The first United Kingdom aircraft radio is tested when the distinguished actor
Robert Loraine reads the Daily Mail’s account of the Dickson exploit of
24 September and immediately takes steps to fly his Bristol Boxkite down
to Salisbury Plain from London to support the ‘Blue Army’.

The aircraft is fitted with a 14 pound radio fitted by Thorne Baker,
which Loraine uses to transmit simple one and two word messages using
a Morse key strapped to his left knee, while controlling the aircraft
with the other hand. The equipment had a range of about one mile and communications
from ground to air achieved with hand-held lamp signals.

de Havilland’s biplane No.2 is purchased by the Balloon Factory for trials
and its designer, Geoffrey de Havilland, is employed as the Factory’s
aeroplane designer and test pilot.