Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Murray Longmore, GCB, DSO, DL (1885 – 1970)

On 20 January 1912, Waterbird was test-flown at Windermere for the Admiralty by Lieutenant Arthur Longmore. This was his first flight in a floatplane off water; albeit the previous month he had become the first person in the United Kingdom to take off from land and alight on water in a hydro-aeroplane, by way of a scheme of fitting air bags to the undercarriage skids of his aeroplane. His Report is held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton.

Longmore was one of the first four officers selected for flying training by the Admiralty and had achieved Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificate No. 72.

On 11 April 1912, Longmore was sent to the Deperdussin works at Paris to observe the wing loading tests of the aeroplane which Edward Wakefield was contracted by the Admiralty to convert to a hydro-aeroplane. Flown to England by Deperdussin’s test pilot, it was checked out prior to delivery to Windermere by Longmore.

Longmore attended a conference at the Admiralty in November 1913, at which Captain Murray Sueter was also present, where discussion took place of his special enlistment scheme. That conference marked the date when the Royal Naval Air Service virtually came into being and as a separate organisation to the Royal Flying Corps, albeit the official date was 1 April 1914.

In February 1914, Longmore flew Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, in a seaplane at Portsmouth, who wanted to see for himself if a submarine could be detected when submerged.

On 28 July 1914, he made the first torpedo drop by a British aircraft and pilot.


Windermere: birthplace of British naval and civil marine aeroplanes