Bristol Blog blog

Plan designer honoured

A plaque that celebrates the achievements of aircraft designer Captain Frank Barnwell has been unveiled at his former home.

Captain Barnwell is famous for the aircraft that he designed including the Bristol Scout, the Bristol Fighter, Bristol Bulldog and the Blenheim Bomber.

In 1923, he moved into Alveston House, near Thornbury but was tragically killed in a flying accident 15 years later. His wife Marjorie and three sons continued to live in the house after he died.

He was buried in Alveston’s churchyard but there was nothing marking his link to the town until now.

The Alveston Community Forum wanted to honour him so they arranged for the plaque to be made. The plaque was unveiled by Don Cameron, Bristol’s ballooning pioneer.

The plaque features an image of the Bristol Fighter and was able to be made with the money raised from private donations and a £850 from Rolls-Royce.

Mr Cameron told the forum: “It’s a wonderful thing you have done and it’s a great honour to unveil it. It must have been such an exciting time in aviation for Frank.”

Captain Barnwell was born in 1880 in Scotland and became famous for building and flying the first powered aeroplane in Scotland in 1909 with his brother Harold.

In 1911 he started work with the Bristol Aeroplane Company and became one of Britain’s most celebrated aeronautical engineers and designers.

He died when flying a plane that he had designed for his own use. Tragically his widow lost all three of their sons in the Second World War. They served as RAF pilots.

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