William Helmore

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Air Commodore William Helmore Ph.D., M.S., F.C.S.,[1] F.R.Ae.S., CBE[2][3] (1 March 1894 – 18 December 1964)[4] was an engineer who had a varied and distinguished career in scientific research with the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Aircraft Production during the Second World War, as a broadcaster, and for two years as Member of Parliament for Watford 19431945.

Early life[edit]

William Helmore was educated at Blundell's School, the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. Helmore served In the First World War as a gunner and then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, as an observer and pilot. One result of this experience was his book “Cavalry of the Air”. After the war he went to Christ's College at Cambridge and obtained a first class (honours) degree in mechanical sciences.

Post WWI[edit]

In 1922 Helmore was granted a permanent commission in the R.A.F. and developed his interest in scientific research in aviation. He was also involved in the development of aerial refuelling, serving as copilot and hose handler on Sir Alan Cobham’s pioneering flight from Portsmouth, England to India on 22 September 1934,[5] also inventing the electrolytic process of forming flame or explosion traps.[6] In 1931 Helmore was awarded the Groves Prize for Aeronautical Research.

Helmore retired from the R.A.F. at his own request in 1937 to devote himself to research at Cambridge, but be returned to the active list in August, 1939. His appointments included Wing Commander (1 July 1935 Air Commodore (1 March 1937), Honorary Group Captain (21 May 1941) and Honorary Air Commodore.

World War II[edit]

As senior scientific adviser to the Chief of Air Staff from 1939, Helmore was chiefly concerned with defeating the night bomber. Helmore worked on the development of the Helmore/GEC Turbinlite was a 2,700 million candela (2.7 Gcd) searchlight fitted in the nose of a number of experimental radar equipped Douglas Havoc night fighters by the British during the early part of World War II and around the time of The Blitz. The light was intended to be used to illuminate attacking enemy bombers for defending fighters accompanying the Havoc to then shoot down.[7] Unfortunately certain practical difficulties brought the idea to nothing, but much of his work was subsequently incorporated in the Leigh light, an antisubmarine aircraft searchlight, which with the aid of radar was particularly deadly to Admiral Doenitz’s U-Boats.

For the last four years of the war he was technical adviser to the Ministry of Aircraft Production, and was responsible for a number of other valuable inventions and, in 1942, he was selected as one of the eight members of the Brabazon Committee (which was responsible among other things for the conception of the giant Brabazon aircraft).

Helmore’s contribution, to Britain’s war effort was not confined to scientific research. He had earlier broadcast such events as the Schneider Trophy air races and reviews, and during the war his accounts of the RAF’s work were heard frequently. His most notable commentary was when he broadcast an eye-witness account of the D-Day landings in Normandy, the first 'live', (recorded live onto transcription disc for transmission later), broadcast from over the invasion fleet on 6 June 1944, reporting overhead from an RAF Mitchell bomber.[8]

Helmore was Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Watford 19431945.

Post war[edit]

After the war Helmore entered industry, being technical director to Castrol, a scientific consultant to ICI and director-general of the Aluminum Association.

In 1947 Helmore was invited by the Minister for Civil Aviation to become the chairman of the Brabazon Committee, to consider the certification of aircraft and approval of equipment. In addition he was the vice-chairman of a committee set up to review the licensing, recruitment and training of civil aviation personnel.

Helmore was a keen yachtsman, owning the schooner Allegro from 1929 to 1963.[9]

Helmore married twice. His obituary in The Times records that he left two sons and three daughters of his first marriage but other reports say he had four children, Peter, Patrick, Peggy and Pamela. Peggie, his eldest daughter married Cuthbert Scott in 1942.[10][11][12]

Patents[edit]

GB patent 344806, William Helmore; Andrew Swan, "An improved trap for flame resulting from explosion of gases in a conduit", issued 1931-03-02 
GB patent 351613, William Helmore, "Improved means for protecting internal-combustion engines for use on aircraft or other vehicles", issued 1931-07-02 
GB patent 352550, William Helmore, "Improvements relating to the supply of fuel to internal combustion engines", issued 1931-07-13 
GB patent 354398, William Helmore, "Improvements relating to fuel for internal combustion engines", issued 1931-08-13 
GB patent 366947, William Helmore, "Improvements in and methods of using fuels in internal combustion engines", issued 1932-02-03 
US patent 1849051, William Helmore, "Fuel oil for compression ignition engines", issued 1932-03-08, assigned to Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd 
US patent 1849051, William Helmore, "Fuel oil for compression ignition systems", issued 1932-03-08 , Assigned to Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd
US patent 1887305, William Helmore; Andrew Swan, "Device for use in association with gases or gas-liquid mixtures, as alpha flame or explosion trap, alpha mixer, alpha flow controller, alpha silencer, or alpha cooler", issued 1932-11-08 
US patent 1887305, William Helmore and Andrew Swan, "Device for use in association with gases or gas-liquid mixtures, as a flame or explosion trap, a mixer, a flow controller, a silencer, or a cooler", issued 1932-11-08 
DE patent 564899, William Helmore, "Verfahren zur Herstellung eines Brennstoffes fuer Brennkraftmaschinen mit Kompressionszuendung", issued 1932-11-24 
GB patent 394736, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to testing combustible fluids", issued 1933-07-06 
GB patent 398222, William Helmore; Ernest Walter John Mardles, "Improvements relating to lubricating oils", issued 1933-09-11 
CA patent 338398, William Helmore and Ernest Walter John Mardles, "Lubricating Oil", issued 1934-01-02, assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd 
GB patent 414410, Alan Arnold Griffith; William Helmore, "Means for preventing freezing of the induction systems of internal combustion engines", issued 1934-08-03 
GB patent 417653, Ernest Walter John Mardles; William Helmore, "Improvements in the treatment of fuel spirits", issued 1934-10-01 
GB patent 423510, Andrew Swan; William Helmore, "Improvements relating to preventing freezing of the induction systems of internal combustion engines", issued 1935-02-04 
GB patent 423938, Ernest Walter John Mardles; William Helmore, "The inhibition of deterioration in olefinic oils and spirits", issued 1935-02-11 
GB patent 427260, William Helmore; Alan Arnold Griffith, "Means for testing lubricating oils", issued 1935-04-18 
US patent 2001164, Andrew Swan; William Helmore, "Induction system for internal combustion engines", issued 1935-05-14 
US patent 2001164, William Helmore, "Induction system for internal combustion engines", issued 1935-05-14 
GB patent 429682, Andrew Swan; Alan Arnold Griffith; William Helmore, "Improved means for regulating the supply of fuel and/or other fluids to internal combustion engines", issued 1935-06-04 
CA patent 351407, Alan Arnold Griffith; William Helmore, "Lubricant Production", issued 1935-07-02, assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd 
FR patent 784876, Andrew Swan; William Helmore, "Perfectionnements aux dispositifs d'aspiration de moteurs à combustion interne", issued 1935-07-27 
US patent 2032279, Alan Arnold Griffith; William Helmore, "Treatment of lubricating oils", issued 1936-02-25, assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd 
US patent 2032279, Alan Arnold Griffith and William Helmore, "Treatment of lubricating oils", issued 1936-02-25 , Assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd
GB patent 446914, Alan Arnold Griffith; William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to the exhaust systems of internal combustion engines", issued 1936-05-08 
GB patent 446915, Alan Arnold Griffith; William Helmore, "Improvements in relating to the exhaust silencers of internal combustion engines", issued 1936-05-08 
GB patent 446983, Andrew Swan; William Helmore, "Ice accretion indicator for aircraft and internal combustion engines", issued 1936-05-11 
GB patent 449532, Andrew Swan; William Helmore, "Means for automatically preventing detrimental ice formation in aircraft", issued 1936-06-22 
US patent 2045389, William Helmore; Alan Arnold Griffith, "Induction system for internal combustion engines", issued 1936-06-23, assigned to HM Hobson Aircraft & Motor 
US patent 2045389, William Helmore and Alan Arnold Griffith, "Induction system for internal combustion engines", issued 1936-06-23 , Assigned to H.M.Hobson (Aircraft and Motor) Components Limited
GB patent 473288, William Helmore, "An improved internal-combustion engine", issued 1937-10-08 
FR patent 825380, William Helmore and Alan Arnold Griffith, "Perfectionnements apportés aux moteurs à combustion interne", issued 1938-03-02 
US patent RE20775, Andrew Swan and William Helmore, "System for preventing detrimental ice formation", issued 1938-06-28 , Assigned to H.M.Hobson (Aircraft and Motor) Components Limited
US patent 2137941, William Helmore and Alan Arnold Griffith, "Internal combustion engine", issued 1938-11-22 
US patent 2137941, William Helmore and Alan Arnold Griffith, "Internal combustion engine", issued 1938-11-22 
GB patent 510244, William Helmore, "Improved lubricating oils", issued 1939-07-28 
GB patent 512689, William Helmore, "Improvements in plate heat exchangers for fluids", issued 1939-09-22 
GB patent 526269, William Helmore, "Improvements in air speed indicators", issued 1940-09-13 
GB patent 530824, William Helmore, "Improvements in flame or explosion traps", issued 1940-12-23 
US patent 2229740, William Helmore, "Air speed indicator", issued 1941-01-28 
US patent 2229740, William Helmore, "Speed Indicator", issued 1941-01-28 
FR patent 865601, William Helmore, "Perfectionnements aux indicateurs de vitesse de l'air", issued 1941-05-29 
GB patent 531610, William Helmore, "Improvements in flame or explosion traps", issued 1941-01-08 
GB patent 542592, William Helmore, "Improvements relating to the control of the temperature of charges supplied to internal combustion engines", issued 1942-01-19 
GB patent 548062, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to flame or explosion traps", issued 1942-09-23 
CA patent 414919, William Helmore, "Engine charge temperature control device", issued 1943-08-31, assigned to Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd 
US patent 2333567, William Helmore, "Electrolytic process of forming flame or explosion traps", issued 1943-11-02 
US patent 2333567, William Helmore, "Electrolytic process of forming flame or explosion traps", issued 1943-11-02 
CA patent 418103, William Helmore, "Flame or Explosion Trap", issued 1944-02-01 
US patent 2372272, William Helmore, "Apparatus for controlling temperature of boosted charge of internal-combustion engines", issued 1945-03-27, assigned to Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd 
US patent 2372272, William Helmore, "Apparatus for controlling temperature of boosted charge of internal-combustion engines", issued 1945-03-27 , Assigned to Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd
US patent 2391311, William Helmore, "Lubricating composition", issued 1945-12-18, assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd 
US patent 2391311, William Helmore, "Lubricating composition", issued 1945-12-18 , Assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd
GB patent 574970, Frederick Sidney Cotton; William Helmore, "An improved method and means for intercepting night flying hostile aircraft", issued 1946-01-29 
GB patent 575093, Frederick Sidney Cotton; William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to searchlights for use in aircraft", issued 1946-02-04 
GB patent 576118, Frederick Sidney Cotton; William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to navigation lights for night-flying aircraft", issued 1946-03-20 
GB patent 576214, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to the mounting of searchlights on aircraft", issued 1946-03-25 
GB patent 579159, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to submersible watercraft driven by internal-combustion engines", issued 1946-07-25 
US patent 2413350, William Helmore, "Air intake pipe for motor watercraft", issued 1946-12-31 
US patent 2413350, William Helmore, "Air intake pipe for motor watercraft", issued 1946-12-31 
US patent 2551124, William Helmore, "Lubricating compositions and additives therefor", issued 1951-05-01, assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd 
US patent 2551124, William Helmore, "Lubricating compositions and additives therefor", issued 1951-05-01 , Assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd
DE patent 832029, William Helmore, "Mineraloelschmiermittel", issued 1952-03-24 
GB patent 743201, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to heat exchangers", issued 1956-01-11 
GB patent 745914, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to heat exchangers", issued 1956-03-07 
GB patent 745936, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to corrugated sheet material", issued 1956-03-07 
CA patent 560166, William Helmore, "Lubricating compositions and additives therefor", issued 1958-07-08, assigned to CCWakefield &Co Ltd 
GB patent 851758, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to means for collecting litter", issued 1960-10-19 
US patent 3309795, William Helmore, "Mechanisms for simulating the movement of vehicles", issued 1961-07-12 
FR patent 1301003, William Helmore, "Perfectionnements apportés aux agencements de simulation des mouvements des véhicules", issued 1962-08-10 
GB patent 918705, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to mechanisms for simulating the movement of vehicles", issued 1963-02-20 
CA patent 676942, William Helmore, "Mechanisms for simulating the movement of vehicles", issued 1963-12-31 
GB patent 979495, William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to mechanisms for simulating the movement of vehicles", issued 1965-01-06 
GB patent 1004005, Air Commodore William Helmore, "Improvements in or relating to means for reducing the effect on the occupant of a vehicle of changes in the velocity of the vehicle", issued 1965-09-08 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Proceedings of the Chemical Society. May 1936.
  2. ^ London Gazette issue 35586
  3. ^ Proceedings of the Chemical Society. June 1942. "The congratulations of the Society have been conveyed to Group Captain W. Helmore on his receiving the honour of C.B.E.," "
  4. ^ London Gazette issue 43237
  5. ^ USAF:75 Years of Inflight Refueling
  6. ^ us patent 2333567, William Helmore, "Electrolytic process of forming flame or explosion traps", issued 1943-11-02 
  7. ^ Australian Dictionary of Biography, Frederick Sidney Cotton
  8. ^ Historic D-Day Reports broadcast on BBC Radio
  9. ^ Foglio
  10. ^ Church Times, obituary for the Revd Cuthbert Scott
  11. ^ Independent, obituary for the Revd Cuthbert Scott
  12. ^ Unit Histories
  • Obituary of Air Commodore W. Helmore, The Times, 20 January 1964 (pg. 14; Issue 55913; col C)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Dennis Herbert
Member of Parliament for Watford
19431945
Succeeded by
John Freeman