George Edwards (aviation)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sir George Robert Freeman Edwards OM CBE FREng FRS DL (9 July 1908 – 2 March 2003), was a British aircraft designer and industrialist.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Edwards was born in Highams Park, north London, England. He attended Walthamstow Technical Institute Engineering and Trade School which in 1970 became part of North East London Polytechnic (which later became the University of East London). This introduced him to engineering and engineering design course at the University of London.[3]


Vickers VC-10 tanker in September 2005


Beginning as a design draughtsman in 1935, he was promoted in 1940 to Experimental Department Manager and in 1945 he became the Chief Designer of the Vickers-Armstrongs team that produced the Viking airliner, Valetta military transport, Varsity trainer, Viscount airliners and Valiant strategic bomber. He later became managing director of the company, supervising the development of the Vanguard, VC10 and (post-merger) BAC TSR-2 strike bomber. He was knighted in 1957. He was President of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1957-58.


When the company was merged into the newly created British Aircraft Corporation, he became Executive Director. During this period, he initiated the BAC One-Eleven (initially a Hunting Aircraft design). BAC was also a partner in the international projects for Concorde (for which he led the British team), Anglo-French SEPECAT Jaguar and the Panavia Tornado.

He was awarded the Daniel Guggenheim Medal in 1959. He won the Air League Founders Medal in 1969. He was made a member of the Order of Merit in 1971, and was awarded the Royal Medal in 1974 for his distinguished contributions in the applied sciences. He retired from BAC, as chairman, in 1975. In 1989 he was invested in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame.

Personal life[edit]

In October 1935 he married Marjorie Annie (Dinah) Thurgood (1908–1994), a clerk, also from Highams Park. They had a close and mutually supportive marriage and had one daughter, Angela.[3]

His interests included painting and cricket. He was president of Surrey County Cricket Club in 1979. He died in Guildford in 2003 and his memorial service was held in Guildford Cathedral. He is buried at St Martha-on-the-Hill.


  1. ^ Barfield, N. (2004). "Sir George Robert Edwards OM CBE. 9 July 1908 -- 2 March 2003: Elected F.R.S. 1968". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 50: 73. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2004.0007.
  2. ^ Gardner, Robert. From Bouncing Bombs to Concorde: The Authorised Biography of Aviation Pioneer Sir George Edwards OM, Sutton Publishing. 2006. ISBN 0-7509-4389-0
  3. ^ a b Norman Barfield: Edwards, Sir George Robert (1908–2003), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2007; online edn, Jan 2009. accessed 21 July 2012

External links[edit]

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
E. T. Jones
President of the Royal Aeronautical Society
Succeeded by
Arnold Alexander Hall
Business positions
Preceded by
New company
Chairman of British Aircraft Corporation
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rex Pierson
Chief Designer of Vickers
Succeeded by
Company defunct