Reference the letter from George Grigs in “Vintage Postbag” in your November issue in which he mentions my uncle, Gustav Hamel, may I for the record state that he was a Dane and flew a Blériot monoplane similar to the one in which Blériot flew the Channel.
He is thought to have “come down in the drink” while attempting to fly to France in 1913 but no wreckage of his plane was ever reported to have been found. He was of an inventive turn of mind and it was understood in our family that he intended to fly to France to consult Blériot about improvements to the plane such as the continuation of the cockpit canvas right to the rear of the fuselage, the fitting of a more powerful engine and the possibility of making a new design of monoplane which he had in mind.
Unfortunately all my photographs of him and his plane have bang since disappeared and I should be very grateful to any reader who would be kind enough to lend me for copying any photographs he may possess of Gustav Hamel or his plane. I should naturally take the greatest care of these and return them carefully packed. I am particularly keen to obtain one showing the engine as I am currently trying to establish what type and make of engine he used. If my memory serves me right, it was an inverted 3-cylinder fan-type of either Anzani or Buchet manufacture, though I noticed from a newspaper picture of the Blériot recently auctioned at Christies that this was fitted with an upright 3-cylinder fan-type. Any frontal photograph of of Blériot’s cross-channel plane and of the one in the Shuttleworth Collection would also be very useful.
Among other things, I understand that Gustav Hamel gave an exhibition of flying, including looping, over Penzance in 1910. I wonder if any of your readers could confirm any of these points?
D. J. H. Lister.