As one of the minor critics of the claims of the great “GB,” I read Col Bowden’s letter in your May issue (p. 349) with some amusement.
His logic about critics is rather above me, surely I do not have to paint a picture to pass an opinion of one. As to wars being won by high-ranking officers, I thought that the PBI had something to do with them, and even a blind quarter-wit could criticise some of the brilliant decisions of the brass-hats—Paschendale to you, sir.
Col Bowden’s comment, “had normal development been done,” confirms my previous comments. When this development includes resiting oil pumps, redesigning rocker gear, fitting new crankshafts, etc, there seems very little left of the engine design for which to claim merit. I think Col Bowden’s results testify to the efficiency of the army workshops in India and his local mechanic at Porlock. As for the Anec aeroplane taking off without external aid, as an ex-pilot I don’t recall using any rockets or catapults. I was present at the 1923-24 light aeroplane trials and I do not recall any machine that refused to fly.
My own qualifications to pass an opinion on this matter is that at the time in question I ran a motorcycle and car repair shop and several of my customers had these machines—but not for long.
To wind up. May the great “GB” be with us for many more years. When he passes on we shall have to find something else to argue about.
I am, Yours, etc.
“Old Tom” Sevenoaks. [Name and address supplied.—Ed ]