Centenary Virtual Library

Betram Dickson Memorial Challenge Cup

Captain Bertram Dickson, R.H.A

Born December 21 1873 in Edinburgh, Scotland and died September 29, 1913.

Dickson was a Captain in the British Army but left the army when aeroplanes became popular about 1909. He took a keen interest in aviation and won the First Schneider Trophy at Tours in 1910 in his Farman Biplane powered by a 50 h.p. Gnome engine.

The trophy was presented to the College by Dickson's sister Mrs Will Gordon.

Apart from winning the Schneider Cup Dickson's claim to fame in early aviation is being involved in the world's first mid-air collision during an air meet in Milan Italy on October 2 1910. The Farman biplane he was flying was rammed from above by René Thomas flying an Antoinette monoplane. Dickson survived the crash but didn't fully recover his injuries which led to his early death in 1913.

In 1911 he fully saw the need for Britain to have a military flying organisation and went to lengths to impress Home Secretary Winston Churchill.

Churchill, as it turned out, was a flying enthusiast and in 1912 the Royal Flying Corps was formed which of course in time became the Royal Air Force.


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