Captain Sir Geoffrey Raoul de Havilland OM, CBE, AFC, RDI FRAeS was a British aviation pioneer and an aircraft engineer. His Mosquito plane, designed during the 2nd World War has been considered the most versatile warplane ever built. The all wood Mosquito could out-fly virtually any other plane and it played a formidable role in the 2nd World War.
He was born in 1882 in Terriers Wycombe, a small village in Buckinghamshire and was educated at Nuneaton Grammar School,
St Edward’s School, Oxford and the Crystal Palace School of Engineering. He designed his first plane in 1908 and in order to develop
Mosquito D.H 98 nightfighter
courtesy of the United States Air Force Museum
and build it, he borrowed £1,000 from his grandfather. He completed the aircraft in 1910 and was at the controls for its maiden flight. Unfortunately it crashed after 100 feet but undetered he went on to build his second aircraft the, FE-1 which was purchased by the British War Office.
In 1920 he established the de Havilland Aircraft Company. The company produced the Moth series of private planes and the Comet in 1934. He was knighted in 1944. In 1949 he designed and built the Comet, the world’s first jet-driven airliner to enter commercial service.
In 1961 the De-Havilland company became part of the Hawker -Siddeley organisation.