In May 1914 the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, landed at Hilsea drill field, Portsmouth, to be met by officers of the Royal Flying Corps.
At the time Churchill was taking flying lessons and perhaps this picture was taken in the middle of one of them. Apparently he had up to 10 lessons a day.
However, on December 2, 1913, one of his instructors, Captain Gilbert Wildman-Lushington, was killed during a landing. It was an incident which so unnerved Winston that he did not fly again until 1919.
In July of that year he was involved in a crash when taking off from Coydon Airport with instructor Col AJ Scott.
Seriously injured, Winston gave up and never obtained his licence or flew solo again.
Where would we be now if he had been killed, I wonder?
Later, as Sir Winston, he visited Portsmouth many times as an MP and later as prime minister, famously during the Second World War to help rally spirits during the blitz.
I was pleased to receive the First World War picture (above) from David Passells of local men who were all soldiers.
Here we see five brothers who were all soldiers of the King. They are members of the Prattinton family and sadly one was killed in action.
From left to right we have:
William, who served in the East Lancashire Regiment, and went on to become a Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant.
Percy who was killed aged 25. He was in the Royal Engineers. Before the war he was a clerk on the Southern Railway and his name is on the memorial at London Waterloo Station.
Sydney was a private in the Army Service Corps.
Harry became a corporal in the Hampshire Regiment and on demob became the proprietor of a tobacconist shop at 4, St Mary’s Road, Kingston, Portsmouth.
Frederick was a quartermaster and temporary lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps.
What a shame the quintet never made it through the war. Their mother lived in Albert Grove, Southsea, until she died in 1969.