On this day 29 February 1912
On this day 29 February 1912 1st Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill quizzed in Parliament about hydro-aeroplanes
Hansard's for 29 February 1912 records the following exchange in Parliament.
Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been called to the successful experiments now being conducted on the South Coast of France with hydro-aeroplanes; whether the experiments have established the fact that these machines can rise from and alight upon the sea; and whether any representative of the British Navy has been present at the experiments?
The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Churchill) The Admiralty are aware that experiments with hydro-aeroplanes are being carried out by private individuals in the South of France, and also that this type of machine is capable of rising from and alighting on water under favourable conditions. There is no official representative of the British Navy present at these experiments.
Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that other nations are sending representatives, and would it not be worth while to send somebody to see these most important experiments?
Mr. CHURCHILL It has not been thought worth while up to the present.
Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS asked whether the British Navy owns any hydro-aero-planes; and, if so, how many?
Mr. CHURCHILL One hydro-aeroplane is now under construction at East-church, and two others are on order. 32 Experiments with machines of this type are being continued at Sheerness, Lake Windermere, and Barrow, and the results so far attained have been promising.
The reference to Windermere is interesting. Seemingly Churchill was a supporter of Captain Edward William Wakefield who was experimenting with hydro-aeroplanes along with his pilot Herbert Stanley Adams. Adams made the first (in Great Britain) successful take-off from water and landing on water at Lake Windermere in a Curtiss biplane modified by A V Roe (AVRO). Adams' flight took place 25 November 2011, one week after the RN's Cdr Oliver Schwann's experimental seaplane (Avro Type D fitted with floats) took off but crashed on landing at Barrow (18 November 1911). Adams' flight was one week before Lt Arthur Murray Longmore RN landed successfully at Sheerness in an Improved S27 (1 December 1911).
There is a fascinating website about Wakefield and Adams here.