Aeronautical papers of Air Cdre. E. M. Maitland

Scope and Content

Includes material relating to the R34, R38 and R101 airships, photographs of ballooning in Russia and a personal diary dating to 1914.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Maitland planned to read for the Bar after he left Trinity College Cambridge, however a temporary service in South Africa turned into a commission in the Essex Regiment. He took up ballooning in around 1908 and in November 1908 joined C. C. Turner in a record-breaking balloon flight from England to Russia. He soon became one of the most ardent balloonists in the UK.

In 1910 Maitland purchased a Howard-Wright biplane and taught himself how to fly, before talking part in the Doncaster Air Race later in the year. In early 1911 Maitland crashed and was deemed unfit for flying an aircraft so was transferred to airships.

Maitland was also an parachutist, with his first jump from an balloon in 1908 and continued parachuting from airships, becoming the first man to do so in 1913. His research in this area continued when he commanded the Kite-Balloon Training Station at Roehampton in 1915-16.

Maitland died in the R.34 crash, where he spent his last moment checking the fall of the airship rather than saving his life by using a parachute.

Access Information

Open for consultation.