|Birth: ||Jul. 17, 1892, South Africa|
|Death: ||Aug. 7, 1917|
Orkney Islands, Scotland
Casualty of the Great War,Edwin served as Squadron Commander in the Royal Naval Air Service.He was the second child of Sir Edwin Harris Dunning of Jacques Hall, Bradfield, Essex. He was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth.He was the first pilot to land an aircraft on a moving ship. An American aviator, Eugene Burton Ely, had achieved a degree of fame by performing a similar feat in 1911, but in that case, the ship was stationary.It was actually in 1910 that the first experimental take-off by an aeroplane from the deck of a ship took place.( US Navy vessel, the cruiser USS Birmingham),and the first experimental landings ocurred in 1911.
The first British pilot to take off from a ship was Charles Rumney Samson , on 10 January 1912. This was from a foredeck ramp mounted on the battleship HMS Africa, which was anchored in the River Medway, flying in a Short Improved S.27 airplane No. 38 (often called the "Short S.38"). On 2 May 1912, using the same ramp and airplane, Samson became the first pilot to take off from a moving ship, the battleship HMS Hibernia in Weymouth Bay. He repeated this feat on 4 July 1912 from the battleship HMS London while London was underway, again using the same ramp and airplane.
Dunning landed his Sopwith Pup on HMS Furious in Scapa Flow, Orkney on 2 August 1917. He was killed five days later, during his second landing attempt of the day, when an updraught caught his port wing, throwing his plane overboard. Knocked unconscious, he drowned in the cockpit.He was posthumously 'Mentioned in Despatches'(1st October 1917.) On 14th March 1916 while a Flight Lieutenant, he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)- The citation recorded that he had performed exceptionally good work as a seaplane flyer, making many long flights both for spotting and photographing.
He is buried at St Lawrence's Church, Bradfield, beside his mother.In the church stands an alabaster memorial, 188cm high (in architectural surround with Dunning arms above) showing HMS Furious. The inscription reads:
'SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF SQUADRON COMMANDER EDWIN HARRIS DUNNING DSC RN H.M.S. FURIOUS BORN 17TH JULY 1892 SECOND SON OF SIR EDWARD HARRIS DUNNING KNIGHT OF JACQUES HALL IN THIS PARISH WOUNDED 20TH JUNE 1916 WHILE BOMBING ENEMY TERRITORY IN A FIGHT WITH GERMAN SEAPLANES AND WAS AWARDED THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS FOR GALLANTRY ON THIS AND OTHER OCCASIONS KILLED 7TH AUGUST 1917 BURIED IN BRADFIELD CHURCHYARD BESIDE HIS MOTHER
The Admiralty wish you to know what great service he performed for the Navy.It was in fact a demonstration of landing an Aeroplane on the deck of a Man-of-War whilst the latter was under way. This had never been done before; and the data obtained was of the utmost value.It will make Aeroplanes indispensible to the Fleet, & possibly revolutionise Naval Warfare.The risk taken by Squadron Commander Dunning needed much courage. He had already made two successful landings: but expressed a wish to land again himself, before other Pilots did so and in this last run he was killed. My Lords desire to place on record their sense of loss to the Naval Service of this Gallant Officer.' 'His captain wrote "I shall never cease to admire & regret him. He was so keen and full of enthusiasm & such an excellent capable fellow in every way. Both officers & men serving under him deeply feel the loss of so fine an officer and gentleman". In his memory, the Dunning Cup or Dunning Memorial Cup is given annually to the officer who is considered to have done most to further aviation in connection with the Fleet for the year in question.
His sister, Martha Dunning erected a stained glass window in his memory in the church.
Edwin Harris Dunning (1858 - 1923)
Hannah Louise Freeman Dunning (1860 - 1914)
Frances Dunning (1861 - 1938)*
Martha Louise Dunning (1868 - 1958)*
Frank George Dunning (1884 - 1935)*
Edwin Harris Dunning (1892 - 1917)
Bradfield, St Lawrence Churchyard
Created by: geoffrey gillon
Record added: Jan 09, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 46474569