Reclu­sive pi­lot was first to fly across the Ir­ish Sea

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

HIS­TORIC mem­o­ra­bilia from the home of a pioneer avi­a­tor has been do­nated to the is­land of An­gle­sey, where he took off from on his most fa­mous flight and where he lived for over 30 years.

De­tec­tive work by the Isle of An­gle­sey Coun­cil’s Archives Depart­ment has re­vealed that while some of the ma­te­rial be­longed to Cap­tain Vi­vian He­witt, the first man to fly across the Ir­ish Sea in 1912, much of it had been owned by another lo­cal fly­ing hero.

Cap­tain He­witt, who died in 1965, was dubbed the Welsh Ble­riot af­ter his epic flight in 1912 and 18 years later he re­turned to An­gle­sey to buy Bryn Aber, near Cem­lyn Bay, where he lived a reclu­sive life un­til his death in 1965. Bryn Aber was re­cently sold for just over £300,000.

Now North Wales law firm Swayne John­son has handed over what was be­lieved to be Cap­tain He­witt’s leather fly­ing hel­met, car­tridge cases, ser­vice-is­sue wa­ter bot­tle and cook­ing pan, as well as a por­trait of him, to the Isle of An­gle­sey archives and the mu­seum at Oriel Mon.

But archives team has dis­cov­ered that the paint­ing is of Pi­lot Of­fi­cer Vi­vian Parry, the son of Cap­tain He­witt’s house­keeper, Nel­lie, who was killed in World War Two and the fly­ing hel­met is also likely to be his.

Vi­vian Parry was with 150 Squadron, which flew Welling­ton bombers on night raids into Europe from RAF Snaith in York­shire and he lost his life on Septem­ber 4, 1942, just months af­ter be­ing pre­sented with the Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross by King Ge­orge VI at Buck­ing­ham Palace.

Vi­vian Parry, who is buried at Cem­lyn Bay, had joined the RAF on the out­break of the war and was a rear gun­ner – one of the most dan­ger­ous wartime roles with a life ex­pectancy of just five mis­sions or less than a fort­night.

Other items in­clud­ing di­aries, some of the many pho­to­graphs and the plans of Bryn Aber, be­longed to Cap­tain He­witt.

Shaun Hughes, the Swayne John­son so­lic­i­tor who dealt with the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Bryn Aber es­tate, said: “We were pleased to hand over th­ese his­toric items to the is­land of An­gle­sey and would like to pay tribute to the de­tec­tive work of the Coun­cil’s archives depart­ment for find­ing that the mem­o­ra­bilia be­longed to not one but two of the is­land’s air aces.

“We were in­volved with Bryn Aber where Cap­tain He­witt spent so many happy years and he was clearly a re­mark­able man.

“He was one of the early pi­o­neers of manned flight and his jour­ney across the Ir­ish Sea was longer than any pre­vi­ous flight over wa­ter, three times fur­ther than Louis Ble­riot’s flight across the Chan­nel three years ear­lier.

“He ap­pears to have been very happy here on An­gle­sey where he lived with his house­keeper and per­haps his in­flu­ence in­spired Vi­vian Parry to join the RAF.

“He was clearly fond of the fam­ily as he left his home at Bryn Aber and a prop­erty in the Ba­hamas to Nel­lie’s two sur­viv­ing sons, Jack and Ken.”

Ian Jones, Oriel Mon Col­lec­tions Man­ager, said: “We’re de­lighted to re­ceive this im­por­tant ma­te­rial as we act as the col­lec­tive mem­ory of the is­land of An­gle­sey.

A book, Mod­est Mil­lion­aire: The Bi­og­ra­phy of Cap­tain Vi­vian He­witt was writ­ten by Wil­liam Hy­wel and pub­lished by then Den­bigh-based print­ers Gwasg Gee in 1973 and although out of print it is avail­able in lo­cal li­braries.

For more in­for­ma­tion the Isle of An­gle­sey archives go to www. an­gle­ records-and-archives/

Pho­to­graphs of Cap­tain He­witt

Bryn Aber, Cem­lyn Bay, which was the home of avi­a­tion pioneer Vi­vian He­witt, first man to fly across the Ir­ish Sea

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