The Wallis's ~ The Complete Story
light twenty-four inch wheels were set well back with a pair of wooden skids with upturned front ends mounted in front. These were spring loaded to aid the aircraft in landing on uneven ground. Power was supplied from a four-cylinder J.C.Prestwick petrol engine, which was capable giving twenty-five horsepower when running at 1500 rpm. The weight of the whole machine was eight hundred and thirty pounds.
In May 1910 the machine was brought out of the workshop for public viewing. The public was charged sixpence for admission to view the Wallis brothers’ work.
When the aircraft was ready for testing it was transferred to Abingdon for trials. In their trials the monoplane overturned during a take-off attempt on July 4th. 1910 Percy was at the controls but mercifully he was unhurt. A contemporary account reported that, “Messrs. Wallis Bros. are by no means disheartened by the accident.” However, when The shed housing the “Wallbro” was badly damaged during a bad storm the aircraft was badly damaged. The project had been supported by their father Samuel Banks Wallis. He had provided £300 towards the building of the airframe and a further £300 for the J.A.P. V-4 Engine. Samuel realised there was unlikely to be any quick profit from his investment, but when he received a bill for £34 to cover the costs of repairs to telephone lines the project lost his support and being their main benefactor and ‘Wallbro’ was grounded for good. Samuel Banks ordered his sons back to the family business.
In 1911 there were some big army manoeuvres in East Anglia. The Army was asked for skilled motorcyclist Volunteers to act as despatch riders. Horace and Pearcy promptly volunteered, which gave them the chance to escape the Their father and the family business.
When the Army manoeuvres were over a year later, Horace married Emmily May Barker in 1912 they moved to Ely in 1912 and together with his youngest brother Garnett, they set up the ‘Walbro Cycle & Motor Works’ The money for the project being put up by Emily. Percy meanwhile also went into the Motor business at Cambridge and also took an interest in running the “Central & Tivoli cinemas in the town centre.
Horace and Garnet did not get on well in business and they decided to pull out of the business. Horace decided to buy Garnet out of the Ely business and did so with the help of some money from his wife Emily May. . By now the First World War had broken out and Garnet decided to join the Royal Engineers Horace had already volunteered but had been turned down on medical grounds. During the war “Walbros” became sub-contracted Making aircraft parts for the war effort.
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