AEROPLANE DATABASE: Martinsyde Elephant

DEVELOPMENT: Emerging in 1915, Martinsyde’s new biplane was a useful multi-purpose machine

An Elephant of No 14 Squadron, its undercarriage reinforced with a crossbrace to allow carriage of greater bomb loads than originally envisaged. That said, it has no bomb racks fitted. VIA PETE LONDON

Born in 1877 and educated at Edinburgh Royal High School, George Harris Handasyde developed a passion for automotive engineering. Later, as the first flyers took to the air, he eagerly began to explore the fledgling art of aviation. Meanwhile, also from an engineering background, Londoner Helmut Paul Martin was skilled in designing motorcycle engines and automobile parts. Both men were experienced practical mechanics.

Meeting in 1908 through their common interests, Martin caught Handasyde’s enthusiasm for the possibilities of flying. The two entered into an aeronautical partnership, at first known as Martin and Handasyde, Aeroplane Manufacturers and Aeronautical Engineers, and that year began designing their first machine.

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