Britain’s first ‘ace’ highlighted in new film

A new independent film about the exploits of Britain’s first ‘ace’ pilot, Maj Lanoe Hawker, will be released on the anniversary of his death, November 23, 2023

The 23-minute film tells the story of a pivotal few days in World War One, when airmen were transformed into fighter pilots for the first time in history.

The project has been a labour of love for the last three years for film director and actor Daniel Arbon. The film uses a mix of replica aircraft, hand-built miniatures, life-size cockpits and CGI to tell the story of the action on July 25, 1915, when Hawker downed three enemy aircraft in one sortie and won the Victoria Cross for his achievements. Before this, aircraft had largely been used for reconnaissance or bombing missions.

The film has been funded on a budget of £20,000, raised through a combination of grants from The Great War Aviation Society, other sponsors, and crowdfunding. As well as writing and directing the film, Daniel plays the role of Lt Col Charles Burke and has built many of the sets himself, including the cockpits. Much of the flying footage was filmed using a replica Bristol Scout, owned and operated by David Bremner and Theo Willford to recreate the aircraft flown by David’s grandfather, Capt F D H Bremner. For the filming, the replica aircraft was adapted with Hawker’s side-mounted Lewis gun, and the markings changed to match those employed by Hawker.

Daniel Arbon commented: “This project has been my life for the last three years, and I am so thankful to everyone who has supported us, either financially or by spreading the word, and to all the cast and crew who worked so hard. It has been an honour to lead this project and to have the support of the Hawker family and all the history enthusiasts. I really hope everyone enjoys the film.”

David Bremner said: “The Bristol Scout was the first aircraft manoeuvrable enough to be practical to aim the aircraft, rather than just the gun, and Hawker was the first to fully realise its potential for air warfare. Theo and I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this project, and it’s a privilege to celebrate the film’s release.”

The film will be available on Vimeo, where it can be streamed for £0.99 or purchased for £1.99. Links will be posted on social media at Facebook/TheGreatWarAviationSociety and /Hawkerfilm or Twitter @GWAS1914_1918.

To view the trailer, read a history of Lanoe Hawker, and go behind the scenes of the film with an interview with Daniel Arbon, visit

The new film is released on November 23 and will be available on Vimeo
The new film is released on November 23 and will be available on Vimeo Courtesy Cross & Cockade