SOUTHAMPTON'S GREAT WAR
1914 - 1918
In the early days of aviation Hampshire was a hive of aeronautical activity. At Farnborough, American Wild West Showman Samuel Franklin Cody flew Britain’s first aircraft in 1910; in Southampton eccentric inventor Noel Pemberton-Billing devised a propeller-powered car and a “boat that flies”; and in 1913 in a nearby field Eric Rowland Moon flew his first “Moonbeam” monoplane.
The outbreak of the Great War in 1914 dramatically transformed Southampton’s fledgling aviation industry into a machine for producing the world’s most radical new weapon of war: the aeroplane. Maverick inventors like Noel Pemberton-Billing suddenly found themselves with a serious purpose for their creations, and plenty of government money to build them.
This exhibition tells the remarkable story of Southampton’s pioneer aviators and the contribution they made to the First World War.