World War II was at last over and behind us. It had been nine years since the last Wakefield Cup event, the reigning Wakefield Champion Richard Korda is now 33 years old. Nine years ago Fred Bower of Canada who had placed second on only two flights in the 1939 Wakefield Cup Contest when he was 19 years old, had died at age 24, crashing into the St Lawrence River while ferrying a B-25 bomber. Robert Copland, now 35,who had been fourth in 1939, was now preparing to challenge the World in the quest of honor for "The Ol Mug" again.
The Wakefield Aeromodel Clubs of the United Kingdom had remained intact throughout World War II. Ted Evans, who owned an aeromodel shop which was the epicenter for Wakefield design of the Northampton club, was ready also. Ted, one of the finest Wakefield designers of all time, was ready with his new Wakefield design "Jaguar". The UK Team Trials began with the "Gutteridge Trophy" meet on May 2, 1948. Ted Evans was the eventual winner. Ted won by out flying 25 other Midland Area qualifiers that day. Ten of these entries flew Ted's "Jaguar", and one of those was a clubmate, a new member to Northampton, Roy Chesterton . At the final Team Trials both Ted Evans and Burt Revell crashed their "Jaguars" in the gusting wind, and rain. The "Jaguar" had a tendency to loop under full turns "making pieces on the ground !" as James Taylor wrote in his song.
Nick Evans, Ted's son was quoted in SAM 35, No.4 :"My father was a modest man. I am sure that nobody knows that he carved the propeller for Roy Chesterton's "Jaguar", and also trimmed it in the early morning hours in one of Northampton's parks. Mike Kemp the author of this article, went on to mention "...the rules of the Wakefield Event at the time stated:
"The model, including the propeller(s) must be constructed by the entrant." This was the "Builder of the Model Rule" (BOM) that was rescinded forty-nine years later by the Plenary Committee of the FAI/CIAM in 1988, because the rule had become unenforceable by that time. (IK: it is hard to believe that there was so much complaint about removal of the rule when it had been completely flouted by historical names so much earlier).
Wakefield aeromodellers the world over now prepared to descend on to Akron, Ohio for this years Wakefield Event. Nine years is a very long time between contests. Think about the spread of time: 1930 to 1939, 1939 to 1948. A new generation of aeromodellers had emerged in the world. In the USA the reigning Wakefield Champion Richard Korda was preparing for the Akron Wakefield contest with a new machine that resembled Chester Lanzo's "Classic Wakefield". The 1938 Wakefield Champion James Cahill, qualified for the 1948 Team USA, with a new Wakefield that had a single wheeled retracting landing gear, the fuselage had a wide airfoil-shaped box fuselage, but Jim stayed with a shoulder mounted wing. The other USA Team members were Tom Coryell, of Indianapolis, Ind, Bob Holland, 33, of Sunland, Cal, Jim Bunton, of Hunington, Vir, and Dick Schumacher, of Reseda, Cal.
The Belgium Wakefield Team arrived with only four members, Georges Lippens, of Brussels, Ludo Van Hemelrijck, of Brussels, Pregldien, Emile Sijsmans, of Antwerp, and they drew Carl Goldberg as their fifth member, to fly proxy for Gaston Joostens, of Brussels, who was unable to make the trip.
Australia sent their Wakefields to be flown proxy. They drew Frank Cuummings, the 1947 USA Nationals Outdoor Free flight Champion, flying proxy for Frost, and Donahue proxy for Marden.
New Zealand got "the luck of the draw"( again) their proxy team consisted of some of the best flyers in the Chicago Aeronauts: Otto Curth who flew proxy for B B Marsh, Ed Lidgard for Court, Wally Fromm for Grey, Jim Broderick for Angus McDonald, and Gerald Ritzenthaler, the 1959 Nordic Glider World Champion who changed his name to Ritz, flew for E H Harold.
There was a six person Canadian Team including Bob Milligan, of Toronto, Ontario, who was on the 1938 Team, Levelle Walter, of Windsor, Ontario, John Cotte, of Ottawa, Ontario, Jim Wood, of Windsor, Ontario, Leonard Dickie of Ottawa, Ontario, and Roy Nelder, of Toronto, Ontario, an outstanding aeromodeller.
The Team from Great Britain was led by Bob Copland, 33, a team member in 1936, '38, and '39; Len Stott GBTeam Member in 1938 and 1939; Flight Lt A D Piggott RAF, 26; P C Doughty, 32; M J King RAF,19; and Roy Chesterton. No Wakefields came from France, the Netherlands, South Africa, or Germany this time. The stage was set...!
ROUND 1: The Contest opened at 10 :20am on the morning of August 27, the beginning of a brutally hot, 85 degrees F and humid day, with next to little wind drift. Again there was a draw, to choose who would fly first. Roy Chesterton won the draw. Was this prophetic? The Wakefields were launched ROG from the concrete taxi strip. On his first flight Roy's "Jaguar" performed perfectly, with 1000 turns on the Dunlop rubber motor, it banked left on the initial torque burst, then as Roy remembers "...slowly to starboard and settled down to a steady climb in 100 foot circles. I had decided on a five minute dethermalizer fuse... it continued to glide in rather large circles, sinking slowly. It landed 300 yards from the take-off point after a flight of 4 minutes 46.5 seconds." Next to take-off was Bob Copland flying his classic streamliner to 4 minute 9.3 second total. Otto Curth flying proxy for B B Marsh did 2 minutes 58.2 second total. James Cahill had a less than spectacular flight of 1 minute 4 seconds. Dick Korda had a fast climb, but no glide, and was down faster, within 1 minute 43.6 seconds. Bob Holland's Wakefield , using 20 strands of 1/4 inch T-56 rubber, was down in 2 minutes 3.2 seconds, and Coryell managed only 3 minutes 28 seconds. Roy Chesterton was in the lead, and Bob Copland was second!
ROUND 2: Roy: "There seemed just no time at all between the first and the second flights. This time I packed in 1050 on the nose block right in position for the last 50 turns and, with Bob Copland holding the machine and wincing, as the last turns went on. The take-off was quite good again, but the climb was very slightly to the left - probably the result of a few more turns. Than came a disconcerting moment when the "Jaguar" hung on its propeller and stalled slightly (?) but it pulled out quite nicely and continued to climb quickly." 6 minutes 2.4 seconds for Roy Chesterton. Meanwhile Otto Curth flying proxy for BB Marsh went ahead with a towering flight of 12 minutes, 11.1 seconds. Coryell was second now with a 7 minute 37 second flight. Chesterton was third. Bob Cahill turned in a 7 minute 44.2 second flight for fourth place behind Chesterton. Bob Milligan was fifth now after turning in an 8 minute 48 second flight, Bob Copland was sixth.
ROUND 3: Roy Chesterton decided to be conservative on his last flight, trying not to make his Teammate Bob Copland wince as he is quoted on his last flight. "Having considered the shaky start of the second flight, it was decided not to experiment with the trim but to put 100 less turns on the last flight and sacrifice some of the initial burst of power and that, it seemed, coupled with the fact that there would be no DT fuse, should prevent a recurrence of a semi-stalled condition. The third round was officially opened at 1:00pm, and the question arose, whether to wait and risk a freshening breeze or fly and sit on a bed of nails until the end of the competition and "sweat it out". I chose the latter course, because there were enough thermals about if one could get high enough to take advantage of them. With no DT to worry about, I concentrated on a good wind of 950 turns. The initial climb was less spectacular, but with a slight turn to the right there was no sign of a stall and the model got up quickly. It was soon obvious that it would be the last and best flight for me. It climbed and drifted steadily across the field, whilst the jeep kept directly underneath. After ten minutes... it was apparent that following it would be useless. It had been aloft for a full 15 minutes when we saw the last turn of the silver propeller as it climbed away faster, and we turned about to check the official time. Eight minutes thirty two and nine tenths seconds. From 1:30pm until 5:00pm that afternoon was the longest afternoon I have ever had to endure."
Otto Curth had a chance, but only managed 2:28.3 late in the day. Meanwhile Jim Cahill having lost his Wakefield during round two, was still downwind searching for it in the woods. Tom Coryell had a good chance also, but he waited until the last moment to fly, and there was no lift. Tom was down in 1:42.8. It was all over. A frustrated Dick Korda exasperated by his own performance was heard to mutter "...heaven help us if they ever go to folders". Roy Chesterton was the last person from Great Britain to win the Wakefield Cup, outright.
|Place||Name||Country||Round l||Round 2||Round 3||Average time|
|2||B B Marsh
(proxy O Curth)
|WINNING WAKEFIELD "Jaguar"|
|propeller||18 dia 32 pitch||457 dia 813 pitch|
|rubber||Dunlop 1/4" 12 strands 1050 turns|
1953 International Competition Handbook, Gerold Ritz
SAM35 Year Book No.4, Maestro Ted, Mike Kemp
Aeromodeller, May 1976, Those early days, Magpie
M.A.N. Sept 1948, p.16, Wakefield in '48, John L MacKenzie
Music: "Kiss Me Kate"; Literature: "Naked and The Dead", Cine: "Hamlet"