Lord Wakefield of Hythe sincerely believed that the world would benefit from an interest in aviation through the development of aeromodels. In 1911, then Sir Charles Wakefield, held a competition for aeromodels on the grounds of the Crystal Palace. This is a very large arboretum building which had been constructed for the nineteenth century International Exposition near London, England.
For this contest managed by the "Kite and Model Aeroplane Association", Sir Charles had made a sterling silver-gilted cup, standing about 18 inches high. In fact this "Gold Cup" was very similar to the present "Wakefield Cup", and was probably made by the same Master Silversmith in London: Sansom & Creswick. The Wakefield Gold Cup contest of 1911 was won by E W Twining, of London, on July 5, and Sir Charles Wakefield was in attendance to watch the competition, and to present the "Wakefield Gold Cup" to Mr Twining. The aeromodel that Twining flew was a canard. Twining patterned his aeromodel after the theories of the Wright Brothers famous "Flyer", and Santos Dumont. Twining mentioned that the original "Wakefield Gold Cup" was last won by either a Dutch, or Belgium competitor, whose family may still have this trophy. World War I, intervened, and this trophy was lost, but not forgotten. In 1927, now Lord Wakefield of Hythe, was asked by F de P Green of the SMAE if the 1911 "Gold Cup" could again be used for an aeromodelling event, only to learn that the 1911 "Gold Cup" was lost. At this time Lord Wakefield decided to sponsor a new aeromodelling competition. It was then that F de P Green asked the President of the Society of Model Aeronautical Engineers, Sir Sefton Brancker, if the SMAE would be interested in forming a rules committee that would manage a new International Aeromodelling competition. The Governing Board of the SMAE voted to approve the request, and to appoint Mr A F Houlberg, and Dr A P Thurston to head the Wakefield International Trophy Committee. It was through the efforts of these two gentlemen that the Wakefield International Trophy Rules were first formulated. These "Wakefield Cup Rules" were in two parts, the first being the basis for the competition, the General Rules:
This was followed by part two of the Wakefield Rules, the Specifications:
The first Wakefield International Cup Contest was held in 1928 at Hendon Aerodrome, near London, England. There is no evidence to indicate that Lord Wakefield of Hythe attended the contest, but knowing how important this contest was to him I would guess that he was there to present the new "Silver Cup". His interest in aeromodelling never waned, and by 1936 when the English team returned from the USA after Albert Judge had won back the Wakefield Cup, Lord Wakefield personally hosted the team at a restaurant in Piccadilly, London. This unflagging, and single minded devotion to aeromodelling by Viscount Lord Wakefield of Hythe must have in some way prepared the many English aeromodellers who flew in the Wakefield Event, to devote their careers to the aviation industry in their country, and in some way added to the survival of their country during World War II, at least that's what I believe. One outstanding example would have to be Robert Copland who died in 1996. Actually Lord Wakefield of Hythe believed fully in friendly international aeromodelling, and the Wakefield International Cup contest has always been that, regardless of those today who admire nationalistic military displays of uniformed marching units waving flags, like at the "Olympics".
Viscount Wakefield of Hythe died in March 1941, at an estimated age of 61 years. While he was living he was referred to as "The Patron Saint of Aviation", a title that he much deserved. He will be loved forever by those who fly in the contests of his namesake. Although today's rules bear little resemblance to the Wakefield Rules that were first written by the SMAE in 1927, the "spirit" of The Event prevails. This spirit, I believe, is present because there are many people still alive today who have been involved in the perpetuation of the Wakefield event from the beginning, Gordon S Light the 1932 and 1935 Wakefield Champion for one. This condition is now in the stage of attrition, and within a few short years it will climax with the fact that there are no longer any survivors left in the world who remember, or even care about history of the Wakefield Cup event. At this stage in time the Wakefield Cup event will be in serious jeopardy.