Name: Trevor S. Wade 

Born: 27 Jan 1920

Joined 92: 27 March 1940

Left 92: October 1941

Died: 3 April 1951

 

 

 

 

Trevor Wade was born on 27th January 1920,and was educated at Tonbridge School. On leaving school at eighteen he joined the RAF and learned to fly at Gatwick. When war came he took an instructor's course. Later he was posted to 92 Sqn,equipped with Spitfires,and was in action against the Luftwaffe between May 1940,and October the following year. In the Battle of Britain and subsequent operations he destroyed seven enemy aircraft and in July 1941 was awarded the DFC.

 

Trev baled out of his Spitfire I (3287) over Exeter while on night patrol at Swansea Bay. 

Wade crash landed a Spitfire I (R6703) near Selsey after being hit by the return fire of a Ju 88 over the Solent on the 19th of August 1940. His Spitfire I exploded after he had got clear, he escaped injury. 

He was wounded again in June 1941 flying a Spitfire V. 

 

''Wimpy'' (his nickname was borrowed from the American cartoon character of Popeye fame) was posted as an instructor to an Operational Training Unit. After a course at the Central Flying School he became a pilot-gunnery instructor at the Central School of Gunnery. He was appointed as OC Flying at the Air Fighting Development Unit at Duxford. For his important work at the ADFU,he was awarded the AFC.

 

After the war, he joined the editorial staff of The Aeroplane but in late 1947, he was approached by Bill Humble who required assistance in production testing of Sea-Furies at Langley. In 1948, Humble was appointed Hawker's sales manager, and Trev was appointed Chief Test Pilot.

 

His first major job was the testing of the straight-wing, nene-powered P.1040, which was the forerunner of the Seahawk. From the P.1040 he moved to the swept-wing P.1052,with which,in May 1949, he set a new record for the London-Paris flight. On the 19th June 1950, he made the maiden flight of the P.1081 at Farnborough. He demonstrated the aircraft 2 weeks later at the International Air display at Antwerp,and later the same year at SBAC Farnborough.

 

He was killed on the 3rd April 1951 when the P.1081 (which was later developed into the Hunter) he was flying from Langley to Farnborough had some catastrophic problem. Trev ejected but never released himself from the seat - which did not have automatic release - and was found dead, still strapped to the seat, in the woods at Ringmere. The aircraft crashed at Norlington, near Lewes Sussex. The cause of the accident remained a mystery. His place as Chief Test Pilot of Hawker was taken by Neville Duke, another former 92 Sqn pilot, who’s name will forever be linked with that of the Hunter.

Trevor S Wade.

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