H. J. D. Astley
H. J. D. Astley
Collection of Catherine Evans, 6-28-06

Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: September 22, 1912 ,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 6-10-03
The Intreprid English Aviator,
Killed in the Presence of Thirty Thousand Spectators"
"Belfast, Sept. 21
      H. J. D. Astley, one of the most intrepid and skillful of English aviators, was killed this afternoon by the fall of his aeroplane. Astley and James Valentine, each driving a machine, were making exhibition flights in the presence of thirty thousand spectators. Astley, after a splendid flight, was descending. He attempted to bank too sharply when making a sudden turn and caught by a fluky wind the monoplane fell from a height of one hundred feet. Women screamed and fainted. Astley was flung against one of the wings and his skull fractured. He died soon afterward.
      Astley when flying from France to England with Miss Trehawke Davis as a passenger had a marvelous escape near Lille on September 17. On that occasion the machine fell 150 feet and Miss Davis is said to have made an entry in her diary of her sensations as they dropped.


Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: September 23, 1912 ,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 6-10-03
"Trying to Avoid Spectators was What doubtless Caused the death of Aviator Astley, Heir of a Millionaire"
"London, Sept. 22.
      The death of M. J. D. Astley, by the fall of his aeroplane at Belfast yesterday, has given impetus to the movement to found a national aviator's league. Astley was the twentieth British airman to lose his life. A similar league has already been founded in the United States to control aviation.
      Astley met disaster while executing too sharp a turn. He wore no safety helmet and received terrible injuries to the head. He was the heir of a millionaire and a descendant of Cromwell.
      A distressing scene took place at the Belfast hospital tonight when his wife, who was Miss Mary Kinder, an American Actress, viewed her husband's body.
      Many of the spectators of the accident are of the opinion that Astley sacrificed his life in a brave attempt to avoid colliding with the crowd. He was seen waving his hand to the people to move away and was doing his utmost to avoid them. With more space he might have lessened the shock of the fall."
Bob Davis

     If you search for "H. J. D. Astley +aviation", using the Google search engine, (7-13-04), you will find about three links, two of them on this site. Among the most helpful are the following.
The Round Britain Race
The Daily Mail £10,000 Prize
22 July - 7 August 1911

On this page you find a fascinating story of the race, illustrated with many photographs and including some important links. It presents list of the 30 entrants into the race, along with their aeroplanes and country of origin. Two of them are also found on my website
Jules Védrines (9)
André Beaumont (1)
Gustav Hamel (24)
James Valentine (14)
H.J.D.Astley (2)
E.Audemars (13)
S.F.Cody (20)
G.Blanchet (11)
C.Howard Pixton (19)
C.Compton-Paterson (7)
Olivier de Montalent (23)
C.P.Pizey (17)
C.T.Weymann (28)
Lt.Reynolds, R.E. (25)
Lt.H.Bier + passenger (30)
B.C.Hucks (27)
Lt.R.A.Cammell, R.E. (12) I am sure you will want to read the whole interesting story of this historic event. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

H. J. D. Astley died in 1912.
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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