AKA CB Prodger
Clifford Prodger
Clifford B. Prodger
Collection of Kim Prodger, 4-26-05

Clifford Prodger
Clifford B. Prodger
Collection of Kim Prodger, 4-26-05

via email from Kim Prodger, 4-25-05
     I am writing in response to your request for more information on Clifford B. Prodger, the American aviator you put on the Early Aviators website. I am the grandaughter of C.B. Prodger. He was born 6/8/1889 in Alexandria, Minnesota and died 8/22/1920 at Redwood City, California. He is buried in Hollywood California.
     Thank you so much for putting C.B.P. on the web. My father, his son, died in late November. Seeing the article you transcribed has meant so much to the entire family.
Kim Prodger
The P.B.31E Night Hawk
via email from Peter Jensen, 5-27-05
     I found Prodger's name in the excellent War Planes of the First World War: Fighters Volume Three by J.M. Bruce. (Near as I can tell these books are all out of print, which is a shame since they are the most detailed I have found anywhere on WWI aircraft.)
"The first P.B.31E was flown by Clifford Prodger in February 1917 but by then it was doomed." (p. 69)
     A brief mention, but worth noting. The P.B.31E "Night Hawk", the first project of the Pemberton-Billing operation after it became Supermarine, was a prototype anti-Zeppelin fighter with a crew of three to five and an intended duration of 18 hours!
     Bruce's article is of course more than I can transcribe but the web has fine information on it:
Night Hawk

Editor's Note: An especially helpful website which offers several photographs and drawings of the plane may be accessed at:
Night Hawk

     Ellen Elder suggests that the language of this website is Polish. If you can help us with a translation of a portion of the text, I would love to hear from you.

Clifford Prodger
40 people who flew over London, and an uncomfortable Prodger sitting in the center.
Collection of Kim Prodger, 4-26-05

via email from Ellen Elder, 1-10-05
     Don't know if you are interested in other aviators, but we also had an American test pilot Mr. CB Prodger in Belfast during the first world war. You may know that Belfast was in its heyday a great shipbuilding and aircraft building centre and that the Titanic was built here by Harland & Wolff. Well, during the first world war H & W also built aeroplanes at Aldergrove, now our international airport. The hundreds they completed included one of the largest aircraft ever built at that time, with a wingspan of 126 feet and a speed of 100 mph which could be maintained for 15 hours. It was test flown over Belfast by Prodger in December 1918, and was originally meant to take part in the bombing of Berlin, but being so late in the war it was diverted to the Indian Mail Service, presumably because of its long flying time.
North Down Spectator article
Saturday December 28, 1918 issue, page 3.
Transcribed by Ellen Elder, 2-16-05
     The North Down Spectator & Ulster Standard is a weekly newspaper printed in the town of Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, since 1904 and still going strong! As well having its own columnists, it printed copies of articles from the local daily newspapers and I think this one originated from the Belfast Telegraph. A large number of employees of the Harland & Wolff shipyards lived in Bangor and would have had a hand in building this machine.

     An aeroplane built by Messrs Harland & Wolff Limited at the Aldergrove Aerodrome, Crumlin, attracted much attention on Friday afternoon on its flight over Belfast. The flight, which was made for test purposes, was conducted by Mr C.B. PRODGER, a bold and experienced aviator, who occupies a very responsible post under the Air Ministry. The machine is one of the largest ever built and in its initial flight it behaved splendidly, despite the fact that a strong wind was blowing and the atmosphere was bitterly cold. The sky was beautifully clear, and spectators had an admirable view of the aeroplane as it moved gracefully and rapidly through space. It can carry a sufficient quantity of fuel to keep it going for 15 hours at a stretch and has a speed of about 100 miles per hour. The span of the wings is 126 feet whilst the height is 22 feet. The machine was originally intended to take part in the bombing of Berlin but with the restoration of peace the authorities have decided to utilize it in connection with the Indian mail service. It has accommodation for a crew of 9 and is so spacious that a writing table and chairs are to be placed in it when it is put in commission. Mr Prodger has tested an enormous number of aeroplanes in the past 4 years and Friday's flight was one of the most successful he has ever made. On Monday in taking a machine to the south of England he flew at an altitude of 7,000 feet and covered a distance of 450 miles in 4 hours 50 minutes. In his flight over Belfast he was accompanied by Captain Paton, one of his colleagues on the staff of the Air Ministry.
     The machine represents the latest development in aircraft design and construction and suggests the tremendous possibility of the aeroplane for the purposes of transport. It is not too much to say that the flying machine has been one of the leading factors in the determination of the War. In the early stages of the campaign Germany had the advantage in this branch of equipment but Britain and her allies subsequently obtained a decided superiority and the deeds of our gallant airmen will be recorded in letters of gold in the pages of history as achievements without parallel for daring and devotion. With the termination of the war inventors will turn their attention to the adaption of the aeroplane to the needs of commerce and industry and already its utility in this respect has been convincingly demonstrated. 6 or 7 years ago an aeroplane flight was regarded as a great adventure only to be undertaken by the bolder spirits amongst us but it is now recognized that, provided the machine is in charge of an experienced pilot, there is as little danger in travelling through the air at 80-100 mph as in journeying on an express train moving at 40-50 mph. One can easily conceive of the time when the aeroplane will be a powerful rival to the railway train and the motor car in the conveyance of passengers. Air mail services have already been established in various parts of the world and there is no reason why we should not also have equally efficient passenger services by aeroplane. The chief obstacle in the way of this departure up to the present has been the limited capacity of the machines but that difficulty is gradually being overcome and only the other day an aeroplane flew over London with 40 passengers. It is interesting to note that Mr Prodger, the pilot of the new Aldergrove aeroplane, also steered the machine built for the London experiment and he is very optimistic as to the ability of inventors to design large craft giving as much security from the standpoint of safety as the modern railway train and also capable of being worked economically when put to commercial activities. There are still many people who would hesitate to make a voyage in an aeroplane but that is simply because owing to its novelty they have exaggerated the risks involved. Exactly the same feeling prevailed in reference to railway trains when the first railroads were constructed and in some isolated districts even the motorcar, the acme of safety and comfort, was looked upon with fear and suspicion until a few years ago. The aeroplane has assuredly come to stay and 20 years hence people will probably travel by air in preference to going by rail or sea in cases where long distances have to be traversed.
     Those who saw the new machine in its flight must have been impressed by its grace and stability and perhaps they would be inclined to envy the occupants the glorious sense which they enjoyed in soaring high among the clouds with the towering landmarks below reduced to mere specks by the perspective in which they were placed, It may be added that hundreds of aeroplanes have been built at the Aldergrove Aerodrome during the past 18 months and in adapting their great resources to the requirements of this industry, Messrs Harland & Wolff have proved that the initiative and enterprise which won worldwide renown for their Queen's Island Works can ensure an equal measure of success when directed into new channels of activity.

Comments from Ellen Elder: "The language of 1918 newspapers is very quaint but I think conveys the spirit of the times and the excitement felt at this very new form of transport. Harland & Wolff as I expect you know built the Titanic and were the number one employers in Belfast for many years. Short Bros and Harland went on to become the main aircraft industry in the city while Harland & Wolff continued with shipbuilding. Unfortunately now they are greatly reduced in output but have a new line in servicing oilrigs. Shorts, where my father worked as a tool fitter for many years, is now run by Bombardier, a Canadian outfit."

Early Wright Exhibition Pilot - Instructor
by M. E. Morehouse
Extract from biography
Collection of Rolland DeRemer - 12-8-03
     Still determined to learn to fly, DeRemer went to St. Louis in the late fall of 1911 to see about taking flight instruction. There he met Tom Benoist, Tony Jannus, Howard Gill and Max Lillie at Kinloch Field, and Jannus gave him his first aeroplane ride in a Benoist machine. While there DeRemer also met George Beatty of New York, who had been flying there, but was ready to return east. This trip and his meeting with aviators, added to DeRemer's enthusiasm, but apparently he decided to wait until spring to take flying lessons.
     Having made the acquaintance of George Beatty, and favoring the Wright plane, DeRemer decided on the Beatty School the following spring and arrived at the Nassau Boulevard, L.I. flying field for instruction on February 9th, 1912. Also training there at that time were Charles Horton, Dr. A. G. Belden, Clarke Thompson, William Reid, Marshall Reid, Clifford Prodger, Wilbur Andrews, William Piceller and F. W. Kemper. DeRemer was an apt pupil and made his first solo flight on April 13th after only two and one-half hours of instruction time. Fellow student and wealthy sportsman, Marshall Reid furnished DeRemer's bond for possible accidental damage for his solo flight. On Friday, April 19th, 1912 DeRemer obtained Pilot License No. 115, flying a Beatty Wright, and broke the local record for his flight tests by completing them in 19 minutes and flying to 700 feet. This was 5 minutes less than the nearest previous time. Beatty regarded this as phenominal and asked DeRemer to remain with him as assistant insturctor, which was declined because he wished to return to Bay City and start his aviation career in his home town.

     If you search for "Clifford Prodger", using the Google search engine, (1-15-05), you will find three links.
Towner County, ND, Hansboro, News
     This page offers a transcription of a news item from the October 9, 1914 issue of the North Dakota News which includes an important reference to Clifford Prodger. You can access it by clicking in the title above.
     Once on the page, you may want to use the FIND function on Prodger to located the entry on the page.

August 1920 Accidents
     On this page of Vic's Aviation History Site website, (Now obsolete, 1-15-05), you will find some 50 reports of accidents which occurred in the month of August, 1920. Included in the list is the following:
23 August     Redwood, CA     pilot Clifford Prodger


     If you search for "CB Prodger", using the Google search engine, (1-15-05), you will find one important link.
Your Place and Mine
Greater Belfast
     The purpose of this website is described in the following paragraph which is found on the site.

About Your Place & Mine.
A firm favourite on BBC Radio Ulster for over 13 years, Your Place & Mine has an ever increasing number of listeners. The programme & website reflect the mosaic of life in Northern Ireland.

     In 2004, Ellen Elder submitted the following story.

"Ellen Elder - April 04:
Apropos Shorts making motor cars, I was interested to read recently that Harland & Wolff built aeroplanes at the Aldergrove aerodrome during the lst world war. One which was test-flown by the American test pilot C.B. Prodger was at the time one of the largest ever built. It could carry enough fuel to keep it going for 15 hours at a stretch and had a speed of 100 mph. The span of the wings was 126 feet and the plane was originally intended to take part in the bombing of Berlin but as it was now December 1918, it was a little late. It was decided to utilise the plane in connection with the Indian mail service. The article goes on to say that "One can easily conceive of the time when the aeroplane will be a powerful rival to the railway train and the motor car in the conveyance of passengers.....during the past 18months and in adapting their great resources to the requirements of this industry, Messrs Harland & Wolff have proved that the initiative and enterprise which ha! have won worldwide renown for their Queen's Island works can ensure an equal measure of success when directed into new channels of activity.

     Kim Prodger, Clifford's grandaughter, has kindly shared photographs of some of his descendants with us. You can enjoy these by clicking on:
Prodger Family Album

I have no information as to the dates of his birth or his death.
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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