by Nick Forder
George Lee Temple was educated at Trent College and later completed an engineering apprenticeship. He is known to have presented papers to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, but decided that his future lay elsewhere. In 1910 and 1911 he was a successful motorcycle racer for the Singer works team, and became interested in aviation. A motor-cycle accident in early 1912 gave him time for reflection, and in September 1912 he decided to go into partnership with a Mr F Jameson to open a new flying school at Hendon.
Two 'Bleriot' monoplanes, one of which lacked an engine, were purchased from the Blackburn Aeroplane Company of Leeds for £90.00. These were almost certainly secondhand, and probably the former property of the Northern Automobile Company Limited, which had operated an aerodrome at Primrose Valley, near Filey. Blackburn is known to have built a number of copies of the Bleriot XI monoplane, and may have built the aircraft for the NAC Ltd originally. Blackburn certainly had the contract to maintain these aircraft, and, presumably, acquired them when the Primrose Valley aerodrome closed in 1911. The NAC hangar was rented by Blackburn for housing his own designs, as was the adjacent bungalow which later provided as living quarters for Bentfield Charles Hucks when Blackburn employed him as a test pilot in 1911.
Meanwhile, Temple taught himself to fly using one of the Bleriots retained by the flying school. It is unknown whether an engine was acquired for the other aircraft He subsequently took a flying course with the W H Ewen School at Hendon, and purchased a 35 hp Anzani powered Caudron biplane. W H Ewen was then the British agent for Caudron aircraft, and so he seems more than reasonable to suppose that every effect was made to impress upon Temple the advantages of the Caudron over the Bleriot. Temple was granted Royal Aero Club Certificate 424 on February 18, 1913.
Temple soon came to the conclusion that there was more money to be made giving exhibition flights than running a training school. Thus, in the summer of 1913, he sold his interest in the Hendon flying school.
One of his earliest exhibition flights was made from the Manchester Aerodrome at Trafford Park. Early in the morning of Wednesday May 14, 1913, Temple made a trial flight over the city in the direction of Barton Moss. Later that morning, despite a wind blowing at close to 40 mph, Temple made two more flights.
On Thursday the wind was as strong as before, but once more Temple gave two flights in front of a large crowd. At noon on Friday May 16 a flight was made, in much improved weather conditions, over Old Trafford and Barton at a height of 500 feet.