The Past Is Myself
My Great Uncle Squadron Commander Christoper Draper, DSC Croix de guerre, was an English flying ace of World War I. His penchant for flying under bridges earned him the nickname "the Mad Major." After the war he became a film star through his work both as a stunt pilot and as an actor. During the 1930s he worked for a time as a British secret agent, serving as a double agent to Nazi Germany. He returned to the Navy in World War II. During his flying career he logged over 17,000 flying hours on 73 types of aircraft. Christopher Draper was born on the 16th of January 1979 in Bebington, on the wirral in Cheshire England in 1892, he had four brothers and two sisters. In 1909 he became interested in flying when Louis Bleroit flew across the English Channel. While trying to find a job flying, he learned from a cousin in the service that the Royal Navy was offering short service commissions to pilots with an Aviator's Certificate. After passing the medical, he joined the Royal Naval Air Service in January 1914 and was commissioned as a probationary sub-Lieutenant, RNR. From January to April 1914 he attended the fifth course at the Central Flying School. Spending the initial war years on Home defence in Newcastle and Scotland, He initiated his liking for dare-devil exploits by flying a seaplane under one of the spans of the Firth of Tay bridge near Dundee. While based at Dundee, He was ordered to land an airplane on the green at St. Andrew's golf course. He stopped right in front of the clubhouse. In mid-1916 he was posted to 3 Naval Wing, who were preparing to go to France. While collecting his new Sopwith 1½ Strutter, He flew the aircraft under the foot-bridge which ran around the racing track behind the Sopwith hangars at Brooklands. While flying the Sopwith 1½ Strutter with 3 Naval Wing he scored his first four victories while carrying out some of the first strategic bombing...
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