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Sir Arthur Marshall – a century of wings

A bold entrepreneur and pilot, Sir Arthur Marshall made commercial aviation history, helped to win World War II and enjoyed a romantic aerial marriage.

In the 1920s Marshall developed a fast, new effective way to train pilots and repair engines. He built a small 1920s car hire and garage business into Marshall of Cambridge, which became internationally renowned for aerospace engineering and training. His touch was golden.

The Telegraph reports that “In 1930 Marshall met Rosemary Dimsdale, a bluestocking granddaughter of the 6th Lord Dimsdale. He taught her to fly, and after they married in 1931 they toured Switzerland and Italy on a flying honeymoon in Marshall's Puss Moth.” They were often at the controls on their vacations after that, flying south.

During World War II Marshall Flying Schools trained more than 20,000 pilots and instructors for the RAF. The aircraft company “repaired more than 5,000 aircraft, Marshall often test-flying the repaired aircraft himself.”

After the war Marshall designed and built Concorde's “distinctive droop nose”. He established “a thriving technical centre for the RAF's Hercules and TriStar fleets”, and diversified into space. Changing technology and MoD’s feast or famine procurement policies kept him juggling planes in mid-air - financially speaking - but his company always survived with aplomb.

He has recently died at 103.