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Harold Boultbee

(1886 - 1967)

Harold Dalton Boultbee was born 1886 in Eaton, Yorkshire, the son of Henry Travis Boultbee and Mary Augusta (née Dalton). He graduated from Queens College, Cambridge in 1908 and in 1909, along with James Gardiner of Woolton, Liverpool, designed a single seat, midwing monoplane. The undercarriage was to be retractable in flight and was covered by patent No. 17291/1909. The partners separated and work on the machine was stopped at an advanced stage.

In 1913, Boultbee worked as a draughstman under Henri Coanda at Bristol. Following World War I he went to work for the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where, in 1920, he designed the advanced Unibus scooter.

In 1923 Boultbee joined Handley Page as assistant chief draughtsman under George Volkhert, where his first job was to redesign the Sayers S.C.W. light plane into the H.P.22 and H.P.23 for the 1923 Lympne trials. From there he worked on most Handley Page designs up to the initial layouts for the H.P.42.

Starting in 1926 Boultbee, along with Handley Page apprentice Arthur P. Hunt, began designing a two seat cabin monoplane in their spare time. Resigning from Handley Page in 1929 along with Hunt, Boultbee formed Civilian Aircraft at Burton-on- Trent (later at Hull) with the aim of developing the Coupe two seat cabin monoplane. The first machine was far from a success and, although the second aircraft was much improved, the recession and personnel problems caused Civilian to go into voluntary liquidation in the summer of 1933.

Following the closure of Civilian aircraft, Boultbee was at first employed as chief designer of British Klemm, where he was responsible for the redesign of the original Klemm L.25 into the Swallow I. Following this, in 1934 he went to Pobjoy Airmotors and Aircraft at Rochester, where he was responsible for the design of the Pobjoy Pirate.

During world War II Boultbee was with the de Havilland design department at Hatfield, eventually retiring to Rolleston-on-Dove, Staffs, where he died in August 1967.

Production References
  1. Flight 4 September 1967
  2. British Aircraft Before The Great War, Michael H. Goodall and Albert E. Tagg (Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001)
  3. British Light Aeroplanes, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (GMS Enterprises, 2000)
  4. Handley Page Aircraft Since 1907, C.H. Barnes (Putnam, 1976)
  5. Motor Scooters, Michael Webster (Osprey Publishing, 2007)

V1.4.0 Created by Roger Moss. Last updated July 2019