Owen Baldwin

IntroBritish flying ace
Was Flying ace 
From United Kingdom 
Type Military 
Birth 21 February 1893 
, Twyford, Wokingham, Berkshire, South East England
Death 12 January 1942 

(aged 48 years)

Captain Owen Morgan Baldwin DFC* was a British World War I flying ace credited with 16 aerial victories. Post-war he was a successful professional motorcycle racer, and for a time holder of the official motorcycle land-speed record.

World War I

Baldwin was a mechanical engineer in civilian life. He joined No. 73 Squadron RAF, which was tasked with ground support missions, and became a flight leader as well as the squadron’s leading ace. His most notable day in action was 15 September 1918, when he scored five victories by destroying two German Fokker D.VIIs and an observation plane, and driving down two more D.VIIs out of control. His victory roll is notable for having only three “soft” victories scored by driving an enemy down instead of destroying him.

Baldwin was confirmed in rank as a Flying Officer, effective 7 March 1925. He was also in service during World War II; he was commissioned a Flying Officer in the RAF Reserve on 12 December 1939.

Honours and awards

    Motorcycle racer

    Post-war Baldwin became one of the first professional motorcycle racers. He competed twice in the Isle of Man TT Senior Race, riding a Martin in 1921, but failing to finish, and riding a Rudge in 1922 and coming 14th. He eventually found fame riding a Zenith V twin at Brooklands, competing in solo and sidecar races ranging from a single lap to 500 miles. He also competed in hillclimbing events, setting a record time at the Kop Hill event in Princes Risborough on a Matchless-MAG in 1923, and coming second in 1925. He was awarded the Brooklands Gold Star Medal for completing a lap at an average speed over 100 mph (160 km/h) in 1927, and competed in the Brooklands 200 mile race four times between 1925 and 1929, winning once, and coming third three times. Baldwin’s greatest achievement came at Arpajon in 1928 when riding his Zenith-JAP he became the first man to ride a measured kilometre at an average speed of over 200 km/h (120 mph), taking the official FIM motorcycle land-speed record.

    In 1923 Baldwin entered into a partnership with Edward Alexander Burney of Burney & Blackburne to form to the company Burney, Baldwin & Co. Ltd.. The company manufactured high-quality motorcycles, but was wound up in 1927.