You are in site section: Exhibitions

Basil Watson

The Home Front: Australia during the First World War

Basil Watson, aviator

Basil Watson
Basil Watson, 1917. State Library of Victoria.

Basil Watson worked at the Sopwith Aviation Company in England from 1914 to 1916. He returned to Melbourne when injuries sustained in a crash landing ended his dreams of joining the Royal Flying Corps.

Using the Sopwith design, Watson constructed a single-seat biplane in the billiard room of his parents’ house. On 9 December 1916 he flew from Point Cook to Bendigo in a remarkable 80 minutes. He gave demonstrations across Victoria and enthralled onlookers with nosedives and loop-the-loops. Watson was killed in 1917 when a wing of his plane buckled and he crashed into Port Phillip Bay.

More

News of Watson's death in the Bendigonian on the Trove website

Rotary aero engine from Watson's aircraft, Museum Victoria website

Propeller from Watson's aircraft, Museum Victoria website

Basil Watson in his partially completed aeroplane, 1917.
Basil Watson in his partially completed aeroplane, 1916. State Library of Victoria.