Sir Alan John Cobham (1894-1973), Pioneer aviator
Sitter in 25 portraits
Cobham joined the Royal Flying Corps aged twenty-three in 1917. After the war he worked for de Havilland as a test pilot, and made his name in long-distance flights to Cape Town, Rangoon and Australia, establishing air routes for Imperial Airways. In the 1930s he pioneered the development of in-flight refuelling, and set up a company to exploit the possibilities. As a taxi-pilot giving commercial 'joyrides', and through the air display company he set up in 1934, he spread interest in aviation and contributed to the popularisation of air travel.