Schneider Trophy special: Cowes, 1931
Just days after the 1929 victory, the Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir Hugh Trenchard, expressed his opposition to RAF involvement in the 1931 competition, citing it a waste of time, money, and effort. Two weeks later, the British cabinet decided not to enter an RAF team in the competition - the event was to be financed, organised and run privately.
There was a public outcry, followed by lengthy discussions and political battles. Eventually, Lady Houston - an “English benefactor, philanthropist, adventuress and patriot” - made a donation of £100,000 towards the contest, the RAF ban was overturned, and the contest was back on.
However, there were only nine months to prepare. The French were still working on aircraft, the Italians were still considering the S.65, and had another monster up their sleeve. Would there be enough time?
(Lady Houston died in 1936, at the age of 79. It is said that she was so upset by the Abdication Crisis that she stopped eating and died of a heart attack)