|Birth Day:||September 26, 1887|
|Death Date:||30 October 1979(1979-10-30) (aged 92)
|Birth Place:||Ripley, British|
|#3||Mary Eyre Wallis||Children||N/A||N/A||N/A|
As per our current Database, Barnes Wallis died on 30 October 1979(1979-10-30) (aged 92)
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
Barnes Wallis was born in Ripley, Derbyshire, to Charles William George Robinson Wallis (1859–1945) and his wife Edith Eyre Wallis née Ashby (1859–1911). He was educated at Christ's Hospital in Horsham and Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham Boys' Grammar School in southeast London, leaving school at seventeen to start work in January 1905 at Thames Engineering Works at Blackheath, southeast London. He subsequently changed his apprenticeship to J. Samuel White's, the shipbuilders based at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. He originally trained as a marine engineer and in 1922 he took a degree in engineering via the University of London External Programme.
He left J. Samuel White's in 1913 when an opportunity arose for him as an aircraft designer, at first working on airships and later aeroplanes. He joined Vickers – later part of Vickers-Armstrongs and then part of the British Aircraft Corporation – and worked for them until his retirement in 1971. There he worked on the Admiralty's first rigid airship HMA No. 9r under H. B. Pratt, helping to nurse it though its political stop-go career and protracted development. The first airship of his own design, the R80, incorporated many technical innovations and flew in 1920.
Wallis appears as a fictionalized character in Stephen Baxter's The Time Ships (though its birthdate is not the same, 1883 instead of 1887, since he says he was eight when the Time Traveller first used his machine), the authorised sequel to The Time Machine. He is portrayed as a British engineer in an alternate history, where the First World War does not end in 1918, and Wallis concentrates his energies on developing a machine for time travel. As a consequence, it is the Germans who develop the bouncing bomb.
In April 1922, Wallis met his cousin-in-law, Molly Bloxam, at a family tea party. She was 17 and he was 34, and her father forbade them from courting. However, he allowed Wallis to assist Molly with her mathematics courses by correspondence, and they wrote some 250 letters, enlivening them with fictional characters such as "Duke Delta X". The letters gradually became personal, and Wallis proposed marriage on her 20th birthday. They were married on 23 April 1925, and remained so for 54 years until his death in 1979.
By the time he came to design the R100, the airship for which he is best known, in 1930 he had developed his revolutionary geodetic construction (also known as geodesic), which he applied to the gasbag wiring. He also pioneered, along with John Edwin Temple, the use of light alloy and production engineering in the structural design of the R100. Nevil Shute Norway, later to become a writer under the name of Nevil Shute, was the chief calculator for the project, responsible for calculating the stresses on the frame.
Despite a better-than-expected performance and a successful return flight to Canada in 1930, the R100 was broken up following the crash near Beauvais in northern France of its "sister" ship, the R101 (which was designed and built by a team from the Government's Air Ministry). The later destruction of the Hindenburg led to the abandonment of airships as a mode of mass transport.
After the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe in 1939, Wallis saw a need for strategic bombing to destroy the enemy's ability to wage war and he wrote a paper entitled "A Note on a Method of Attacking the Axis Powers". Referring to the enemy's power supplies, he wrote (as Axiom 3): "If their destruction or paralysis can be accomplished they offer a means of rendering the enemy utterly incapable of continuing to prosecute the war". As a means to do this, he proposed huge bombs that could concentrate their force and destroy targets which were otherwise unlikely to be affected. Wallis's first super-large bomb design came out at some ten tonnes, far more than any current bomber could carry. Rather than drop the idea, this led him to suggest a plane that could carry it – the "Victory Bomber".
Having been dispersed with the Design Office from Brooklands to the nearby Burhill Golf Club in Hersham, after the Vickers factory was badly bombed in September 1940, Wallis returned to Brooklands in November 1945 as Head of the Vickers-Armstrongs Research & Development Department and was based in the former motor circuit's 1907 Clubhouse. Here he and his staff worked on many futuristic aerospace projects including supersonic flight and "swing-wing" technology (later used in the Panavia Tornado and other aircraft types). Following the terrible death toll of the aircrews involved in the Dambusters raid, he made a conscious effort never again to endanger the lives of his test pilots. His designs were extensively tested in model form, and consequently he became a pioneer in the remote control of aircraft.
Early in 1942, Wallis began experimenting with skipping marbles over water tanks in his garden, leading to his April 1942 paper "Spherical Bomb — Surface Torpedo". The idea was that a bomb could skip over the water surface, avoiding torpedo nets, and sink directly next to a battleship or dam wall as a depth charge, with the surrounding water concentrating the force of the explosion on the target.
The raid on these dams in May 1943 (Operation Chastise) was immortalised in Paul Brickhill's 1951 book The Dam Busters and the 1955 film of the same name. The Möhne and Eder dams were successfully breached, causing damage to German factories and disrupting hydro-electric power.
Wallis became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1945 and was knighted in 1968. Wallis also received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 1969.
Wallis was awarded £10,000 for his war work from the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors. His grief at the loss of so many airmen in the dams raid was such that Wallis donated the entire sum to his alma mater Christ's Hospital School in 1951 to allow them to set up the RAF Foundationers' Trust, allowing the children of RAF personnel killed or injured in action to attend the school. Around this time he also became an Almoner of Christ's Hospital.
In 1955 Wallis agreed to act as a consultant to the project to build the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia. Some of the ideas he suggested are the same as or closely related to the final design, including the idea of supporting the dish at its centre, the geodetic structure of the dish and the master equatorial control system. Unhappy with the direction it had taken, Wallis left the project halfway into the design study and refused to accept his £1,000 consultant's fee.
In the 1955 film The Dam Busters, Wallis was played by Michael Redgrave. Wallis's daughter Elisabeth played the camera technician in the water tank sequence.
Although he did not invent the concept, Wallis did much pioneering engineering work to make the swing-wing functional. He developed the wing-controlled aerodyne, a concept for a tailless aeroplane controlled entirely by wing movement with no separate control surfaces. His Wild Goose", designed in the late 1940s, was intended to use laminar flow, and alongside it he also worked on the Green Lizard cruise missile and the Heston JC.9 manned experimental aeroplane. The "Swallow" was a supersonic development of Wild Goose, designed in the mid-1950s, which could have been developed for either military or civil applications. Both Wild Goose and Swallow were flight tested as large (30 ft span) flying scale models, based at Predannack in Cornwall. However, despite very promising wind tunnel and model work, his designs were not adopted. Government funding for "Swallow" was cancelled in the round of cuts following the Sandys Defence White Paper in 1957, although Vickers continued model trials with some support from the RAE.
When he retired from aeronautical work in 1957, he was appointed Treasurer and Chairman of the Council of Almoners of Christ's Hospital, holding the post of Treasurer for nearly 13 years. During this time he oversaw its major reconstruction.
Wallis, and his development of the bouncing bomb are mentioned by Charles Gray in the 1969 film Mosquito Squadron.
A massive 19,533 square feet (1,814.7 m) Stratosphere Chamber (which was the world's largest facility of its type), was designed and built beside the Clubhouse by 1948 and became the focus for much R&D work under Wallis's direction in the 1950s and 1960s, including research into supersonic aerodynamics that contributed to the design of Concorde, before finally closing by 1980. This unique structure was restored at Brooklands Museum thanks to a grant from the AIM-Biffa Fund in 2013 and was officially reopened by Mary Stopes-Roe, Barnes Wallis' daughter, on 13 March 2014.
Currently, Barnes Wallis is 135 years, 0 months and 5 days old. Barnes Wallis will celebrate 136th birthday on a Tuesday 26th of September 2023.
Find out about Barnes Wallis birthday activities in timeline view here.