A Collection of Awards to the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Air Force

Date of Auction: 19th June 2013

Sold for £260

Estimate: £150 - £200

Pair: Temporary Captain H. J. Taplin, Royal Air Force, late Royal Flying Corps, an Aero Engine and Aeroplane Designer
British War and Victory Medals (2/Lieut. H. J. Taplin, R.F.C.), good very fine (2) £150-200


Harold John Taplin, who was born in Stoke Newington, London, in January 1891, was an aero engineer and designer by profession, working for the Empress Aviation Co. in Manchester until August 1916, when he was appointed a Probationary 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps. His company’s Works Manager was Charles Fletcher, an early aviator who numbered among his assistants John Alcock, afterwards Sir John, owing to his famous non-stop transatlantic flight with Arthur Brown in 1919. Embarked for France as an Engineer Officer in December 1916, Taplin returned to the Home Establishment to take his Aviator’s Certificate (No. 4483) in a Maurice Farman in April 1917, his service record noting that in addition to his qualifications in aero engine and aeroplane design and manufacture, he was also ‘proficient in aerial gunnery’. He ended the War with a staff appointment in the temporary rank of Captain at the Air Ministry, though he is believed to have served as a test pilot and instructor in the interim, and was demobilised in January 1919. Returning to his pre-hostilities profession as a designer, and working for Gerrand Industries Limited in London, a wide variety of his work was registered with the U.K. and U.S. Patent Offices in the 1920s and 1930s. He died in 1969; sold with research, including copied service record.