Published by Jim Dale · 30 August 2014 at 11:49Captain Sydney Pickels from Marrickville.
Sydney Pickels was born 17th June, 1894 in Marrickville suburban Sydney, New South Wales, Australia to Mendelssohn Pickels and Lily Louise Edmunds, he appears quite a few times in the story of Harry Hawker, we know that he worked for Short Bothers engineering as a test pilot haveing travelled to England in 1912. He gained his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No 263 on 30 July 1912. In 1913 he broke the altitude record of 6,100 feet in a Bleriot XI mono plane. During Harry Hawker and Harry Kauper’s attempt on the round Britain race in 1913 Sydney Pickels stood in for Harry Hawker on one of the legs on loan from Short Bothers. It also appears that he had also worked for the Blackburn and Fairey aviation Companies up till 1914.
When World War I started Sydney Pickels volunteered for service or well may have been in the special Navy reserve like Harry Busteed, becoming officer in the RoyalNaval Air Service. Sydney was involved in U-Boat patrols in the English Channel and some of the first raids over Germany, based at Eastchurch a training facility on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. Attaining the rank of captain, however by July 1915 he had resigned his commission.
Whatever he was doing after that period he was still involved in the aviation industry more likely with Short Bros who were still dealing with the Royal Naval Air Service and supplying aircraft, Shorts invented the swinging wings for aircraft carrier aircraft. The rights to the patient were sold to Tom Sopwith for £100, however, that was the only royalties that Shorts gained from Sopwith.
Sydney finally appears at the inaugural meeting of H G Hawker engineering at the Savoy London with Harry Hawker and Tom Sopwith in 1920 and I would assume he was still in London when Harry Hawker died in 1921. There is one mention that he did return to Sydney for a few years trying to get into the still small time aviation industry in Australia, with little success.
The next time that Sydney Pickels appears is in British Columbia Canada and started the Victoria flying club where he trained pilots until it is plane was involved in a crash flown by one of his students. From then it appears he only repaired aircraft and had a engine servicing buisness. In 1951 he was elected to the first municipal Council of Central Saanich, British Colombia. Sydney died in 1975 in Victoria British Columbia where his family still lives today.
It is unfortunate that there is very little record of him in the history of aviation and what records there are in British Columbia are only accessible directly. I would really like to finish the story of Sydney Pickles and his relationship with Harry Hawker and Commander Kenneth Mackenzie Grieve.
Name: PICKLES, SYDNEY Gender:Male Age: 81 Date: 1975/11/23 Event Place: VICTORIA Registration Number: 1975-09-017395 Event Type: Death
Vital Stat Images(s): 004479355_00518.jpg
Flight International - Volume 68 - Page 119The first pilot engaged was Sydney Pickles, who was testing the Fairey-built Shorts at F. King, M.B.E. Hamble late in 1915.
The Challenging Skies: The Colorful Story of Aviation's Most Exciting Years, 1919-1939Page 9
the Seabird, with J. A. Peters as pilot; and a Fairey seaplane with variable-camber wings, whose pilot was Sidney Pickles
The Aeronautical Journal - Volume 60 - Page 765Short Brothers gave their late chief engineer a splendid start by giving the Company its first real job, to build a dozen Short seaplanes, which were flown in the first instance by Sidney Pickles, who thus became the firm's first test pilot.
Denver Tribune, Thursday, August 28, 1913, Page 6
The hydroaeroplane race for $25,000 around the coasts of England and Scotland, has been halted. Harry G; Hawker was forced to quit on account of illness'. His substitute, Sydney Pickels, was unable to get his machine in the air.
Sydney Pickles, who had been living in Victoria, B.C. died Sunday, November 23, 1975.He was born in Sydney, Australia June 17, 1894He went to England in early 1912 to learn to fly and he successfully passed the tests for his English FAI certificate No. 263.In 1913 he passed more official tests and obtained Superior Certificate No. 8.He joined the Royal Naval Air Service at the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and took part in submarine patrol over the North Sea and raids over the continent.He also trained other pilots for the war effort.After one year he resigned his commission and returned to civilian life as a test pilot for the British Admiralty.In 1919 he received Air Ministry License No. 9.After the war he returned to Australia taking with him his own plane, a "Jenny" with which he established many "firsts' in that country.In 1925 Sydney moved to Victoria, B.C. and organized the Victoria Aero Club.He was the Chief Instructor until one of the members smashed the plane in an accident.This really finished Sydney's flying career as he could not afford to purchase another plane.
http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Sydney_PicklesSydney PicklesEarly Australian aviator (1894-1975)
Chief test pilot for Short Brothers, Blackburn Aeroplane Co., Fairey Aviation Co., Flight Lieut. British Royal Navy, 1914; pilot on air mail survey flights in Australia in 1920, instructor Victoria Aero Club, 1928.
Pickles in a spin
Mr Sydney Pickles was testing one of the 38-type Short machines.The biplane has a 50hp Gnome engine, with the propeller behind the mainplanes. At a height of 3,500ft the engine stopped, but Mr Pickles brought themachine down safely by a series of left and right spirals.
Sydney Pickles, who had been living in Victoria, B.C. died Sunday, November 23, 1975. He was born in Sydney, Australia June 17, 1894
He went to England in early 1912 to learn to fly and he successfully passed the tests for his English FAI certificate No. 263. In 1913 he passed more official tests and obtained Superior Certificate No. 8.
He joined the Royal Naval Air Service at the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and took part in submarine patrol over the North Sea and raids over the continent. He also trained other pilots for the war effort. After one year he resigned his commission and returned to civilian life as a test pilot for the British Admiralty. In 1919 he received Air Ministry License No. 9.
After the war he returned to Australia taking with him his own plane, a "Jenny" with which he established many "firsts' in that country.
In 1925 Sydney moved to Victoria, B.C. and organized the Victoria Aero Club. He was the Chief Instructor until one of the members smashed the plane in an accident. This really finished Sydney's flying career as he could not afford to purchase another plane.
After this he headed up a program through which appliances of various kinds were loaned without cost to handicapped persons. For this work he was named Citizen of the Year.
He is survived by his wife, Adelaide, two sons and five grandchildren.