1933: The First Flight over Mount Everest was Made by a Marquis

1933: The First Flight over Mount Everest was Made by a Marquis
Photo Credit To http://www.602squadronmuseum.org.uk/images/history/everest1.jpg

The Marquis of Clydesdale, who was the first in history to fly over Mount Everest, is also known by his role in the later incident with Rudolf Hess – Hitler’s Deputy Führer.

On this day in 1933, for the first time in history, a flight over the world’s highest peak – Mount Everest – was accomplished. It was an ambitious flight led by the Marquis of Clydesdale, a very interesting British nobleman and aristocrat. His full name was Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, and he came from one of the most distinguished Scottish families. Namely, the Douglas – Hamilton family still holds the title of the highest seniority in Scotland – that of the Duke of Hamilton. The mentioned Marquis of Clydesdale was the eldest son of the 13th Duke of Hamilton and during his father’s life had the honorary title of “Marquis of Douglas and Clydesdale”, but it was shortened to simply “Marquis of Clydesdale” or even “Lord Clydesdale”.

He flew over Mount Everest in a Westland PV-3 aircraft. It was a biplane with a Bristol Pegasus radial engine of 630 hp, with 9 cylinders and around 28,000 cc.

Of course, Mount Everest is 8,848 meters high, and at this altitude the air is thin, which presents a problem for breathing. The flight over Mount Everest pointed out the need for pressurized cabins (which did not exist before then).

The Marquis of Clydesdale later inherited the ducal title from his father, so he became the 14th Duke of Hamilton, and also received the rank of Air Commodore. He had an interesting role in the incident with Rudolf Hess – Hitler’s Deputy Führer (Stellvertreter des Führers). Namely, Hess was once one of Hitler’s closest associates (they even shared a prison cell at one time), but during World War II they had a difference in opinions. Hess believed that Germany should not wage war against the British, so he, on his own accord, flew a plane into a makeshift “peace mission” to Britain. He parachuted over Scotland and sought a meeting with the Duke of Hamilton (formerly Marquis of Clydesdale). He wanted the Duke, who was his fellow airman, to arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Churchill. Indeed, the Duke informed Churchill, who refused any negotiations with Hess. As a matter a fact, Hess was put in jail and remained in captivity for the rest of his life.

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