|Ron here recalls PWS ‘George’ Bulman – who was Hawker Chief Test Pilot from 1925 to 1945. From 1935 he was also a Hawker Director and one of the most influential people in the company.
But we were talking about George Bulman and I wondered if you could just tell me what you remember about George. You said he was a gentleman…
He was a dapper gentleman. He was always immaculately dressed as I remember it. And he – well the only way you can describe it is an absolute Victorian type gentleman. But he always had a smile on his face, that I can remember, and everybody respected him. I know the Government respected him because I’m certain that during the war he was chosen to go to the ‘States’ to vet aircraft suitable for the RAF and to test fly them out there.
So the Government was actually looking for American aircraft presumably.
Yes. This is what I have been told. And he went out to the ‘States’ to vet the aircraft – various aircraft that he would say either they were suitable or not suitable. And he was a very well respected man in the aviation industry.
He seems to have been a very popular person within the company.
He was – oh! yeah, yeah.. He was great – that’s all I …
Alright I will give you a little antidote (anecdote). When he got to know that I was leaving to join the Air Force – how he got to know I don’t know.
I was called into his office and he said, “Well son,” he said, ” I understand you are going into the RAF?” I said, “Yes sir.” He said, “Right, don’t forget” he said, “When you’ve learnt to fly” he said, “You come down here and you shoot us up” he said, “And you will be made welcome.”
And I can always remember that he got out of his chair and he came up to me, embraced me and patted me on the back. Now that to me was something ‘out of this world’ as a lad – well I was seventeen then. But no – that’s the type of gentleman that he was.
He did have some of these very gentlemanly traits, didn’t he …
Oh, yes, yes.
He always used to fly with his Trilby hat on I think.
Don’t believe that. Not always. When he – he always- when he flew the Hurricanes, to my knowledge, he always flew with flying helmet and goggles and had his intercom lead ready to stick in.
No -That I think came from when – we had an aircraft there G-ABMR which was what they used as a com flight, you know the local taxi for them.
Yes this was their run around.
This was their run around. Yes he would wear a trilby in that – but he used to keep his head down in the cockpit so it don’t get blown off. Yes he was a great man.
He got his nickname – because George was a nickname wasn’t it, I believe it was because…
He was always known as George – I never knew him as anything else. He was always referred to within the company as far as I know as Mr George Bulman. Whether it was his nickname or not I don’t know.
I think yes it was because his initials were actually PWS and I don’t know what they stand for. But I believe he got his nickname because he was always saying ‘By George’. ‘By George’ was a favourite expression of his. So at some point obviously …
It stuck, yes.
Yes – oh! Great man.