In 1911 the Scottish Aviation Company opened a flying school in Barrhead in the vicinity of Aurs Road. One of its directors was Walter G. Duncan of Glasgow; the instructor was R.W. Philpott from Devon. The only two people trained were two army officers: Major Forsyth, who was killed at Mons leading his battalion into action and Lieutenant Warren of the Black Watch, who was killed in 1917 in a flying accident in West Africa. The company ceased operation in 1912 after a disastrous fire.

Flying really became popular after World War I, especially the Flying Circus. Sir Wallace Fairweather, a chairman of Renfrew County, had an Avro Avian plane in a field at King Henry's Know, Newton Mearns. Both Douglas Fairweather and his wife were killed in plane accidents in 1944; they had been flying for Air Transport Auxiliary for about 4 years. Douglas was asked to bring a seriously wounded Canadian soldier from the Northern airfield to the South for an operation. The weather was very bad but he went nonetheless with a nursing Sister; they never arrived. Later Douglas's body washed up on the shore. His wife died shortly afterward in an emergency landing.

Perhaps the most famous person of all connected to flight was Viscount Weir who became Secretary of State for the R.A.F. and who lived in Eastwood House.

Rudolph Hess

On 11th May 1941 a "Messerschmitt 110" German Fighter Bomber plane was reported crashed in a field in the vicinity of Floors Farm, Eaglesham. Investigation by the Police and the Army who arrived swiftly at the scene revealed that the German pilot, who had landed by parachute near Eaglesham House, was none other than Deputy Fuhrer Rudolph Hess. The reason for his visit to Scotland is still under debate; some historians believe he had hoped to meet the Duke of Hamilton to discuss a possible peace deal. Other theories include one that the man caught was not Hess at all, but a body double. Hess flew a Messerschmitt 110 from Hanover.

Whatever the reason for his visit, the man believed to be Hess was captured and imprisoned until the end of the War. At his trial at Nuremberg he was sentenced to life imprisonment in Spandau Prison, Berlin, eventually committing suicide there in 1987.


Douglas-Hamilton, J. (1971) Motive for a Mission: The Story Behind Rudolph Hess's Flight to Britain

Douglas-Hamilton, J. The Truth about Rudolph Hess.

Hutton, J.B. (1971) Hess: The Man and HIs Mission. New York: MacMillan & Co.

Lundy, I. (2005) Flying under the clouds of the Hess mystery flight [online]. [Accessed 23rd May 2006]. [Available from World Wide Web; see Scotsman link in the external links area on this page].

Nesbit, R. C. and Acker, G. V. The Flight of Rudolf Hess: Myths and Reality

Padfield, P. Hess: Flight for the Führer Hitler's Deputy, Rudolph Hess, crash-lands in a Scottish field (1941)

Reported statement by Hess (1941) [originally published in The Scotsman on 15/05/1941]