Halford, Frank Bernard 1894 - 1955

English; British

(1894-1955), aircraft engine designer

Major Frank Bernard Halford was born in Nottingham and after attending Felsted School, proceeded to Nottingham University. Just before the first world war he became a flying instructor with the Bristol School of Flying at Brooklands.

Following a short period as engine examiner for the A.I.D. in the first year of that war, he served for the remainder in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force, being later lent, in 1919, to William Beardmore and Co., Ltd., as engine designer. The Beardmore-Halford-Pullinger (B.H.P.) six-cylinder engine was developed during this period. He became associated with Ricardo and Co. later that year, first representing them in America and later as an engine designer in London.

In 1923 he set up on his own as design consultant and from 1924 to 1927 was engine designer to A.D.C. Aircraft, Ltd., and consultant engineer to Vickers, Ltd. In 1927, however, he joined the design staff of de Havilland Company, where he stayed for eight years until joining D. Napier and Son, Ltd., as technical director. During these various appointments he was responsible for a whole family of outstanding petrol engines, including the "Airdisco," "Cirrus," "Gipsy" and "Nimbus" , and later the Napier "H" block engines," Rapier," "Dagger, and "Sabre."

In 1944 the de Havilland Engine Company was formed as a separate company under his direction and the manufacture of the "Goblin" and "Ghost" centrifugal turbo-jet engines, and the design of the supersonic jet engine, the "Gyron" established.

Halford was appointed C.B.E. for his contributions to aeronautics in 1948. In 1927 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a member of council in 1949, and president in 1951. He died suddenly at his home in Sandy Lane, Northwood, Middlesex, on April 16th 1955, aged 61.