Historic lots recall past of aviator Cody

Sam Cody.
Sam Cody.
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RARE archive material from a pioneering air show staged in South Yorkshire more than a century ago will go under the auctioneer’s hammer today.

The auction lot features a collection of documents and photos relating to famous aviator Sam Cody, who was so keen to compete at the Doncaster Air Show of 1909 - the first staged in Britain - that he changed his nationality. The American wanted the prize for the first one-mile flight completed by a Briton, so in a blaze of publicity he signed British naturalisation papers in front of a crowd and a phalanx of press photographers.

A lawyer’s bill for the process is among the artefacts being sold at Bonham’s auction house in Oxford today, with an estimate of £800 to £1,200.

Unfortunately for Cody his bid for glory was ruined when he crashed his plane while flying too low before completing a circuit of the course.

The collection also includes the bill for repairs to his plane, photographs from the air display at Doncaster Racecourse and a 16-page souvenir of the show.

There’s the menu from the Doncaster Mansion House banquet held in honour of the aviators and his solicitor’s invoice for his naturalisation.