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James Hargrave 12-04-2018 06:03 AM

My Great Grandfather's Propeller
4 Attachment(s)
Good morning from London,

I have recently come into possession of a propeller that my Great Grand Father (William Gibbs) was given in WWI. The family story, though hazy, is that he crashed his plane in 1917 and was given it as a souvenir.

He was a Sopwith Camel pilot, though this doesn't appear to be from one.

I'm assuming the JN4 is the key?

AD 543 RH
D2520 P1580

Lucraft & Westcott Ltd (London)

I'm hoping you might be able to help me in confirming the plane model.

Secondly, if anyone has any advice on how I might be able to research the 'crash'? Would it be on record?



Dbahnson 12-04-2018 07:16 AM

Your assumptions are correct. It's clearly stamped for the Jenny and its correction engine (Curtiss OX5).

The Jenny was used as a trainer only and was not fitted for combat. Generally speaking the propeller sustains damage in almost any kind of crash, so if this one is completely intact it may well have been given to him unrelated to his crash. You almost certainly won't find any information trying to track history of the propeller itself and would need to search for any records relating directly to your great grandfather, although even that may be a long shot.

It looks to be in excellent original condition. I think you'd be wise to keep it in the family and not alter it in any way (other than a gentle cleaning and protection with high quality beeswax).

James Hargrave 12-04-2018 08:14 AM

Thank you Dbahnson,

That's really helpful. Yes I suspected it may be difficult to get further details. But thought it was worth asking.

I'm certainly going to dig more into his record.

Yes it is in very good condition considering it's been sat in a garage for decades. It's missing a couple of chunks off the back (which you can't really see in the pic).

I certainly intend to keep it in the family, now I've got my hands on it.

In terms of 'restoration', the advice I've had so far is a light clean with white spirit and then a light clear wax to rejuvenate it a bit. Do say so if that sounds like bad advice!

All the best,


Dbahnson 12-04-2018 08:54 AM

I'd stay away from the white spirits completely (some solvents can dissolve the existing finish), and it's worth getting a high quality beeswax to coat it. Some good advice from Bob Gardner on this sticky thread, and he does discuss the best beeswax somewhere else on this forum. I just don't have time now to look it up but if you click on his name on the thread I've referenced and click "Find more posts by Bob Gardner) you might find it, I think within the last year or so.

James Hargrave 12-04-2018 10:03 AM

Really appreciate it, thanks for your time.

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