The history of Wing Commander Ken Wallis

Ken Wallis On Little Nelly Names after the war time air craft. Ken flow this aircraft in the James Bond Movies and kept flying her till he passed away in September 2013
Ken Wallis On Little Nelly Names after the war time air craft. Ken flow this aircraft in the James Bond Movies and kept flying her till he passed away in September 2013

Born on the 26th of April 1916 Kenneth Horatio Wallis was born in Ely which is located in the county of Cambridgeshire, which is in the east of England.

He was a keen inventor, a fantastic British aviator and an engineer. At only the age of 11 Ken had a curious interest in Mechanics, extraordinarily building a motorcycle at this very young age. He was first inspired by flying when watching a demonstration by Henri Mignet of his marvellous “Mignet HM. 14” more commonly known as the “Flying Flea.” Ken was intrigued and wanted to build one for himself but was later put off when hearing of the amount of fatal accidents the poorly designed flying machines had caused.

Ken flying again with no hands as he often did to show how stable the auto gyro was
Ken flying again with no hands as he often did to show how stable the auto gyro was

When war broke out Ken was determined to help his country therefore joining the Royal Air Force, completing 28 bomber bomber missions over Germany and serving an extraordinary 25 years spanning from 1939-1964. Later being ranked as a Wing Commander for his senior expertise and strong leadership qualities. 

The Wallis designed rota
The Wallis designed rota

After he cut ties with the RAF he moved on to producing Gyrocopters, contributing to the design including the “offset gimbal rotor head” changing the design forever, these were all being produced by “Wallis Autogyros LTD” which was run by his cousin Geoff Wallis.

Advert for Wallis autogyro
Advert for Wallis autogyro

And in 1967 Wallis was selected to be Sean Connery’s stunt pilot in the James Bond film “you only live twice” flying his signature Autogyro ” Little Nellie ” which required more than 80 action shots. From this camera experience in 2006 Wallis took part in filming “into the wind” which is a documentary on the memories and experiences of past war time bombers.

Ken loved to be in the papers and enjoyed showing people what the aircraft could do.....
Ken loved to be in the papers and enjoyed showing people what the aircraft could do….. and he even got honour for his war time work
Ken Flying over his county home in Norfolk
Ken Flying over his home in Norfolk

Over the years Wallis earned an incredible 34 world records for his work for gyrocopters, and in 1996 he received one of his proudest achievements receiving the MBE. And furthermore in July of 2013 he received a campaign medal for his heroic efforts in world war 2.

Ken outside his county home in Norfolk with one of the Auto Gyros design and built by him self
Ken outside his county home in Norfolk with one of the Auto Gyros design and built by him self

At the age of 97 he sadly passed away on the 1st of September 2013. A memorial service was held in Old Buckenhan Airport which an estimated 500 people would attend. But an extraordinary estimated 4000 people attended showing how many people’s lives he had positively effected from his brave efforts in the war to his keen intelligence as an inventor.

Old Buckenham Air Field where Ken was often flying
Old Buckenham Air Field where Ken was often flying