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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.