Stanley Seward Halse
By Lawrence Milner
Stan Halse was the Chairman and Flying Instructor at the Johannesburg Light Plane Club (JLPC) from 1929-1937. He was a founding member together with Rod Douglas, seen below running up the Percival Mew Gull ZS-AHO named “Baragwanath” in honour of his home aerodrome on September 15th, 1936 at Gravesend U.K. which was entered for the Schlesinger, Portsmouth to Rand Airport Race.
The colour scheme for this aircraft was Titanine pillar-box red overall with the lettering and the name in gold. Two of his pupils, Mr. ‘Rex’ Hull and Sir George Albu, put up the funds for the purchase of this aircraft from Percival’s factory at Gravesend.
This ‘Mew Gull’ was one of three entered for the race, the other entries were Major Allister Miller in ZS-AHM and Tom Campbell Black in G-AEKL.
Unfortunately Tom Campbell Black was killed at Speke Airport when a Hawker ‘Hart’ ran into him and sliced into his cockpit with its propeller.
Major Miller was forced to abandon the race at Belgrade owing to a faulty fuel feed.
Of the nine entrants to the race, only one succeeded in finishing – which was a Percival Vega Gull flown by Scott and Guthrie.
Stan Halse, who was well ahead of the race, attempted a landing in a field just outside Salisbury, Rhodesia in order to establish his position, not perceiving that it had been ploughed and the clods of earth jammed his wheels causing the plane to flip on its back and hurling Stan Halse through the cockpit and breaking his collar bone – he was hospitalized for two weeks.
Stan Halse’s Percival Mew Gull was powered by a Gipsy Six Series 2 – 205 HP engine with a two bladed 7ft diameter de Havilland variable pitch propeller.