It turns out that Cody took his Wild West Show on tour to Europe, met an English woman, left his wife and became interested in kites, gliders and then on to aeroplanes. In 1907 the British Army decided to fund his design, the British Army Aeroplane No 1. It first flew on 16 October 1908 at Farnborough Airport.
The perceptive among you will notice that this was exactly 100 years ago yesterday, and a full size replica of the aeroplane was on show yesterday in Farnborough during celebrations to mark the first officially recognised powered flight in the British Isles.
There was a fly-past in Farnborough yesterday and that's how the story came to my notice. When we lived in the Hampshire countryside, we used to see the Farnborough fly-pasts free of charge because we were at some sort of turning point for the aircraft. Fortunately the Farnborough Airshow happens only every two years and lasts only a week.
Cody died testing a new aeroplane on 7 August 1913. 50,000 people attended his funeral procession in Aldershot.
In Loving Memory of
SAMUEL FRANKLIN CODY
Aviator and inventor
who was killed while flying
over Laffan's Plain
on the 7th August 1913.
One final interesting fact, Cody was the great-grandfather of John Simpson (John Cody Fidler-Simpson) from the BBC. John Simpson was born in Cleveleys in Lancashire. I once lived near there too!