Short Knuckleduster

The Short R.24/31 was a British twin-engined, high-wing cantilever gull winged monoplane flying-boat designed and built by Short to Air Ministry specification R.24/31 for a "General Purpose Open Sea Patrol Flying Boat". The contract specified the use of the experimental Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine; the Saunders-Roe London and the Supermarine Stranraer competed for this contract. Although it never saw military service, the Knuckleduster provided useful information on the steam-cooling of engines and the handling of monoplane flying-boats; the British Air Ministry issued its Specification R.24/31 for a "General Purpose Open Sea Patrol Flying Boat" in 1931 and ordered one prototype from each of Saunders-Roe and Shorts. Whereas the other two companies opted for traditional biplane designs, Shorts decided to produce a more modern, all-metal monoplane aircraft with the experimental steam-cooled, cast block Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine, itself a development of the smaller Kestrel engine; the Knuckleduster's straight-sided hull was of all-metal box-section construction, from the bow as far as the pointed main step at the rear of the planing bottom.

The central section of the hull was boxed and braced by diagonal frames to bear the loads from the wing-root attachments. The wing sections inboard of the engines were attached at a 30° dihedral angle, thus providing sufficient clearance for the airscrews from water-spray during takeoff; the wings were designed for high torsional stiffness, each comprising a box-spar with four tapered stainless steel tubular booms. Fuel tanks were mounted within the wings; the wing surfaces were of fabric. The experimental 720 hp Rolls-Royce Goshawk steam-cooled engine was specified for the "Knuckleduster," which led to many problems due to the engine's unreliability; the engines, with conspicuous condensers protruding vertically from the nacelles, were mounted at the "knuckle" between the dihedral inner and the horizontal outer wing sections. The tail unit comprised a horizontal plane braced by struts with two vertical fins and rudders supported by diagonal bracing to the fuselage; as a result of early test results, fin area was increased.

In addition to the enclosed cockpit in which the pilot and the navigator sat side by side, there was a gunner's cockpit in the bow, stations for the engineer and radio operator and a navigator station with a chart-table, sighting ports and two folding bunks. A third folding bunk and two fixed bunks were mounted in the crew's living quarters, which included a galley and, further aft, stowage space for drogues and a lavatory. Further armament was provided by a rear gunner's cockpit in the tail. All guns mountings carried a single Lewis Gun. First launched the previous day, the first flight of the prosaically named R.24/31 took place on 30 November 1933, piloted by Shorts' Chief Test Pilot John Lankester Parker and crewed by George Cotton and W. Howard Bell. Parker noted. After the fins had stiffening added, the aircraft flew again on 15 December. Other problems found during testing were that the boat could not be trimmed straight and level: the fin area was increased by 18% and the tail was re-designed, including fitting a cupola over the tail gun position.

On 12 June 1934, at the conclusion of test flying, the Knuckleduster was flown to Felixstowe for official trials with the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment. The aircraft was judged not to meet the specification regarding top speed and range though these were not a priority in the specification. In October 1934 the boat was returned to Rochester for repair following an accident - a collision with another flying-boat, it was repaired and several modification incorporated before it returned to Felixstowe in March 1935. In April the Knuckleduster joined 209 Squadron at RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth for service trials alongside the Stranraer and London; this included an appearance at the Royal Air Force display at Hendon. It was returned to the MAEE in October 1935. Despite suffering engine problems, it continued to carry out trial flights until September 1938, when it was retired from flying duties and assigned to No. 2 School of Technical Training at RAF Cosford for instructional purposes.

Although it was not ordered into production - hindered by the unreliable engines - a new Air Ministry Specification R.2/33 was released before it flew, which would lead to the Short Sunderland. The Sunderland was another large monoplane flying-boat that had benefited from the work on the R.24/31. United KingdomRoyal Air Force No. 209 Squadron RAF Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment Data from Shorts Aircraft since 1900 General characteristics Crew: 5 Length: 63 ft 3 in Wingspan: 90 ft 0 in Height: 19 ft 6 in Wing area: 1,147 sq ft Airfoil: Göttingen 436 Empty weight: 11,720 lb Gross weight: 18,500 lb Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Goshawk VIII steam-cooled V12 engines, 775 hp each Propellers: 2-bladed wooden, 12 ft 6 in diameter Performance Maximum speed: 150 mph Range: 1,040 mi Service ceiling: 15,500 ft Rate of climb: 800 ft/min Armament Guns: 3 x Le

Cynewulf of Wessex

Cynewulf was the King of Wessex from 757 until his death in 786. He ruled for about 29 years, he was a direct male descendant of Cerdic. Cynewulf became king after his predecessor, was deposed, he may have come to power under the influence of Æthelbald of Mercia, since he was recorded as a witness to a charter of Æthelbald shortly thereafter. However, it was not long before Æthelbald was assassinated and as a consequence, Mercia fell into a brief period of disorder as rival claimants to its throne fought. Cynewulf took the opportunity to assert the independence of Wessex: in about 758 he took Berkshire from the Mercians. Cynewulf was often at war with the Welsh. In 779, Cynewulf was defeated by the new King of Mercia, Offa, at the Battle of Bensington, Offa retook Berkshire, also London. Despite this defeat, there is no evidence to suggest. In 786, Cynewulf was the victim of a surprise attack at his mistress's house in Merton by Cyneheard, brother of the deposed Sigeberht. Both Cynewulf and Cyneheard were killed.

Cynewulf was buried at Winchester. Entry for the year 755 AD in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle A. D. 755. This year Cynewulf, with the consent of the West-Saxon council, deprived Sebright, his relative, for unrighteous deeds, of his kingdom, except Hampshire. Cynewulf drove him to the forest of Andred, where he remained, until a swain stabbed him at Privett river, revenged the alderman, Cumbra; the same Cynewulf fought many hard battles with the Britons. But he having understood that the king was gone, thinly attended, on a visit to a lady at Merton, rode after him, beset him therein; when the king found this, he went out of doors, defended himself with courage. Were they all fighting against the king, until they had slain him; the king's warriors were alerted by the woman's cries to the tumult and, whosoever became ready fastest, ran to where the king lay slain. The etheling offered them life and riches; when the king's thanes that were behind heard in the morning that the king was slain, they rode to the spot, Osric his alderman, Wiverth his thane, the men that he had left behind previously.

The gates, were locked against them, which they attempted to force. To which they answered, that no relative could be dearer to them than their lord, that they would never follow his murderer, they offered that their relatives may have safe passage. They replied, that the same request was made to their comrades that were with the king, they continued fighting at the gates, till they penetrated it, slew the etheling and all the men that were with him. This same Cynewulf reigned thirty winters, his body lies at Winchester, that of the etheling at Axminster. Their proper paternal ancestry goes in a direct line to Cerdic. House of Wessex family tree Cynewulf 4 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England