Wallis, Sir Barnes Neville

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b. 26 September 1887 Ripley, Derbyshire, England
d. 30 October 1979 Leatherhead, Surrey, England
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English aeronautical designer and inventor.
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Wallis was apprenticed first at Thames Engineering Works, and then, in 1908, at John Samuel White's shipyard at Cowes. In 1913, the Government, spurred on by the accelerating development of the German Zeppelins (see Zeppelin, Ferdinand von), ordered an airship from Vickers; Wallis was invited to join the design team. Thus began his long association with aeronautical design and with Vickers. This airship, and the R80 that followed it, were successfully completed, but the military lost interest in them.
In 1924 the Government initiated a programme for the construction of two airships to settle once and for all their viability for long-dis-tance air travel. The R101 was designed by a Government-sponsored team, but the R100 was designed by Wallis working for a subsidiary of Vickers. The R100 took off on 29 July 1930 for a successful round trip to Canada, but the R101 crashed on its first flight on 4 October, killing many of its distinguished passengers. The shock of this disaster brought airship development in Britain to an abrupt end and forced Wallis to direct his attention to aircraft.
In aircraft design, Wallis is known for his use of geodesic construction, which combined lightness with strength. It was applied first to the single-engined "Wellesley" and then the twin-en-gined "Wellington" bomber, which first flew in 1936. With successive modifications, it became the workhorse of RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War until the autumn of 1943, when it was replaced by four-engined machines. In other areas, it remained in service until the end of the war and, in all, no fewer than 11,461 were built.
Wallis is best known for his work on bomb design, first the bouncing bomb that was used to breach the Möhne and Eder dams in the Ruhr district of Germany in 1943, an exploit immortalized in the film Dambusters. Encouraged by this success, the authorities then allowed Wallis to realize an idea he had long urged, that of heavy, penetration bombs. In the closing stages of the war, Tallboy, of 12,000 lb (5,400 kg), and the 10-ton Grand Slam were used to devastating effect.
After the Second World War, Wallis returned to aeronautical design and was given his own department at Vickers to promote his ideas, principally on variable-geometry or swing-wing aircraft. Over the next thirteen years he battled towards the prototype stage of this revolutionary concept. That never came, however; changing conditions and requirements and increasing costs led to the abandonment of the project. Bit-terly disappointed, Wallis continued his researches into high-speed aircraft until his retirement from Vickers (by then the British Aircraft Corporation), in 1971.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1968. FRS 1945.
Further Reading
J.Morpurgo, 1972, Barnes Wallis: A Biography, London: Longman (a readable account, rather biased in Wallis's favour).
C.J.Heap, 1987, The Papers of Sir Barnes Wallis (1887–1979) in the Science Museum Library, London: Science Museum; with a biographical introd. by L.R.Day.
LRD

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wallis, Sir Barnes (Neville) — born Sept. 26, 1887, Ripley, Derbyshire, Eng. died Oct. 30, 1979, Leatherhead, Surrey British aeronautical designer and military engineer. He invented the innovative dambuster bombs used in World War II by the Royal Air Force to destroy the Möhne …   Universalium

  • Wallis, Sir Barnes (Neville) — (26 sep. 1887, Ripley, Derbyshire, Inglaterra–30 oct. 1979, Leatherhead, Surrey). Diseñador aeronáutico e ingeniero militar británico. Inventó las innovadoras bombas dambuster (rompedora de represas), usadas por la RAF en la segunda guerra… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Barnes Neville Wallis — Sir Barnes Wallis Sir Barnes Neville Wallis (* 26. September 1887 in Ripley (Derbyshire); † 30. Oktober 1979 in Leatherhead, Surrey) war ein englischer Ingenieur. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Barnes Wallis — Sir Barnes Wallis Sir Barnes Neville Wallis (* 26. September 1887 in Ripley (Derbyshire); † 30. Oktober 1979 in Leatherhead, Surrey) war ein englischer Wissenschaftler. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Barnes Wallis — Sir Barnes Neville Wallis Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, (26 septembre 1887 30 octobre 1979) est un ingénieur et inventeur britannique, principalement connu pour l invention des bombes rebondissantes utilisé par la Royal Air Force pendant l opération …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Wallis — Wallis, John * * * (as used in expressions) Vidor, King (Wallis) Wallis y Futuna, islas Wallis, islas Wallis, Sir Barnes (Neville) Windsor, Wallis Warfield, duquesa de …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Neville — Neville, Edgar * * * (as used in expressions) Chamberlain, (Arthur) Neville Wallis, Sir Barnes (Neville) Richard Neville …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy …   Universalium

  • Wallis — /wol is, waw lis/, n. 1. Harold Brent /brent/, (Hal), 1899 1986, U.S. film producer. 2. John, 1616 1703, English mathematician. 3. a male given name, form of Wallace. 4. a female given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Vidor King Wallis …   Universalium

  • Barnes — (as used in expressions) Barnes, Albert C(oombs) Barnes, Djuna George Kelly Barnes, Jr. Taeuber, Conrad y Barnes Taeuber, Irene Irene Barnes Wallis, Sir Barnes (Neville) …   Enciclopedia Universal

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