Sir Alexander Bannerman, 11th Baronet

Major Sir Alexander Bannerman, 11th Baronet (16 December 1871 – 10 March 1934)[1] was a pioneer British military aviator.

Sir Alexander Bannerman
Born(1871-12-16)16 December 1871
Brackley, Northamptonshire, England
Died10 March 1934(1934-03-10) (aged 62)
George, Cape Province, South Africa
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Commands heldSchool of Ballooning
Air Battalion
Battles/warsSecond Boer War

Bannerman was born in Brackley in Northamptonshire and educated at Wellington College and subsequently at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He succeeded to the title of 11th Baronet Bannerman, of Elsick in Kincardineshire, on the death of his father the 10th Baronet on 2 December 1901.[2][3]

Bannerman was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 13 August 1891, and promoted to lieutenant on 13 August 1894.[4] He saw active service in the Second Boer War, and was mentioned in Lord Roberts' despatches. Following the end of the war, he was promoted to captain on 22 July 1902.[5]

After the war he returned to the United Kingdom on the SS Orotava which arrived at Southampton in early September 1902,[6] only to depart again in 1903 on a special mission to Japan as British military attache at the Japanese headquarters during the Russo-Japanese War. While there, he observed the use by the Japanese of a tethered balloon at Port Arthur.[3] At the start of 1908, Bannerman was sent to the War Office to work as a general staff officer (third class).[7]

In October 1910, Bannerman left the War Office[8] in order to replace Colonel John Capper as the officer commanding the British Army's School of Ballooning.[9][10] In April 1911, when the School of Ballooning was reorganized and the Air Battalion was formed within the Royal Engineers, Bannerman served as its commandant. Just before the Air Battalion became the Royal Flying Corps, Bannerman took flying lessons in order to gain his Royal Aero Club certificate.[11]

He had been a balloonist, so had little knowledge of aeroplanes and he is not reckoned as a successful commander of the Air Battalion.[12]

He retired from Royal Engineers and Royal Flying Corps service on 28 August 1912.[13][14]

Sir Alexander Bannerman died on 10 March 1934 at the age of 62 in George in the Cape Province, South Africa.[15]

Awards and decorations


  2. "Personalities, Surname B". Archived from the original on 19 July 2010.
  3. Driver, Hugh (1997). The Birth of Military Aviation: Britain, 1903-1914. Royal Historical Society. p. 260. ISBN 086193234X.
  4. Hart′s Army list, 1903
  5. "No. 27467". The London Gazette. 22 August 1902. p. 5465.
  6. "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36858). London. 28 August 1902. p. 9.
  7. "No. 28097". The London Gazette. 7 January 1908. p. 139.
  8. "No. 28426". The London Gazette. 21 October 1910. p. 7436.
  9. Turner, Charles Cyril (1972) [1927]. "Ch. XXII". The Old Flying Days. Ayer Publishing. p. 294. ISBN 0-405-03783-X.
  10. "Aviation Corps for British Army". Flight. 8 October 1910. p. 824.
  11. Raleigh, Sir Walter Alexander; Jones, Henry Albert (1922). The war in the air; being the story of the part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 188.
  12. Gollin, Alfred M. No Longer an Island: Britain and the Wright Brothers, 1902-1909. Stanford University Press. p. 229.
  13. "Major Bannerman Retires". Flight. 7 September 1912. p. 822.
  14. "No. 28639". The London Gazette. 27 August 1912. p. 6374.
  15. "A link with the past broken". FLIGHT. 15 March 1934. p. 261.
  16. "Medals Lt Col Sir Alexander Bannerman". Retrieved 25 September 2015.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir John Capper
Commander of the Balloon School
Succeeded by
As Commandant of the Air Battalion
Preceded by
As Commander of the Balloon School
Commandant of the Air Battalion
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Sykes
As Officer Commanding the
Military Wing of the Royal Flying Corps
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
George Bannerman
(of Elsick)
Succeeded by
Arthur Bannerman
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