Peter TwissOn 10 March 1956, Old Shirburnian Peter Twiss (1921-2011) became the first man to fly faster than 1,000 mph.

Twiss, who attended Sherborne School (Abbey House) from 1935 to 1938, was a test pilot for Fairey Aviation and broke the World absolute air speed record flying a Fairey FD.2 in level flight along the Solent at 1,132 mph.

The design of the Fairey FD.2 featured a long, tapering nose that could be tilted downwards (later adopted for Concorde), with Rolls-Royce Avon RA.14 R engines and delta wings.  Today, the aircraft is preserved at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton.

Later, Twiss became director of Fairey’s marine division and can be seen piloting a Fairey speedboat during the boat chase scene in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love

Twiss also appeared flying a Fairey Swordfish in the 1960 film Sink the Bismarck.

Footage of Twiss breaking the World absolute air speed record in 1956, together with an interview made with him in 2009, can be viewed on Youtube

Find out about other Shirburnian Record Breakers

Visit Sherborne School Archive News for more stories from the archives.

Posted 10 March 2017 by Sherborne School Archives.