Walter Bowles, Aviator, Motor Dealer and my Grandfather!

Walter Bowles

The Planes

The Air Races



Miles M17 Monarch G-AIDE

Type Notes

Produced in 1938 the Monarch was an improved version of the earlier Whitney Straight.

It was a three seater and featured Miles' special one-piece moulded windscreen of increased depth. The wings were the same as the Magister, which was then in full production. Only 11 were made since the war interrupted production.

M17 Monarch


dH Gypsy Major


130 HP

Maximum Speed

140 mph


125 mph


30 mph

Maximum Weight

2150 lbs



About G-AIDE

G-AIDE was Miles constructor's number 793 and is one of only three known still to exist, of around 11 built. This plane was originally registered as G-AFRZ, but someone seems to have forgotten since, having served in the war as W6463, the plane was assigned a new civilian registration in August 1946 as G-AIDE. It was under this guise that WPB bought the plane, possibly from a B G Heron, collecting it from Christchurch in May 1956, and basing it at Panshanger. The following year he returned to Elstree, flying the plane mainly in the races.

These two photos are from A J Jackson's wonderful archive (see links section for web page)
G-AIDE as No 44 at the National Air Races at Baginton (Coventry) 1957
G-AIDE as No 44 at the National Air Races at Baginton (Coventry) 1957
G-AIDE as No 44 at the National Air Races at Baginton (Coventry) 1957
G-AIDE as No 44 at the National Air Races at Baginton (Coventry) 1957


The Monarch combined a number of virtues for racing, it was reasonably cheap to run and handled nicely. WPB raced the Monarch in 1957, and AIDE gave him his most successful year ever, making it to second place in the British Air racing Championship, losing by just one point conceded to Jimmy Denyer in an unprecedented tie in the second heat of the Goodyear Trophy. Nevertheless he claimed the Grosvenor Cup and the Goodyear, with an average speed over the course of 131.5 mph.

Of course insurance was important in all these events, and the cover notes still exist. Note the airframe was valued at £1,000.

Cover Note for AIDE
Cover Note for AIDE
Insurance Certificate for AIDE
Insurance Certificate for AIDE
Despite the disappointment of missing the Air Racing Championship, Walter went home with the Goodyear Trophy, third place in the King's Cup and second place in the Championship.

Next year he returned to Baginton, winning the Norton-Griffiths trophy for the third time, with an average speed of 136.16 mph, less than 4mph less than the aeroplane's rated maximum speed. He pushed this further up to 139 mph in the King's Cup, but could only manage 13th place.

He sold the plane in May 1959, replacing it with Gemini AKGD.

By 1971 the plane was owned by David Cyster, who used its engine in his Tiger Moth on an epic flight to Australia.

The plane is still in existence, albeit in pieces, at RAF Cosford, awaiting a decision about its restoration.

Other Information on Monarchs

1944 Country Life Advertisement for the Monarch
1944 Country Life Advertisement for the Monarch
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