AERONAUTICS: A Lost Princess

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A girl was born to the fourth Earl of Mexborough and his Countess three score years and one ago. She was christened Anne, and as she grew up was familiar in London society as Lady Anne Savile. At the age of 31 she was taken to wife by Prince Ludwig Karl zu Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, scion of South German nobility. Two years later the Princess Loewenstein-Wertheim was a widow, when the Prince fell fighting against the U. S. in Philippine skirmishes of the Spanish-American war. Not until 1912 was the Princess again heard from prominently. In that year she flew (as passenger) across the English Channel, the first woman to do so, and possibly in that year and on that flight she felt ambition's bite to pioneer among women in aviation.

As the years passed she flew far and often. Her longest ride was from Egypt to France; her most widely advertised, a routine flight from London to Paris on which the plane, forced down, was reported missing for two days. She had also engrossed herself in many an outdoor sport; designed a ski to eliminate ankle wrenches; 'designed an "anti-sea-sickness cot" for ocean voyagers.

The Princess Loewenstein-Wertheim was, obviously, wealthy. Early this summer Capt. Leslie Hamilton, British War flyer, commercial stunt flyer called the "Flying Gypsy," besought her backing for a transatlantic flight. The Princess trusted Captain Hamilton. For many years she had known him and flown with him. She advanced the money.

Last week a telephone tinkled in the London residence of the Princess Loewenstein-Wertheim. It was Captain Hamilton calling from Upavon, Wiltshire. The weather reports were favorable. His plane, the St. Raphael, was ready. Her maid hastily packed two brief cases, two red hat boxes, a little wicker basket and bundled them into a motor. The Princess entered the automobile and ordered speed.

At Upavon, 75 miles away, Captain Hamilton and his flight companion Lieut. Col. Frederick F. Minchin, denied reports that they would take a passenger. Skeptics noted a wicker chair fastened by one leg to the floor of the ship's tiny cabin. Not many hours later, just after dawn, these skeptics saw piled around the wicker chair two brief cases, two red hat boxes and a little wicker basket.

Outside on the flying field a woman was kneeling. Over her the Most Rev. Francis Mostyn, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, was praying, asking a blessing. On the ship he sprinkled holy water. Soon rose the motor roar which drowns goodbys on flying fields. The St. Raphael moved, gained speed, just averted disaster at the takeoff, and disappeared toward the Atlantic.

A few hours later the ship was seen from Ireland heading out to sea. Many hours later the Standard Oil steamer Josiah Macy saw an airplane midway between America and England flying westward. Many, many hours later, after the St. Raphael's fuel was long exhausted, came reports of fierce head winds. She must have met heavy fog. But no reports of two men in a monoplane who had set out across the sea or of the Princess behind them down the tiny corridor from the cockpit, sitting surrounded by red hat boxes and a little basket in a wicker chair fastened by one leg to the cabin floor.