Wing Commander Kenneth Horatio
Wallis MBE, DEng (hc), Ph.D (hc), CEng, FRAeS, FSETP, FlnsTA(hc), RAF (Ret'd).
26th April 1916 –
1st September 2013
I first met Wing Commander Ken Wallis at the first James Bond convention I
was involved with in 1981, and it was clear to see that fans idolised him
and his marvellous creation, ‘Little Nellie’, and every appearance they
made together was always met with the same fondness and warmth – you
always smiled when you saw Ken! I last saw him at the press opening of the
'Bond In Motion' exhibition at Beaulieu in January 2012, where I was
very pleased that my son Adam-John had the opportunity to meet him too.
Across those 32 years I was lucky enough, and honoured, to spend time with
Ken at a number of various
events I produced at
Pinewood Studios from 1990 to 1998 (and at the
1996 The Paris
Motor Show), and like dear Desmond Llewelyn, Ken supported our 007
events from the beginning and would continue to do so through the
Nineties, until I retired from event producing in 1999.
ABOVE: Wing Commander Ken Wallis [Autogyro designer and pilot of
'Little Nellie' in You Only Live Twice (1967)] with
Adam-John Page-Smith at the BOND IN MOTION exhibition at the
National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.
Later I would correspond
with Ken by letter and telephone; chatting with him again a few months ago
about his time filming the aerial sequences with ‘Little Nellie’ for
1967’s You Only Live Twice, there was always something new and
interesting he would divulge about the filming, and his memory was razor
sharp – I could have listened to him for hours!
Having been on our
complimentary list to receive each new copy of 007 MAGAZINE as it was
published since the 1980s, Ken never failed to write me a letter in
response with his comments about each publication and he usually enclosed
more snippets of information regarding his exploits filming You Only
Live Twice in Japan and Almeria, Spain. I shall miss those letters. It
is my eternal regret that I never made time to take up Ken’s ‘open
invitation’ to visit him at Reymerston Hall.
Ken was so much more than
the ‘stunt pilot’ and creator of the autogyro ‘Little Nellie’, his life
was a full and rich one and his contribution to British aviation with his
unique development of the autogyro aircraft was without equal - Britain
has lost one of its greatest sons, and we are all the worse for his
I would urge you to read his fascinating life story, The Lives of Ken
Wallis – Engineer and Aviator Extraordinaire by Ian Hancock (278 pages
featuring 132 photographs). For further details please visit:
Also the excellent DVD:
Ken Wallis - Born To Bond
Editor & Publisher
ABOVE: (top) [L-R]
Desmond Llewelyn, Wing Commander Ken Wallis, 007 MAGAZINE Editor &
Publisher Graham Rye, Goldfinger's Oscar-winning sound
designer Norman Wanstall and seven-time 007 production designer
Ken Adam at 'The James Bond 007 International Fan Club 6th Annual
Lunch' (You Only Live Twice theme) at Pinewood Studios - 21
November 1998. (bottom left) Ken Wallis demonstrates ‘Little
Nellie’s machine guns in the Pinewood gardens at the same event.
(bottom right) Wing Commander Kenneth Horatio Wallis MBE, DEng (hc),
Ph.D (hc), CEng, FRAeS, FSETP, FlnsTA(hc), RAF (Ret'd) [1916 -