GENIUS OF OUR
name of Barnes Wallis is inevitably linked with inventions
which greatly contributed to the Allied victory in World War
2, the Wellington, the bouncing bombs which breached the Mohne
and Eder Dams, and the Tallboy and Grand Slam 'earthquake'
bombs. This may lead the average person to assume that here
was a scientist who had made a life study of warlike instruments
and the art of destruction.
could be more wrong. In fact, in 1939, his prime concern was
to decide how he, an aircraft designer and engineer, could
make a contribution that would hasten the end of World War
Wallis was at the forefront of aviation progress during virtually
the whole of his working life. Before World War 1, he was
involved in the designing of rigid airships. Later he was
responsible for the R.80, one of the most beautiful of airships
ever built, and for the R.100, one of the most successful.
He introduced geodesics into aircraft design and developed
the swing-wing Swallow with its variable wing sweep.
Wallis's life was not only centred around aeronautics and
aerial warfare; he participated in the development of radio
telescopy and nuclear submarines, he pioneered work in the
de-icing of trawlers, and he gave much time and money to educational
advancement and to charity. Above all, he was a devoted family
man who believed in many of the steadfast Victorian ideals.
His articles of faith included a belief in the spiritual and
intellectual qualities of the people of this Nation and of
"I can't do anything unless I am convinced it is necessary
for the good of England and for the good of mankind".