This Day in History: 1915-06-11

Henry Millicer, decorated air force pilot, aircraft designer and academic was born on 11 June 1915. Millicer was born in Poland, as Henryk Kazimierz Milicer to Kazimierz Milicer, professor of engineering, and his wife Helena, née Lewandowska. Henry flew model aircraft in his youth, then studied at Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) before working at the Polish State Aviation Works as a junior designer. He joined the Polish Air Force at the start of the Second World War flying and was awarded the Polish Air Force Cross for the actions of his army observation and reconnaissance unit. He escaped to Britain after the fall of Poland and served briefly with the French Air Force before joining the Royal Air Force, serving as a bomber pilot in a Polish RAF squadron. In 1950 Millicer accepted a position as chief aerodynamicist with the Government Aircraft Factories, Fishermans Bend, Melbourne. His ‘Airtourer’ design (developed with GAF colleagues Gordon Bennett and John Tutty) won a design competition sponsored by the Royal Aero Club of Great Britain in 1953. The design was eventually built and flown and entered production by Victa. He became senior aeronautical lecturer at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and was a fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, and the Royal Aeronautical Society. Sources: Australian Dictionary of Biography; Job, Macarthur and Wilson, Stewart (March 1983), “Henry Millicer and Victa”, Made in Australia and NZ.