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Whitney Willard Straight
Whitney Willard Straight
  • Born November 6, 1912 - New York
  • Deceased April 5, 1979 - Fulham, London, England,aged 66 years old
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a picture
  • Activist, publisher
  •  Spouses and children



    On the side of Dorothy Payne Whitney, born January 23, 1887 - Washington, D.C., deceased December 13, 1968 - Devonshire, England aged 81 years old,
    Activist, publisher

     Paternal grand-parents, uncles and aunts

     Maternal grand-parents, uncles and aunts




    Individual Note

    View on GeneaStar

    rootsweb: Click Here
    Linked to: Timothy Michael Dowling, 9th cousin 2x removed
    "Born in New York, Whitney Straight was the son of Willard Dickerman Straight and heiress Dorothy Payne Whitney. He was six years old when his father died in France of influenza during the great epidemic while serving with the United States Army during World War I. Following his mother's remarriage to British agronomist Leonard K. Elmhirst in 1925, the family moved to England. They lived at Dartington Hall where he attended the progressive school founded by his parents. His education was completed at Trinity College, Cambridge.
    Flying was his passion, and while 16 years old, still too young for a pilot's licence he had already achieved over 60 hours solo flight. While still an undergraduate at Cambridge, he became a well known Grand Prix motor racing driver and competed at events in England and on the Continent. He competed in more Grands Prix than any American until after World War II. In 1933 driving a Maserati he won the Donington Trophy and the Mountain Championship, and in 1934 formed his own motor racing team, personally driving to victory in the South African Grand Prix. He also gave public demonstrations at Brooklands Racing Circuit achieving a speed of 138.7 mph, a record for 5 litre class cars.
    On July 17, 1935 he married Lady Daphne Margarita Finch-Hatton, daughter of the 14th Earl of Winchilsea, and they had two daughters.
    In his early 20s, as head of the Straight Corporation Limited, he operated airfields throughout Britain and ran flying clubs. In 1936 he helped develop the Miles Whitney Straight aircraft. He became a naturalised British citizen that year.
    During World War II, he served as a Royal Air Force pilot in the "No 601 Hurricane Squadron" with over 4 "kills" to his credit in the Battle of Britain. Straight was seriously wounded in Norway in 1940 while laying out an aerodrome on the frozen surface of a lake, and after convalescing he rejoined his suadron towards the end of the Battle of Britain. He was credited with four and a half kills and also recorded damage to many other planes. He was shot down over France in August of 1941 and initially evaded capture. Through the French Underground, he made his way to Spain where he was eventually captured and put in a German POW camp. However, he escaped and reached safety in Gibraltar. He was sent to the Middle East in charge of RAF transport command operations there with the rank of Air Commodore, and in September of 1943 took over the newly made Cairo aerodrome.
    At war's end, he became chairman of the Royal Aero Club and in July of 1947, at the age of only thirty-four, he was made managing director and Chief Executive Officer of British Overseas Airways Corporation. He reorganised the company and in 1949 was appointed deputy Chairman of the board. In the United States, his cousin Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney was the President of Aviation Corporation of America which became Pan American Airways.
    Later Whitney Straight joined Rolls-Royce as deputy Chairman, and it was while visiting Peking, China in 1958 that Straight was horrified to discover that the Russian Mig 15 planes had counterfeit versions of the Rolls-Royce Derwent and Nene engines. Russia had been provided with 40 of these engines under an export license provided by the government of Prime Minister Clement Atlee after the war. Straight tried unsuccessfully to claim back ¹200m from Russia in royalties."

      Photos and archival records

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     Family Tree Preview

                                                                                 _____|16_Aspinwall Straight 1774-1854
                                                       _____|8_Hiram Straight 1804-1855
                                                      /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|17_Mary Ann Chapman 1773-1869
                             _____|4_Henry Harrison Straight 1846-1886
                            /                        \                          _____|18_Ezekial Rice 1774-/1875
                           /                          ¯¯¯¯¯|9_Lydia Rice 1805-1856
                          /                                                     ¯¯¯¯¯|19_Hannah Billings 1777-1875
    |2_Willard Dickerman Straight 1880-1918
    |                    \                                                     _____|20_William Arms Dickerman 1792-1836
    |                     \                           _____|10_Willard Arms Dickerman 1823-1864
    |                      \                         /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|21_Nancy C. Crombie 1805-1899
    |                       ¯¯¯¯¯|5_Emma May Dickerman 1850-1890
    |                                                \                          _____|22_John Nicholas Dever 1797
    |                                                 ¯¯¯¯¯|11_Margaret Elizabeth Dever 1828-1854
    |                                                                           ¯¯¯¯¯|23_Caroline Boerstler 1810
    |--1_Whitney Willard Straight 1912-1979
    |                                                                           _____|24_Steven Whitney 1784-1852
    |                                                  _____|12_James Scollay Whitney, Gen. 1811-1878
    |                                                 /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|25_Mary A. Polly Burgess 1786-1868
    |                       _____|6_William Collins Whitney 1841-1904
    |                      /                        \                          _____|26_William Collins 1774-1869
    |                     /                          ¯¯¯¯¯|13_Laurinda Collins 1810-1893
    |                    /                                                     ¯¯¯¯¯|27_Eunice Parsons 1775-1873
    |3_Dorothy Payne Whitney 1887-1968
                          \                                                     _____|28_Elisha Payne, Judge 1762-1843
                           \                           _____|14_Henry B. Payne, Sen. 1810-1896
                            \                         /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|29_Esther Douglas 1778-1853
                             ¯¯¯¯¯|7_Flora Payne 1842-1924
                                                      \                         _____|30_Nathan Perry 1786-1865
                                                       ¯¯¯¯¯|15_Mary P. Perry 1818-1895
                                                                                 ¯¯¯¯¯|31_Pauline Skinner 1794-