Ronald H Warring

Created: May 2009



To so many just the name on the spine of a book, to devotees of the Wakefield class a legend, and to everyone in aeromodelling a man whose influence reached every aspect of the hobby, Ron Warring died suddenly on January 24th, 1984.

He was associated with Aeromodeller through all his working life as a freelance journalist and author, contributing his Round-the-Pole design to the December 1940 issue while in the Royal Corps of Signals. Invalided from the Army after a serious bout of double pneumonia, Ron turned to a skill which he perfected as a brilliant communicator of technicalities, opening with the first ever description of how Rubber was produced for model motors in the April '41 issue, soon followed by a description of his then record (26:45) holding Wakefield of 1940. It was this feature which set a standard for many to follow, giving the genealogy of his design approach from 1937 in such detail that it inspired a whole generation to emulate the features, and the performance. Such ability was quickly recognised and Ron was recruited to that exclusive band who produced Aeromodeller and a host of Harborough books from the Wilmary House address in Hampstead. It was the only time he ever worked as an employee, and that brief but hectic experience was undoubtedly to be a strong influence on his later career.

D.A. Russell's entrepreneurial skills poured out books to an aeronautically hungry market in those war years. Ron revised Cruikshank's 'Airfoil Sections', produced airfoil section sheets, and with a monumental series of nine designs originated a complete course on 'Model Gliders', a title we still regard as a classic of forethought, particularly for 1941 when it was written.

All the while, this shy, even retiring aeromodeller from the West Sussex MAS was building a reputation as a contest flyer. Deserting the streamlined fuselage, he became the protagonist for 'slabsiders' and proved his point in the contests. Rubber was his forte and his link with Caton and personal research gave him an enviable insight.

Colleague Vic Smeed, one of his close contemporaries, summed it up perfectly when he said,

"If I was asked to say one thing about R.H.W. it would be that he was the first of the 'second generation' flyers to make theoretical considerations credible. The first generation were basically 'seat of the pants' designers; there were aerodynamic speculators, but Ron expounded the theories and achieved results on the field, and in so doing influenced model thinking probably more than any other person."

There was a strong association, albeit as adversaries from North/South of the Thames, with Bob Copland, who epitomised aerodynamic perfection in form and when these two produced the Model Aeronautical Digest in 1944, it was as though a whole new stimulative force had been applied at club level. The designs in those pages were built in profusion and captured the imagination. It wasn't Ron's only freelance book—just the beginning. They ranged from the Modelcraft Planbook Making Miniature Aircraft—a book on 'solids' to the then emerging Petrol Engine.

He had a big hand in Majesco Motors, in kits, instruction leaflets, in contributions to the SMAE Model Aircraft, and in launching—with Bill Dean, his deskmate in the days of 'D.A.R.'—the series of Model Aviation and Model Aeronautics, funded generously by Ian Allan. With Don Brockman, Bill Dean, Cyril Shaw and the Geddies brothers he started a Beckenham based club known as the Zombies and it was in his time in the company of that small group that he was most successful on the flying field and creative in the establishment of the SMAE Control Line Sub-Committee despite being the originator of the phrase, 'Brick on a String'.

1948 gave him elation at winning the Astral Trophy with a Banshee, and greatest disappointment in losing his chance to place on the Wakefield team for America when he lost his Zombie in the trials.

But he made up by representing the country three times, in 1949, 1950, and 1952. He placed 10th in '49 at Cranfield, and 10th again in Finland in '50. In those days the trials attracted huge entries and Qualification alone was a triumph (417 competitors in 1950 for six places!) After coming 12th in the Swedish finals in '52, Ron was at last impressed by gears through the skills of Ellila, who he regarded as a perfectionist among the anti-streamliners, and he joined the twin skein brigade.

Already his trophy list was long and with a venture into monthly publishing in Hutchinson's Marine and Aero Models, his name became synonymous with the hobby. Features in series like 'Design for...' and 'Construction for Aeromodellers' were collated in book form while his analyses of everything from kits to engines were eagerly digested.

Sadly, a family tragedy eclipsed his enthusiasm for contests. His son Mike collapsed and died on a cricket field to terminate the prospects of a bright career at only 19. Ron withdrew and wrote at an even faster pace. Many's the time his 'A.M. Colbridge' pseudonym had to be used to avoid an impression of a takeover! He undertook the Engine Tests, had a dynamometer built to his specs, contributed untold volumes of material to those late lamented Aero Modeller Annuals ... and took to boats.

A move from that huge, welcoming flat at Hayne Road, Beckenham to the quiet backwater of Bosham took him absolutely to water. It wasn't long before he had his own trim Volvo Bertram 25 'Grey Phantom' with racing number 301, and his second son, Chris, was helping in Offshore Powerboat Racing.

Though no longer active, his modelling interests were still as vibrant as ever. Solarbo advertising gave away his secret of being their advertising agent by use of his characteristic sketch style. He produced Ripmax and KeilKraft Handbooks at the same time, a tribute to his discretion, his abilities and the trust in which he was held with highest esteem. As his writings expanded, with directories on subjects ranging from Transducers to Hydraulics, he became more sedate in his boating and swapped the Bertram for a Fairey Spearfish, the 'Sport'. His great thrills were to be among those round the Island (Isle of Wight) racers as they thundered off—and to meet them coming back the other way!

All this time through forty-five years of marriage, his wife Alice supported and nurtured his genius. To see his splendid office, self-designed and organised, of course; to view the shelves of countless titles he has produced; and to be witness to that influence he so quietly extended through all those works is something we can personally treasure, and would wish to share with all our readers. Ron Warring's work will become his own memorial and, though he has gone to that great runway in the sky, his creations live on.

Ron Moulton 1984, revised 2009.



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