Maurice Newnham has had an eventful and distinguished career. During the First World War he was a fighter pilot and was awarded the D.F.C., a Mention in Despatches, and the French Croix de Guerre aux Palme.
His peace-time occupations included the managing directorship of the Triumph Motor Company of Coventry. He was a prominent and successful competitor in motoring events, and was responsible for the design and production of the famous Triumph – Dolomite range of motors.
At the outbreak of the Second World War he rejoined the R.A.F. In the autumn of 1940 he was sent to Ringway near Manchester to explore the possibilities of parachute and glider-borne armies. He was then forty-four, and had never made a parachute jump in his life.
Accidents were many, but Newnham evolved a parachute flying and landing technique which reduced injuries. In five years more than 60,000 men of nearly all armies and nations passed through his hands for training.
The men of Normandy and Arnhem, men and women of the resistance groups, intelligence agents and saboteurs drew their confindence and parachuting skill from Newnham and his staff.