Owen Roberts (aviator)
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Owen Roberts Aviator

Owen Roberts
Owen George Endicott Roberts

(1912-09-17)17 September 1912
Died10 April 1953(1953-04-10) (aged 40)
Cause of deathPlane crash
Patricia Charles
(m. 1936; his death 1953)
ChildrenCamilla Marguerite Roberts
Lucinda Hilary Roberts
RelativesJohn Crichton, 7th Earl Erne (grandson)
Marshall Owen Roberts (grandfather)
Sir George Murray (grandfather)
Barry Maxwell, 12th Baron Farnham (nephew)
Simon Maxwell, 13th Baron Farnham (nephew)

Owen "Bobby" George Endicott Roberts (also known as "The Commander") (17 September 1912 – 10 April 1953) was a British Royal Air Force wing commander and noted 20th-century aviator and founder of Caribbean International Airways.

Early life

Roberts was born on 17 September 1912 in London. He was a son of the former Irene Helene Murray (1882-1972) and Marshall Owen Roberts (1878-1931), an American who became a British subject. His elder sister, Angela Susan Roberts, married the Hon. Somerset Maxwell (son of Arthur Maxwell, 11th Baron Farnham).[1] Before Maxwell was killed in action in North Africa in 1942, they were the parents of Barry and Simon, who became the 12th and 13th Barons Farnham. She married secondly to Lt.-Cmdr. Henry Harrison Proctor and thirdly to Lt.-Col. Edward Remington-Hobbs.[2]

His paternal grandparents were wealthy American businessman Marshall Owen Roberts,[3] and the former Sarah Lawrence "Susan" Endicott (who married Ralph Vivian after his grandfather's death).[4] His maternal grandparents were Sir George Murray (great-grandson of the Lord George Murray, second son of John Murray, 3rd Duke of Atholl) and the former Helen Mary Mulholland (a daughter of 1st Baron Dunleath. His cousin, George Anthony Murray, who was killed in action in World War II, married the Hon. Angela Pearson (a daughter of the 2nd Viscount Cowdray) and was the father of George Iain Murray, inherited the Dukedom of Atholl in 1957.[5]


Roberts flew with the RAF and was a wing commander during World War II.[]

Following the war, Roberts co-founded Caribbean International Airways (CIA). By 1950, Roberts had established regular service between Cayman and Tampa, Florida; Kingston, Jamaica; and Belize. He worked to lobby Cayman Islands Commissioners Ivor Smith and Andrew Gerrard to build airfields on all three of the Cayman Islands.[6] In 1952, construction started on an official airstrip at an estimated cost of £93,000. On 28 November 1952 with a crowd of several hundred onlookers, Roberts piloted a PBY Catalina to a perfect landing on the partially completed airport runway. Within six months after that landing, Roberts had acquired two used Lockheed Lodestar airliners purchased to keep up with the competition whose interest was now piqued by the soon-to-be completed airfield at George Town.[2]

Personal life

In 1936, Roberts was married to Patricia Charles. Together, they were the parents of two daughters who lived in London:[2]

During a CIA flight from Kingston, Jamaica to Grand Cayman on 10 April 1953, the Lodestar piloted by Roberts crashed on takeoff from Palisadoes Airport, killing thirteen of the fourteen people onboard, including Roberts and his sister.[9] The only survivor of the crash was Roberts' brother-in-law, Lt.-Col. Edward Remington-Hobbs.[2][10]


Through his eldest daughter Camilla, he was posthumously a grandfather of five, including: Lady Cleone Lucinda Crichton (b. 1959) (wife of Richard F. Versen), Lady Davina Jane Crichton (b. 1961) (wife of Nicholas J. R. Scarr), Lady Katherine Patricia Crichton (b. 1962) (wife of Jonathan C. Townsend-Rose), Lady Tara Guinevere Crichton (b. 1967) (wife of James William Loyd),[11] and John Crichton, 7th Earl Erne (b. 1971).[7][12][13]

Through his youngest daughter Lucinda, he was posthumously a grandfather of four girls, Lucinda (who married Patrick Lawrence, 5th Baron Trevethin),[14] Cassandra, Atalanta and Tatiana Marchessini.[15]


Owen Roberts International Airport in George Town on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands is named after him.[16]


  1. ^ "MARSHALL O. ROBERTS TO WED.; Son of New York Merchant, Now a Brit- ish Officer, to Marry Sir George Murray's Daughter". The New York Times. 13 March 1903. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Costa Rica Aviation - Owen Roberts
  3. ^ "Marshall O. Roberts Dead; the Life of One of New York's Merchants Ended". The New York Times. 12 September 1880. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "Ralph Vivian Married; Mrs. Marshall O. Roberts Becomes His Bride. a Throng of Guests at the Ceremony -- Beautiful Floral Decorations -- Brilliant Reception After the Wedding". The New York Times. 8 January 1892. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Atholl, Duke of (S, 1703)". www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ Craton, Michael (2003). Founded upon the seas: a history of the Cayman Islands and their people. Kingston, Jamaica: I. Randle Publishers. p. 334. ISBN 9780972935821.
  7. ^ a b "Erne, Earl (I, 1789)". www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Demetri NIarchessini To Wed Miss Roberts". The New York Times. 9 August 1961. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ "13 of 14 on Plane Die in Jamaica Isle Crash". The New York Times. 11 April 1953. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ Sylvan Airways - Cayman Airlines, Owen Roberts, defunct link.
  11. ^ "Lady Tara Crichton and James Loyd's wedding". Tatler. 12 March 1994. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ "The Earl of Erne, obituary". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ McNeilly, Claire (11 May 2018). "Puppy love: Earl of Erne pops the question to his girlfriend in castle grounds... with a little help from beloved pet". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ "Trevethin". doi.org. WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U42804.
  15. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage 2003, vol. 2, p. 2963
  16. ^ West, Alan; Durán, Alan West (2003). African Caribbeans: A Reference Guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-313-31240-3. Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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