The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Oscar Colin Morison (1884 - 1966)

Oscar Colin Morison was born  on 22 November 1884 in London. He was an early English aviator who served in the First World War in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

Morison gained his Royal Aero Club aviators certificate (No. 46) on 31 December 1910 at Brooklands Aerodrome using a Bleriot monoplane. He flew exhibition flights in the early days of aviation in England. In 1911 he entered the Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Air Race but failed to start. On 7 March 1911 he became the first aviator to fly in to Shoreham Aerodrome in a Bleriot monoplane. In May 1911 he was in a well publicised air-race with Graham Gilmour from Shoreham Aerodrome to the eastern boundary of Brighton at Blackrock, Morison taking the straight course passed the winning post one minute before Gilmour.

31st December 1910

The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the Madras College Magazine for New Year 1912 reported:

Mr. Oscar Morrison, the aviator (who is an old Madras College boy) left Paris on his biplane on Saturday, July 8th, at 4.40 in the morning and reached Calais in a single flight. He stopped there for petrol and then crossed the channel, and alighted at Eastbourne at 4 o'clock p.m., for more petrol. He then started for Brighton. Later Mr. Morrison landed at the Brighton-Shoreham Aerodrome at 20 minutes to 5 in the afternoon. He came down beautifully without any mishap.

In 1912 he married Margaret Cleaver in Brighton.

The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the Madras College Magazine for New Year 1914 reported:

"Mr. Oscar Morrison the well-known aviator was married at Brighton recently, his bride being Miss Margaret Valerie Cleaver, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Cleaver of Shoreham and London. Mr. Oscar Morrison is an old Madras College boy, and may readers of this magazine will remember him well. When at the Madras he early showed his taste for engineering, and while other boys spent the Saturdays at Station Park playing football, or engaging in mischievous pranks, Oscar Morrison was having rides on the railway engines, or spending his time beside the signalman in his cabin. Now Morrison's name is a household word wherever aviation is spoken of, and he has several feats to his credit. Last season he fell onto the English Channel at Eastbourne, and when rescued he was coolly standing up amidst the wreckage of his machine smoking a cigarette. He was the first flying man to fly from Brooklands to Brighton.


With the outbreak of the First World War, Morison joined the military wing of the Royal Flying Corps as a Second Lieutenant, in May 1916 he transferred to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Morison later became a Temporary Major with the Royal Air Force when it was formed in 1918. He rejoined the RAF in 1940 with a temporary commission for the duration of hostilities.

Morison died on 17 May 1966 in Bournemouth, when he was described as a "Gentleman".