Thomas Sopwith was born in 1888. A pioneering figure in aviation, he won the Baron de Forest prize in 1910 for flying across the English Channel.
In 1912 he founded the Sopwith Aviation Company at Kingston-on-Thames, where he designed and built several planes used during the First World War including the Sopwith Pup, the Sopwith Camel and the Sopwith Snipe.
Sopwith became Chairman of the Hawker Siddeley Group in 1935 and was president of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors.
Thomas Sopwith died in 1989.