Love is in the air at aviation poetry event

Mike Biggs
Mike Biggs

THE UNEXPECTED love story of a Shoreham flight instructor and married woman will be recounted through verse in a poetry evening at Shoreham Airport.

During the roaring 1920s FG Miles and Maxine ‘Blossom’ Forbes-Robertson met at Shoreham Airport, where Maxine and her then husband were members.

Fred, born in 1901 in Worthing, and Blossom, born in 1903 in London, are said to have fallen for each other ‘pretty quickly and pretty heavily’ and eventually got married after Maxine divorced.

From there, they began a new life designing and building light aeroplanes.

This dramatic love story proved to be the inspiration for London-based poet Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, 69, whose new collection Fred and Blossom will be heard at Shoreham Airport in October.

Michael, a poet for more than 25 years, is currently the poetry editor of on-line magazine London Grip.

His poetry traces Fred and Blossom’s turbulent life and how love and love of the skies shaped their future. The couple’s aircraft designs became popular and they became well-known figures in the affluent and glitzy world of light aviation in the 1930s.

They were also commercially successful but after the second world war their firm ran into financial difficulties and had to shut down.

Michael said: “Fred and Blossom’s story gives me ample opportunity to write poetry about two things that often inspire me, namely, human relationships and the unexpected.

“Fred and Blossom were two remarkable people and their romance was eventful and dramatic. It was also quite unexpected since Blossom came from London society while Fred’s origins were relatively humble (his father ran a laundry). I have found material for poetry in the flair and persistence they showed in establishing a successful business and also in the range of famous and colourful characters they encountered.

“Poems in the book also touch on the turbulent history of the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Stalinism in Russia and, of course, the build-up towards World War Two. Finally, there are also some light-hearted poetic narratives about early airline travel and the songs, books and wireless broadcasts of the period.”

Mike is now retired but draws comparisons between his career as a mathematician in the aircraft industry and enjoyment of poetry. He said: “People are sometimes surprised that I have combined poetry and mathematics, but I have found that the two disciplines have a lot in common. For instance, they both encourage brevity, abstraction and generalisation.”

The poetry reading will be on Tuesday, October 15, at 7pm. The event is free but RSVP to