Sir Barnes Wallis

© the estate of estate of Sir Barnes Wallis. Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Aeronautical designer and engineer. Born at Ripley, Derbyshire, in 1913 Wallis went to work for Vickers at Barrow designing the R9 rigid airship, completed in 1916. After the war he worked on the airship R80, which flew in 1920. At Vickers at Cardington, he developed airships for commercial routes to India and contributed to aeroplane designs including the Wellesley and Wellington bombers. Wallis devised the 'bouncing' bombs associated with the 'Dambuster' raids used by Lancaster bombers to destroy the Mšhne and Eder Dams in May 1943. He worked for Vickers until 1971.

National Portrait Gallery, London



Sir Barnes Wallis




oil on canvasboard


H 36.5 x W 31.4 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Given by the sitter's family, 1981

Work type



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