Basil Watson travelled from Melbourne to Britain in May 1914 to learn to fly. He was then employed in the United Kingdom as a pilot with the Sopwith Aviation Company and subsequently at Brooklands as a service test pilot where he was injured in an aviation accident in June 1915. He returned to Australia and began building his own aircraft inside his parent's house in Brighton. Following a number of successful flights of this Sopwith type single-seater which including public demonstrations in country Victoria, He flew an experimental air mail service from Mount Gambier, South Australia to Melbourne, Victoria in February 1917. Watson was killed on 28 March 1917 when his aircraft crashed in shallow water near Point Cook, Victoria after a structural failure occurred as he performed a loop.

Basil Watson's father donated the engine of this aircraft along with pieces of the aircraft's wreckage to the Museum in 1919. This 8-foot long (2.43 m) propeller may have been a spare unit for Watson's machine. It is made of laminated circassian walnut and was made for Watson by timber merchant James Moore & Sons of City Road, South Melbourne.

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