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Double Chance

Double Chance passing the finishing post to win the 1925 Grand National

Double Chance passing the finishing post to win the 1925 Grand National

Double Chance, after whom our premium beer was named, was a famous racehorse who was once stabled in the yard at Suddaby’s. The horse is commemorated by our own Classic: a distinctive English pale ale, fruity yet hoppy, satisfying and full-bodied.

The story of Double Chance

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J.P. Wilson on Double Chance

On June 7th 1915, aircraft of No. 1 Squadron RNAS based in France took off on a mission to destroy German Zeppelins. The British raid was intended to provide a ‘double chance’ strike against the new menace from the sky. One flight was to intercept the German raiders as they returned to their base in Germany. The second flight’s brief was to locate the Zeppelin base and attack the airship sheds.

Lt R.A.J. Warneford, flying a Morane Parasol Aircraft armed only with small bombs, intercepted Zeppelin LZ37. Pressing home his attack in the face of intense machine gun fire, Lt Warneford succeeded in hitting the Zeppelin with his last bomb. The explosion destroyed LZ37, sending it crashing to the ground in flames.

Lt J.P. Wilson took off before dawn in a Farman biplane. By skilful navigation he found the Zeppelin base at Evere, near Brussels. Mistaken in the darkness for a German aircraft returning from a bombing mission, he seized the advantage and released his bombs as he flew over the giant hangar. The hangar exploded in flames, destroying Zeppelin LZ38.

Both men were decorated for their bravery and dedication to duty. Lt R.A.J. Warneford received the Victoria Cross; Lt J.P. Wilson AFC received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

John Philip Wilson was a remarkable man. Born in 1889, he played first class cricket for Yorkshire between 1911-13. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service and received a commission in August 1914. After serving with distinction throughout the First World War he retired with the rank of Major in 1919. His life expectancy at that time was six months.

Medical treatment and nursing brought about a recovery and a new lease of life. In the I920s he became a well known amateur steeplechase jockey. In 1925 he was successful with another ‘Double Chance’, riding the horse of that name to victory in the Grand National.

He re-enlisted for the 1939-45 hostilities and served in non-flying duties until the end of the European War. Then he served with the International Relief Organisation in Germany until 1947. Major John Philip Wilson DFC AFC died in 1959.

The horse Double Chance was stabled at the rear of the Crown Hotel, in premises later occupied by Malton Brewery. The brewery adopted the name for their premium beer, an award-winning ale of flavour and distinction.