m. 1931 Dora [Clarke, divorced 1943], but gave his sister, Lucy Isobel Gleave, as next-of-kin in 1940
Ran his own motorcycle business: "Gleave Motors", and developed his own 'Syd Gleave Special' motorcycle. With this he competed in races from 1928-35.
Syd owned 1930 Avro 616 Sports Avian G-AAYU, which had flown in the 1930 King's Cup Race piloted by Jack Cantrill. He bought it in February 1936, flew it in the 1936 London to Isle of Man Race (coming fifth out of 20 starters) and the Manx Air Derby (coming 13th), but he wrote it off at Cheltenham later that year:
"PILOT'S DRAMATIC TALE
The wreckage of an aeroplane perched on top of a Cotswold hillside field to-day remained as evidence of the dramatic and almost miraculous escape of two airmen from death. The pilot, Mr. Sid Cleave, of Macclesfield, well-known T.T. rider and survivor of a remarkable racing crash a year ago, is today out and about, showing litte sign of the experience.
His passenger, Mr. Geoffrey Males Holt, of Manchester, is in Cheltenham General Hospital with a compound fracture of the right ankle and injuries to the head.
Mr. Gleave last evening told the "Echo" his dramatic story of the crash during the fog which enveloped parts of the Cotsvvolds as he and his friend were flying from Bournemouth to Macclesfield. "The visibility was nil," he said, "and as we were flying down a valley a bank of clouds came down in front of us. Although we attempted to turn we went into it, and the wing tip hit the top of the hill."
Mr. Gleave has recently recovered from a terrible accident while riding in the T. T. last year. He was thrown when travelling at about 110 miles hour. He was hurtled along the road and finished up by crashing into wall. It was found that he had no fewer than 44 bone breakages."
Fleet Air Arm 1938-40
In 1939 he was one of two golfers who played five games of golf within 24 hours on courses in Scotland, Ireland, England, the Isle of Man and Wales, for a £100 bet. He and professional golfer Ernest Smith flew 1,000 miles, walked thirty miles, and "went hungry". They started at 3.30 a m., by the light of road lamps, at Prestwick, Ayr, and then flew to games in Newtonwards, Ulster; Castletown, Isle of Man; Blackpool, and Hawarden, North Wales. "A condition of the wager was that Smith should average under eighty over the five courses. He won with an average of seventy two."
Address in 1940: 388 Buxton Rd, Macclesfield
Postings: White Waltham, Ratcliffe, Ringway
[Contract Terminated 2 Mar 1942] "in order that you may undertake the post of Test Pilot with AV Roe & Co. Ltd."
As 2nd pilot in a Lancaster with Bill Thorn and Roy Chadwick in 1942 (Flight)
d. 11 Sep 1944 in Lancaster III PB579; one of every 10th aircraft that was checked to its terminal velocity dive speed of 375mph to verify control effectiveness and ease of recovery. During the dive the fuel jettison pipes tore off, hit the tailplane and stripped the elevator skin. The aircraft dived vertically into the ground at Alderley Edge, three miles south of Woodford. This was the only fatal accident involving a Lancaster out of the 3,958 tested at Woodford.
Read more: http://salfordwarmemorials.proboards.com
"To assist in the identification of two men who lost their lives in an aeroplane crash near a Midlands town on September 11th, pieces of clothing, a tie and a pen-knife, were produced at the inquest at Wilmslow (Cheshire) to-day. The men were identified as Sydney Gleave, 39, test pilot for Messrs. A. V. Roe and Co., Ltd., and a former racing motor cyclist, and Harry Lewis Barnes, 41, a flight engineer, of Wilmslow.
Charles Stewart Riseley, member of the Observer Corps, who plotted the plane, said it was flying about for half an hour, and the first indication he had of anything being abnormal was when he saw it in a power dive. It came out of the sun with engines running, and dived almost vertically at a speed of between 500 and 600 miles an hour."
Sydney, his parents, and 3 of his 4 sisters are commemorated together