During the First World War, Bertram Hopkinson opened an experimental station at Orfordness in Suffolk which was to become the centre for his research activities. He collected a number of bright young men around him, including Bennett Melvill Jones, who was to become the Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at Cambridge.

They were concerned with the development of gun-sights, bombsights, cloud flying and navigation. While at Orfordness, Jones and others learned to fly, encouraged by Hopkinson, so that they could test the apparatus and armaments they were trying to perfect in actual service. The experimental station at Orfordness is now a National Trust Property.