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melliget

England to Australia Flight Competition 1919

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christine liava'a

Another intended flight was that of Herbert Stanley Morris, an Australian, born in 1892, who had served as an industrial chemist, discovering the Brock smoke bomb, at the Woolwich Arsenal in the early part of the war. He then joined the Fiji Civil Service, and became Secretary to the Governor of Fiji. When the Governor returned to Britain, Morris went too and joined the RAF. He qualified as a pilot and wanted to fly back to Fiji. He was killed in an air accident on 15 August 1919 and is buried at Kensal Green, London.

"He had just completed, with great skill and forethought, all arrangements for what would have been an epoch-making aerial flight: a flight from England by seaplane to the Fiji Islands, to take place early in September (1919). In this flight Lord Milnber and the Colonial and Air Ministries were much interested, and from it much commercial and military advantage was anticipated. The Napier Company had shown their interest by providing him with a Napier Lion Engine. His scheme was to open up imperial, and in particular, local aerial communication in the British Western Pacific." Fiji Times 1 April, 1920

However, it was not to be!

Did any New Zealanders want to fly home?

Christine

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Dolphin

Christine

I think that the thought of the Tasman Sea as a final obstacle after getting to Australia would have persuaded any potential fliers from NZ not to attempt the journey.

Here's more about fliers who were in the contest.

Vickers Vimy G-EAOU

The Vickers Company entered G-EAOU (said to stand for God ‘Elp All Of Us), one of their converted Vimy bombers, after Alcock and Brown’s successful non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in a similar machine in June . Three of the crew had participated in the proving flight to Calcutta in late 1918: Capt Ross Smith MC* DFC** was a South Australian, and a veteran of No 1 Sqn AFC, credited with 11 victories over Palestine; co-pilot Lt Keith Smith (brother of Ross Smith) had served as an instructor with the RAF during the War; Sgt Jim Bennett from Melbourne and Sgt Walter Shiers from South Australia had both served in No 1 Sqn, and had taken part in the December 1919 India proving flight. Another veteran of the proving flight, Brig-Gen Borton, was keen to take part in the contest too, but was ineligible as he wasn’t an Australian. Nevertheless, his efforts helped to convince Vickers to make the Vimy available.

Powered by two 360 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines, the Vimy left Hounslow in rain and snow on 12 November 1919, defying the forecast of unsuitable flying conditions. The weather deteriorated over France, and the airmen had a miserable time until they arrived at Lyons after what Ross Smith later described as the most difficult stage of the entire journey. After Lyons it was on to Italy, where the Vimy landed on a very wet aerodrome at Pisa on 15 November, and promptly became bogged. Digging out the aeroplane took an extra day, and taking off from the muddy aerodrome wasn’t easy, but it was accomplished. The next stop was Rome and then on to the former Allied anti-submarine base at Taranto in the South of Italy.

From Italy, the Vimy flew through heavy rain while negotiating Greek mountains before setting off for the aerodrome at Suda Bay on the island of Crete. Rain was falling as the Smiths left Crete and set course for Cairo. The next flight, from Cairo to Damascus, took the Vimy over territory familiar to Ross Smith from his War service in the area. The crew were probably not greatly surprised to see torrential rain – the first for months – falling as they prepared to leave Damascus. The airmen weren’t able to reach Baghdad, the next scheduled stop, on time, so they landed at Ramadie, where the Vimy was nearly wrecked by an overnight gale. Then it was on to Basra, where the RAF had extensive maintenance facilities that were made available. The next flight was to Bandar Abbas in Persia where, as a precaution for a forced landing in the desert on the flight to Karachi, the crew were given letters explaining their presence. These were to be shown to any hostile tribesmen they encountered (presumably while hoping that the tribesmen were literate).

However, Karachi was reached without incident, and then it was on to Delhi, where the Frenchman Poulet had left that morning. After a day’s maintenance at Delhi, the Vimy left for Allahabad, followed by a flight to Calcutta, the termination of the route-proving flight the precious year. Departure from Calcutta was enlivened by a bird-strike with two hawks after take-off, but the Vimy kept going with pieces of the birds hanging on the rigging. As was the case with Poulet in his Caudron, plans to fly on to Rangoon the next day had to be abandoned, as the Rangoon landing ground was the racecourse, and the Saturday race meeting couldn’t be postponed. Hence the Vimy flew to Akyab in Burma, where the crew sighted Poulet’s Caudron on the ground waiting for them.

Both aircraft left Akyab on 30 November, but the Frenchmen had to turn back due to mountains and storms encountered near the Siam [Thailand] border; however they were able to reach Rangoon and land on the racecourse, where there were no racehorses, but lots of spectators. The Vimy was able to climb over and around the 7000 feet/2135 metre high mountains and made it from Rangoon to Bangkok on 1 December, despite the severe discomfort endured by the crew as they cruised at 11000 feet/3350 metres for over an hour. At Bangkok the airmen were welcomed by Prince Pitsanoluke and members of the Siamese Army Aviation Corps – four Siamese aircraft provided an escort when the Vimy left next day. The next stop after Bangkok was Singora, about half-way down the Malay Peninsula, and the Vimy had to fly for three hours through a tropical rainstorm to get there on 2 December. Singora was technically an aerodrome, but it was a pretty crude one; although trees had been felled to provide a clear space, the stumps had been left in the ground. Eventually, Ross Smith found a clear path through the stumps and was able to land, although the tailskid was damaged while doing so. Then it was discovered that the ordered 500 gallons/2275 litres of fuel hadn’t been delivered, so urgent telegrams were dispatched. Sgt Bennet fashioned a new tailskid and the crew were able to relax until midnight, when a violent storm threatened to damage the Vimy and the airmen had to spend the night minding the aeroplane in soaking rain until dawn. The next day was spent clearing a takeoff path and working on the Vimy’s engines – all in heavy rain. On 4 December Smith managed to leave Singora, despite water that was 15 cm deep on parts of the aerodrome.

From Singora the Vimy flew down the western coast of Malaya, over Kuala Lumpur, before landing on the very small aerodrome that was the racecourse at Singapore. The landing ground was so small that an extreme measure was used to stop the Vimy’s landing run: after touchdown, Bennet slid down the fuselage to attach himself to the tail, thereby adding weight to the tailskid and slowing the aeroplane.

After Singapore the next stop was Kalidjati in the Dutch East Indies where the airmen were given a welcome by the Governor-General. Significantly, arrival there meant that the Vimy was now in the Southern Hemisphere. After Kalidjati the Vimy flew to Sourabaya, where the aeroplane bogged while landing due to the very muddy aerodrome surface – hidden under a crust of dry earth. Extricating the aircraft was extremely difficult, and take-off next day initially appeared impossible. Eventually, hundreds of woven bamboo mats were donated by the local populace, and a take-off path was created. Then it was off to Bima, followed by Atamboea in Timor.

The Vimy left Timor at 08:35 on 10 December on the 500 mile/800 km over water flight to Darwin. At the half-way point the aeroplane flew over the cruiser HMAS Sydney, which had been stationed there in case of a ditching. However, no trouble was experienced, and Ross Smith landed near Fanny Bay, Darwin at 15:40, 27 days and 20 hours after leaving Hounslow, including 135 hours flying time.

Despite a safe arrival in Darwin, the Vimy crew’s troubles were far from over. In fact, it took nearly twice as long to fly from Darwin to Sydney as the flight from England to Australia. A split propeller forced a landing at Cobbs Creek, NT, where Bennett and Shiers worked for three days in 52˚ heat to repair the damage, gluing wood splinters into the shattered end and reshaping it using glass from a broken bottle. Another unscheduled landing happened near Charleville, Qld, when their out-of-balance port engine exploded at 3000 feet. This repair alone took 50 days.

Finally, on 14 February 1920, the Vimy flew across NSW on the final leg from Narromine to Sydney. When the plane was spotted over Katoomba, a message was sent to the GPO in Sydney, where a flag was raised on the General Post Office tower in Martin Place to signal the imminent arrival. Spectators flocked to Mascot aerodrome to see the aeroplane land at 11:12.

HM King George V sent a cable to the airmen: Delighted at your safe arrival. Your success will bring Australia nearer to the Mother Country, and I warmly congratulate you and your crew. George R I. Presently, the Smith brothers received knighthoods and the two Sergeants were awarded the new Air Force Medal. After a delay, Sgts Bennett and Shiers were granted commissions.

The £10000 prize money was shared equally by the four crew members.

Gareth

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Dolphin

The next competing aeroplane to depart Hounslow was the ill-fated Alliance Endeavour with Capt R Douglas and Lt J Ross, which is covered above. After them came:

Blackburn Kangaroo G-EAOW

The Blackburn Kangaroo G-EAOW [said to stand for England-Australia Over Water] was the only aeroplane in the event best known by the name of its navigator, rather than a pilot: Capt Hubert Wilkins MC*, who was famed for his pre-War exploits at the North Pole and as a war correspondent and photographer . The aeroplane had served with the RNAS and RAF as B9970, and the pilots were Lts Valdemar Rendle and David Williams (both formerly RAF) and Lt Garnsey Potts from the AFC was the mechanic.

Val Rendle was from Brisbane, and had been in the Queensland Volunteer Flying Corps before travelling to England to join the RFC as an Air Mechanic in March 1916. He was commissioned in 1917 and served in England and France as an instructor and ferry pilot.

David Williams was an automobile engineer and a former assistant instructor at the NSW State Aviation School at Richmond who flew as an instructor and ferry pilot with the AFC.

Garnsey Potts was an electrical engineer from Richmond, NSW. He had served as armourer officer with No 3 Sqn AFC in France.

Departure from Hounslow was delayed by Blackburn’s insistence on fitting modified Rolls Royce Falcon engines which developed 275 hp instead of the standard 250 hp. Snow further delayed departure until 25 November. Bad weather then made progress across Europe slow. On 28 November the Kangaroo was forced to land at Istres due to a magneto that was alleged to have been sabotaged during the previous night’s stop in St Raphael (the plot behind the alleged sabotage remains unknown). The poor weather didn’t abate until Taranto in Southern Italy, the stop before Suda Bay in Crete. The aerodrome at Suda Bay was muddy and the aeroplane became bogged on landing.

Thanks to the efforts of some Bulgarian PoWs, the Kangaroo was extricated from the mud and took off for Egypt on 8 December. Unfortunately, a broken crankcase and a subsequent loss of oil in one engine meant that the aircraft had to turn back to Suda when only 40 miles/65 kilometres from departure. An attempt to use the dry engine during landing failed, and only caused the water jackets to disintegrate, spraying fragments into the airframe. Pilot Rendle was just able to clear some houses as the Kangaroo approached the aerodrome, but was unable to avoid a metre-deep ditch in the aeroplane's path. All tyres burst as the Kangaroo swept past the ditch, and the aeroplane skidded across the aerodrome, heading for a stone wall that surrounded the local mental hospital. Fortunately for the crew (and the hospital patients) a high bank of earth arrested the Kangaroo’s progress before it reached the wall. At first it was hoped that a new engine, combined with local repairs, would be enough to get the aeroplane back into the air, but it wasn’t to be. The Kangaroo’s journey towards Australia was over.

Gareth

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Dolphin

After the Kangaroo, the next departure from Hounslow was Howell and Fraser's Martinsyde A, which is covered above. We now come to the last aeroplane to try the flight.

Airco DH 9 G-EAQM

Lts Ray Parer and John McIntosh entered DH 9 G-EAQM (formerly the RAF’s F1278) which had been bought from the Aircraft Disposal Company as unwanted war surplus. Parer, born in Melbourne and educated in Bathurst NSW, was an experienced pilot who had been loaned to the RFC and RAF from the AFC, and spent the War with the Central Despatch Pool as a test and ferry pilot – the only pilot to remain with the unit from formation until disbandment after the Armistice. A note on his medical file indicated that he was not to fly over 10000 feet/305 metres due to a perceived heart problem. McIntosh, born in Scotland, was a former member of the Australian Army Medical Corps who had enlisted in Western Australia before transferring to the flying service as hostilities ended, and had only flown once when he teamed up with Parer to fly to Australia. At this time the men had no aeroplane, but an AIF officer of their acquaintance suggested to the pair that it was possible that whisky magnate Peter Dawson might provide funds. After an approach by the airmen, Dawson supplied money sufficient to buy an FE 2b but, on reflection, it was decided that the type wasn’t really suitable for the envisaged journey. A further approach to the good Mr Dawson secured additional funds, and the purchase of the DH 9 was arranged.

Carrying a gift of Scotch for the Premier of NSW, and powered by a 200 hp Siddeley-Puma engine, the DH 9 – now proudly marked PD on the fuselage as a tribute to its sponsor - departed from Hounslow on 8 January 1920. Although the prize for the first flight had been won, Parer and McIntosh opted to continue their attempt, so as to be the first to complete the journey in a single-engine aeroplane. Seemingly inevitably for airmen trying to start the journey to Australia, the weather at departure wasn’t ideal, and the aeroplane was hampered by clouds and rain. Parer elected to land near Conteville for safety, buckling a wheel while doing so. A replacement wheel had to be obtained from Paris, and more bad weather delayed take off until 14 January, when a short flight to Paris took place. Progress across Europe was very slow, dogged by bad weather and engine malfunctions, including an in-flight fire over Italy. In Rome they had to appeal to Peter Dawson for extra funds, a request that the generous backer was able to satisfy. After Rome the next destination was Naples, which was reached only after a near disaster when the DH 9 encountered the hot gases rising from Mt Vesuvius as it approached the city on 2 February. Taranto was the next scheduled landing place, but the DH 9 was forced down at St Euphemia, near Stromboli, as the crew was exhausted after flying for three hours at 14000 feet/4265 metres without oxygen so as to clear the Apennines Mountains. Departure from St Euphemia was delayed when the airmen discovered that there was no petrol to be obtained closer than Naples, and that if fuel was obtained, it couldn’t be carried by train due to Italian railway regulations. The bureaucratic problem was overcome by persistence and Consular assistance, but a drum of 200 litres of petrol had to be hand-rolled the final 8 kilometres from St Euphemia station to the aeroplane.

The DH 9 eventually made it to Taranto dirigible station on 7 February and the crew was well treated by the Italian airmen there before they left five days later. The next stage was to Athens, via a diversion to Corfu to drop a wreath at St Georges Bay, the scene of the fatal crash of Howell and Kay’s Martinsyde. After Athens the next stop was Suda Bay on Crete on 18 February, where the Wilkins’ Blackburn Kangaroo had ended its journey. There Parer and McIntosh found Lt Potts, from the Kangaroo’s crew, stuck on the island looking after his aeroplane. Despite Potts’ pleas to stay longer, the DH 9 crew left Crete for Egypt two days later.

There was no airfield at Mersah Matruh, the destination in Egypt, but the DH 9 landed on a hard beach. The arrival was well timed, as the airmen overflew the ship that had been sent to remove the stores that were awaiting them. The next stop was Cairo, where Parer and McIntosh were quickly told that they were in the way of aeroplanes competing in the Cairo to Cape Town flight, so could they please move on to Heliopolis. This was done, and the DH 9 received a much needed overhaul from the RAF before flying on to Ramleh in Palestine on 26 February. Parer sought advice on the country to be covered in the next stages of the flight, and was told that most of it was occupied by hostile natives. There was a strong suggestion that the sensible course of action would be to simply return to London. However, nothing daunted, the airmen left for Baghdad the next day.

After some flying time, the engine began to play up, which necessitated a landing in the desert for some fairly quick attention before getting back into the air. Unfortunately, the time on the ground meant that Baghdad couldn’t be reached in daylight, and another desert landing was necessary. The desert night was cold and, after burning what bushes were available in an effort to generate some heat, the men had to sleep in the aeroplane. Dawn brought both light and a number of unfriendly, but fortunately unarmed, Arabs to the DH 9. It seemed that a demonstration of Western firepower might be required to deter the locals from hindering take off, and a hand grenade was detonated as a sample. It worked to a degree, and the aeroplane staggered into the air. Thirty minutes flying brought the men to Baghdad on 28 February, where they arrived to find that they were unexpected, as no signal advising of their forthcoming arrival had been received.

The DH 9 received some much-needed attention from the RAF in Baghdad before departure for Basra on 2 March. At Basra, Parer and McIntosh crossed paths with aircraft competing in the Rome-Tokyo Race. After a brief stay in Basra, the airmen headed for Bandar Abbas in Persia on 5 March, only to encounter a fierce dust storm on the way. The great danger here was that sand from the storm would clog the carburettor, and thereby stall the engine. However, the engine kept going, and the aeroplane made it to Bandar Abbas. More dust storms were encountered next day, as the machine flew to Chah Bahar, in Persia, and then on to Karachi next day, where the crew met Matthews and Kay in their Sopwith Wallaby. The two aircraft then flew on to Delhi, arriving on 9 March. At Delhi the DH 9 parted company with the Wallaby and flew to Allahabad on 11 March and then, after some minor mechanical repairs, on to Calcutta next day, flying through a rain storm on the way.

Officials from the Handley Page Company greeted the airmen in Calcutta, and arranged to have the DH 9 undergo a badly needed overhaul. The main problem facing Parer and McIntosh at this point was a distinct lack of funds, as they were down to only 6 shillings between them. In an effort to become financially viable again, the airmen embarked on a number of fund-raising projects, including leaflet drops and aerobatic displays. With their finances in better shape, the men left Calcutta for Burma on 1 April. The first day in Burma passed well, but on 2 April the planned flight was from Akyab to Rangoon over mountains and jungle that were said to be inhabited by unfriendly natives who were said to indulge in the odd bit of cannibalism. With this knowledge in mind, the airmen must have been most alarmed when the carburettor choked off the fuel supply to the engine, forcing the aeroplane to land on an island in the Irrawaddy River. When the aircraft rolled to a stop, Parer was out of the cockpit and attending to the engine in moments. As the airmen worked on the engine, hundreds of Burmese appeared on the banks of the river, eager to see just what was happening with this exotic thing that had dropped from the sky. After a while, some of the more adventurous natives swam to the island and crowded around the aeroplane, until they had to be dispersed with a flare from a Very pistol. After this, the locals were somehow persuaded to carry the aeroplane across the river to the bank, and to then hack a rudimentary runway from the foliage to allow a take off. Amazingly, this was accomplished, and the DH 9 headed for Rangoon, where their reception was a little frosty, as the aeroplane was late, and the airmen were informed in no uncertain terms that they had kept everyone waiting for two hours.

The airmen stayed in Rangoon until 4 April, which was enough time for both to receive proposals of marriage from a very wealthy Chinese businessman who was keen to have his daughters marry European officers. Unfortunately, the time in Rangoon wasn’t enough to have the engine overhauled, and the men planned to attend to this in Penang. Alas, the engine chose this stage of the flight to misbehave again, and began to misfire as the aeroplane flew over the 100 mile/160 km stretch of open water in the Gulf of Martaban. Then a hole appeared in the exhaust, which allowed flames to lick back along the fuselage. To add to the problem, fuel then began to leak from the gravity tank and three of the engine cylinders appeared to be loose. After a while, the engine simply stopped, and at 4000 feet, and in thick cloud, the DH 9 began to glide. McIntosh then started to blow up the tyre inner tubes that were carried as elementary life vests while Parer prepared for a ditching. At this point the engine decided to splutter back into life and the aircraft staggered towards the coastal town of Moulmein, where the racecourse was the designated landing ground. As Parer approached, he could see that most of the racecourse was covered with people (including the Frenchman Poulet) who were out to have a look at the aeroplane and the intrepid airmen. The police tried to clear a landing path, but without a great deal of success. In the event, Parer had no choice other than to crash in an area reasonably devoid of people and, fortunately, no one was injured. The same could not be said for the aeroplane.

On inspection it was revealed that the propeller was broken, the radiator crushed, the fuel tanks damaged, and the undercarriage wrecked. In 1920 aeroplane parts were somewhat thin on the ground in Asia, and the situation looked pretty grim. Two Italian mechanics were brought from Calcutta, and attended to much of the work, but the propeller and radiator were the main problems. A propeller was found in Calcutta, but it was really too heavy for the DH 9 while, in an inspired piece of improvisation, two Overland car radiators were bolted together to replace the aeroplane’s fitting. So, with these modifications on board, Parer and McIntosh finally left Moulmein on 26 May. Further flights in Burma were relatively uneventful, and things went fairly smoothly until the engine seized after the oil pressure dropped when the aeroplane was approaching Penang on 28 May. The DH 9 came down on a polo field at Georgetown, much to the chagrin of the polo players who were using it at the time

By 16 June the engine had been repaired and the DH 9 was towed through the streets of Georgetown to the racecourse, and the men took off for Singapore, only to have the exhaust pipe fracture when about 15 km from Penang. Parer elected to return, and landed at a rubber estate, only to have the tailskid break on landing. After repairs, the men left again and arrived in Singapore next day, landing at the racecourse.

The men stayed in Singapore until 20 July, during which time a more suitable propeller was fitted; this was the fourth propeller used on the flight. However, no better radiator could be found, and the aeroplane would have to continue with the adapted motor car fitting. Bad news then came from Australia: all fuel supplies between Darwin and Melbourne were sold, and that there would be no warship stationed between Timor and Darwin. If the DH 9 came down in the sea there would be no one standing by to rescue the fliers.

Nevertheless, the men managed to leave Singapore on 20 July, only to return some hours later due to strong winds and a thunderstorm that made progress impossible. The winds had abated next day, and the aeroplane made it to Muntok in the Netherlands East Indies, where Parer and McIntosh were again greeted by Frenchman Etienne Poulet, who was there with his second Caudron. At this point the airmen considered flying to Broome in Western Australia, rather than direct to Darwin, as that route would take them over islands every 200 miles/322 km, but the idea was abandoned. A forced landing in a river bed due to magneto problems when flying from Kalidjati to Samarang on 23 July turned out to be the last such landing on the journey, but the men’s troubles weren’t over. At Sourabang on 24 July the aeroplane ran into a ditch after landing, crushing the undercarriage and breaking the propeller. Fortunately, the Dutch authorities were able to assist with both repairs and spare parts – including the fifth propeller used on the journey - and the DH 9 was able to depart for Bima in West Timor on 30 July. After Bima, the next flight was to Atamboea – the last stop before Darwin!

Time at Atamboea was spent preparing for the long over water flight to Darwin, including fashioning a raft from fuel tanks and bamboo, with a [hopefully] shark-proof wire mesh floor. The raft was secured under the aeroplane, with the idea of using the fuel from the external tanks first, so that the empty tanks would float in the event of a ditching. The attached raft probably did very little for the aerodynamics of the DH 9, but would have been very useful if needed. Finally, on 2 August, G-EAQM left Timor for Darwin.

The aeroplane wouldn’t climb very well with the additional load and drag caused by the raft, so the flight across the Timor Sea took some six hours, which was longer than expected, and the crew were understandably very relieved when Bathurst Island finally came into sight. Forty five minutes after passing over the island, the DH 9 finally touched down in Darwin, and then came to a stop as its fuel tanks were absolutely empty.

Incredibly, the bottle of whisky survived the journey and its various mishaps, and was presented to Prime Minister Hughes.

Gareth

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Dolphin

Here's the last installment.

The Aftermath

Only two of the 1919-1920 aircraft made it to Australia under their own power. The Smith’s Vimy is now preserved at Adelaide Airport, while Parer and McIntosh’s DH 9 is preserved in the Australian War Memorial.

Capt Sir Ross Smith was to be killed alongside Lt J M Bennett in the crash of Vickers Viking amphibian G-EBBZ in England on 14 April 1922. By coincidence, another great Vickers Vimy pilot, Capt J W Alcock, lost his life in the same aircraft type in 1919.

Sir Keith Smith had a distinguished business career before he died in 1955.

Lt Walter Shiers took part in many aviation activities, and became a pilot in the 1930s. He died in Adelaide in 1968.

The domestic precinct at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport includes Ross Smith and Keith Smith Avenues, as well as Shiers Avenue. There was once a Bennett Avenue as well, but it disappeared when the International Terminal was expanded in the 1990s.

Lt Ray Parer had an adventurous career, including pioneer aviation work in New Guinea and service in the Second World War, as well as taking part in the 1934 Mac Roberson Air Race from England to Australia, when he flew Fairey Fox G-ACXO. He died in Brisbane in 1967.

Lt John McIntosh was killed in an aircraft accident in Western Australia when the de Havilland he was flying crashed at Pithara, some 250 km north east of Perth, on 28 March 1921. It was the first fatal air accident in WA. The scene of the crash is now named McIntosh Park.

Gareth

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melliget

Thanks for posting all this info, Gareth. Very interesting! Well done with all the work you've done on the subject. You've got to admire the men who took part, very courageous and determined men. It was obviously a dangerous undertaking. Again, it's sad that some of these heroic men survived the war only to die accidentally returning home.

cheers,

Martin

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Dolphin

Martin

I'm pleased that you found it interesting.

Fascinated as I am by the subject, I have to say that, given my choice, I'd rather do the journey in business class on board something made by Airbus or Boeing, sipping a sauvignon blanc and pondering the choice on the dinner menu.

Cheers

Gareth

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frev

Hi Gareth

Have just had a quick scan through some of your article (I know you wont mind if I copy it to read later!)

And you've not only inadvertently given me another 'accidental death' (to add to the other 17 you recently passed on) - but also a 'married O/S' - same person: Lt John Cowe McIntosh (married in England in 1916, died in WA 1921)

Thanks again for sharing so much of your research.

Cheers, Frev

PS - I agree with you on today's means of travel - though economy is all I can afford - it sure beats a wicker chair, even if it was strapped down!

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melliget

A sad, modern-day postscript, with echoes of the flights of 1919/20. A man has just died trying to do the same journey, UK to Australia, in a microlight. Flying for a great cause but what a tragedy for his family.

UK-Australia flight ends in tragedy

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/20/2796365.htm

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Dolphin

Martin

That's sad news indeed. It's still a perilous journey in an unsophisticated aeroplane.

Gareth

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beograd

Gareth,

can You quoted from which source You find the story of Sopwith Wallaby? I am particulary interesting for the part of that story dedicated to the Novi Sad. Have you more details about that?

I saw that story first time in the book ' The greatest flight ' by Peter McMillan, published in 1995. But the author(s) mistakenly concluded the first landing after Vienna were near Belgrade and didn't mentioned Novi Sad. I suppose that first landing after Vienna were near Szeged in Hungary, as that town are about 100 miles north from Belgrade. In that time, serbian military unit were in Szeged. Theoreticaly, the crew of Wallaby should landed near Subotica (today on the north of Serbia) situated some 20 kilometers south from Szeged, but I didn't find anything in the local newspapers from that time.

For all of that I think you have right.

Kind regards

Predrag

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Dolphin

Pedrag

Thank you for your interest in the flight. My sources for the Sopwith Wallaby story were:

Australia’s Greatest Air Race by Nelson Eustis;

British Aviation : The Great War and Armistice by Harald Penrose;

Sopwith : The Man and His Aircraft by Bruce Robertson; and

Sopwith Aircraft 1912-1920 by H F King

plus the on-line service records of the crew at the Australian National Archives.

I hope that this is useful.

Regards

Gareth

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beograd

Hi Gareth,

thank you for your kind reply. Can You specify from which of that book you find flight to Novi Sad? Also, I need some details about that book like name of publisher, name of town and year of publishing (ISBN number) as I consider to order in.

kind regards

Predrag

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Dolphin

Predrag

I think that the book you need is Australia's Greatest Air Race by Norman Eustis, ISBN 9871741108040. It was originally published in 1969, then re-published in 1977 and 2008, so there should be copies about.

You could try: http://www.newholland.com.au/product.php?isbn=9781741108040

Regards

Gareth

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Guest DavidAV

Hi

I am new to this site and haven't posted before. I have an interesting photo of the Alliance Seabird which flew in the UK to Australia Air Race. I would like to discuss it with Gareth as it seems he knows a lot of the history. I would like to find out which of the two Alliance aircraft is in this photo. This was in my fathers papers (he is one of the people in the photo) but alas I have no other information on why he was involved with the aircraft.

Would Gareth or anyone else be able to help me with this?

Cheers

Davidpost-93933-0-20678700-1352510338_thumb.j

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austin08

Hello all,

Vickers Vimy GEAOU arriving into Adelaide March 1920 ( as seen from a box brownie)

cheers,

Darylpost-39700-0-34382200-1352668157_thumb.j

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Dolphin

Hi

I am new to this site and haven't posted before. I have an interesting photo of the Alliance Seabird which flew in the UK to Australia Air Race. I would like to discuss it with Gareth as it seems he knows a lot of the history. I would like to find out which of the two Alliance aircraft is in this photo. This was in my fathers papers (he is one of the people in the photo) but alas I have no other information on why he was involved with the aircraft.

Would Gareth or anyone else be able to help me with this?

Cheers

Davidpost-93933-0-20678700-1352510338_thumb.j

Good afternoon David

First of all, I apologise for taking a while to respond, but I was away from my computer while attending a conference about the AFC.

The machine certainly looks like an Alliance P-2, but I confess to being a little confused by the roundels on the wings of a civilian aeroplane. I think that it might be Seabird, the first P-2, as all the rare photographs I've seen of Endeavour, the second machine (the one in which Lts Douglas and Ross were killed) show it in an overall light finish apart from the G-EAOX registration. No roundels are visible on Endeavour - though they could have been painted on after the photographs were taken - though this seems most unlikely.

I'm sorry that I don't have any other information at the moment.

Regards

Gareth

Hello all,

Vickers Vimy GEAOU arriving into Adelaide March 1920 ( as seen from a box brownie)

cheers,

Darylpost-39700-0-34382200-1352668157_thumb.j

Daryl

What a great [and historic] photograph!

Gareth

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Guest DavidAV

Hi Gareth

Thanks for replying. It is a bit of a mystery to me as well. One thing I have noticed is that in the photo the cowling is off and there appears to be some form of struts bolted to the engine to support the plane. This can be seen on the right hand side of the engine. I had recently read that the Alliance plane that was in the air race had crashed before it took part in the air race and had to be repaired before it went in the race. Maybe this is a photo of the plane during the repairs? It is obviously a photo of the plane when something is being done to it, ie it is not a photo with everyone posed in front of it like some of the others I have seen. The rondels have me baffled as well. So it is still a mystery.

Cheers

David

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Dolphin

David

I'm not quite sure about the struts bolted to the engine: Endeavour had three exhausts - one on each side and one on top of the engine, slightly offset to the right (when seen from the fuselage). The accounts I've read suggest a heavy landing during the 31 October test flight, and this might have caused problems anywhere in the fuselage.

I can't find a photo of the first P-2, Seabird that raced from London to Madrid, and I wonder if that machine sported roundels. Though why this might be the case baffles me, as I don't believe that it saw military service.

Regards

Gareth

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huberlu

Hello,
I'm looking for information about Caudron G-4 Etienne Poulet and his mechanic Benoist.
I have collected a lot of pictures, articles and even a film, but I do not have any information about the color of the inscriptions on the plane.
- Poulet, Benoist
- Advertising for Gnôme and Rhone engines
- Advertising for the varnish that covered the plane
- etc
I am looking for a press article (or something else) that mentions the color of these inscriptions.
I have read the previous comments and they show that research has already been conducted by their authors.

 

Maybe somebody could help me?

 

Cordially

air-journal-poulet-benoist-1919-France-australie.jpg

 

 

 

1919 Persia (Iran), windsock intern. 1998

windsock feb981.jpg

Edited by huberlu

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