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Billy Stutt and the Richmond Flyboys


frev
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Billy Stutt and the Richmond Flyboys

The New South Wales State Aviation School 1915 – 1918 and beyond

The above is the title of a new book – however this isn’t a book review as such – because my copy has only just arrived & I haven’t read it yet.

I came across this book while trying to find out more about William John (Billy) STUTT, who is mentioned on his wife’s grave in the Boroondara Cemetery.

The book, by Neville Hayes, was published this year by Pacific Downunder, and includes:

The Aviators

The stories behind the history

The Curtiss Jenny in Australia

The Air Adventures of Billy Stutt

The birth of the Richmond Air Base

It looks like a good read.

The following is the info gathered before the book arrived

[i’m hoping the book will add a lot more to his story – and the story of aviation in Australia.]

STUTT, William John

Born: 1890 Hawthorn, Vic

Son of William STUTT & his second wife Julia Mary CONLAN, who married in Vic in 1888 [sister, Annie Elizabeth born 1892 Hawthorn] [William (snr) born Co Fermanagh, Ireland – arrived Vic 1853 - died 1912 Doncaster, Vic, age 91(?)– Julia died 1950 Fitzroy, age 80]

Married: Stella Rosa REDDAN 1917 Sydney, NSW [stella died 1968 Kew, age 77 & is buried at the Boroondara Cemetery]

Children: 1. William John b.24/1/1918 Kew, Vic [RAAF – WW2]

2. John Daniel Reddan b.3/2/1919 Kew, Vic [Army & RAAF – WW2]

Died: 23/9/1920 – Lost at sea after his plane disappeared, whilst on Australia’s first air-sea rescue flight, searching for the missing schooner, Amelia J, in Bass Strait

[lost with him – Abner Gilchrist DALZELL, mechanic (ex AFC, 3rd Sqdn – Sgt 666, MSM)]

The air-sea rescue flight that resulted in the disappearance: Stutt & Dalzell “….left Point Cook [Vic] in a De Havilland 9A biplane [DH9A - E8616] on September 5 1920.”

A Court of Inquiry into the disappearance noted that “….the two aviators have died and that death occurred in performance of duty and recommends payment of compensation equivalent to pension that would be payable to members of the Forces who had died on Active Service.”

William John, known as Billy, served in WW1 as a Lieut in the Royal Flying Corps & a Capt in the AFC. [as per British Medal Index Card] In a letter he wrote in Feb 1920 he states “…I held a Commission in the Royal Flying Corps (Hampshire Aircraft Parks) in 1916 and as a member of that Corps not only served as a test pilot at the Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, England, but was also engaged in the ferrying of aeroplanes to St Omer, France, and the carrying of the King’s Messages from Hounslow to the Headquarters of the B.E.F. France.”

Stutt was also “an instructor for the NSW Government Aviation school at Richmond…”

(training pilots for WW1)

[photo in plane at Richmond 1917]

Hope someone else finds this of interest.

Cheers, Frev

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Frev

I ordered my copy earlier this week after the book was given a good endorsement at the latest meeting of the Australian Society of WWI Aero Historians. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Cheers

Gareth

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If anyone wants a photo of the grave I can get a snap in the next week or so.

Boroondara Cemetery was always known as Kew Cemetery for that is the suburb.

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Gareth - you'll probably get your copy read before me (in the middle of a few books at present) .....perhaps you could do a review... ;)

Spidge - no need - here it is:

post-4363-1211605389.jpg

Cheers, Frev

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G'day All,

I considered Neville Hayes a mate of mine and the NSW Aviation School certainly was his passion. Neville called a spade a spade and you never had to second guess what he was thinking.

We lost Neville suddenly in September 2005, but his brother Barry collated all of Neville's hard work and published the book.

For anyone who wants to buy this book they can click on the link below and order it.

Pacific Downunder

Regards,

Andrew.

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Andrew - I'm so sorry to hear this - but it's some consolation to know that all Neville's hard work wasn't lost in the ether.

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  • 1 year later...

Frev & Co.

Billy married Stella in Sydney, Easter 1917. Bill would send postcards to Stella from UK, with an aeroplane picture of course. Long time sweethearts. Stella's Dad was a councillor with Fitzroy Council, Victoria.

His two sons, Bill and John, are still alive and kicking - 95 and 93.

The DH9A in which he was reputed to have crashed into Bass Strait - there is strong evidence it crashed in dense bush north of St Helens in Tasmania. An oil cooler and some other items were discovered in the 50s.

More when I find out how to post a message!

Barry Hayes

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  • 3 weeks later...
If anyone wants a photo of the grave I can get a snap in the next week or so.

Boroondara Cemetery was always known as Kew Cemetery for that is the suburb.

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If anyone wants a photo of the grave I can get a snap in the next week or so.

Boroondara Cemetery was always known as Kew Cemetery for that is the suburb.

Not sure who it is wanting photos of graves and memorials, but I recently sent one to a family historian not on the net. Google James Richard Whitford. There is one for him at Five Dock Park, Five Dock NSW, and another at the War Memorial.

Cheers, Barry Hayes

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Hi Barry & welcome to the forum.

Thankyou for the update info on Billy's sons - amazing age.

I'm embarrassed to say I still haven't read my copy of the book - so many projects going at once, and endlessly side-tracked I'm afraid.

I've moved it back up to a higher priority.

Cheers, Frev

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  • 1 month later...
Hi Barry & welcome to the forum.

Thankyou for the update info on Billy's sons - amazing age.

I'm embarrassed to say I still haven't read my copy of the book - so many projects going at once, and endlessly side-tracked I'm afraid.

I've moved it back up to a higher priority.

Cheers, Frev

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Frev, Andrew & Co.

Thanks for the welcome.

Billy was also the first in Australia to fly between capital cities in one day­, 12th November 1917 from Melbourne to Sydney in a Curtiss JN-4B trainer. Due to magneto trouble he offloaded his mechanic passenger half-way after battling high winds and drenching rain for 2 hours. The US Government had banned use of the Bosch mag for obvious reasons, and the Dixie used was an often troublesome replacement. But with the engine missing from time to time he made it.

Barry, pacdown@nex.net.au

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  • 2 weeks later...
Frev, Andrew & Co.

Thanks for the welcome.

Billy was also the first in Australia to fly between capital cities in one day­, 12th November 1917 from Melbourne to Sydney in a Curtiss JN-4B trainer. Due to magneto trouble he offloaded his mechanic passenger half-way after battling high winds and drenching rain for 2 hours. The US Government had banned use of the Bosch mag for obvious reasons, and the Dixie used was an often troublesome replacement. But with the engine missing from time to time he made it.

Barry, pacdown@nex.net.au

All,

I have read Neville's book, and am pleased to say that it is an invaluable reference work that gives a description of each of the groups that passed through in each course, and goes on to give biographies of those fliers who participated in each of the courses.

Some readers may purchase the book because (for instance) their grandfather is mentioned in it, but will go on and read about the lives of those he flew with, and find it fascinating.

A good read, and recommended to all.

PS Barry, whilst the mechanic may have missed out on being a passenger in this historic flight, I'm willing to bet he was glad he was offloaded after 2 hours of flying in drenching rain.

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  • 7 years later...

This is a little after the fact (but still before the centenary of their disappearance) and some years after this thread but Australian airmen Sgt. Abner Gilchrist Dalzell and Capt. William John Stutt, Australian Air Corps, were accepted as war casualties by the CWGC in October 2014.

 

 

Not sure why the CWGC have them with the AFC and not the AAC (it was pre-RAAF) but at least they are commemorated. I contacted the AWM today asking why they are not on the Roll of Honour.

 

Almost 2 months after they went missing, the assistant lighthouse keeper on Goose Island, near Cape Barren and Flinders Islands (about 50 km North of the NE tip of Tasmania), reported finding plane wreckage. Not sure if this was investigated further and proved not to be their De HAVILAND 9A (Number E.8616).
http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=12095555

 

Was a proper search ever done North of St Helens, does anyone know? Even with a fire, you would expect some part of the plane to survive.

 

Martin

 

Edited by melliget
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Thanks Frev.

 

I came across that page the other night. Well done on putting that together.

 

Received a reply from the AWM today. They will look at adding Stutt and Dalzell but will not be able to do so for some months. They've got a bit a of a backlog, due to the increased interest associated with the centenary.

 

Regards,

 

Martin

 

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