Sunday 20 August 2017

Sunday Snap – The Aviatrix

We were off to the Kent coast for last week's Sunday Snap of a pier in two parts. I asked where the pier was and the answer is

Herne Bay

Breezing along with the right answer were Elaine and Anne.

This week we are staying on the seafront at Herne Bay with a statue of a famous aviatrix. On 5th January 1941 she was meant to be flying from Blackpool to Oxford but the adverse weather conditions sent her off course. At around 3.30pm a convoy of ships was approaching Knock John Buoy on Tizard Bank off Herne Bay. Through the snow some of the crew spotted an aeroplane and a figure parachuting down into the water. Another person was seen in the water. A rescue attempt was made by one of the crew of the HMS Hasslemere as he dived into the freezing cold water and swam out to where he had spotted objects floating in the water. He never found the pilot or passenger and by the time he was rescued he had been in the water so long he died of exposure himself. Although personal items such as a travelling bag, cheque book and logbook were washed up nearby the two bodies and the plane have never been found.

Many questions still surround the flight and its ending. The pilot was part of the Air Transport Auxiliary which used to ferry around planes during the war for the RAF. If she was supposed to be flying to RAF Kidlington near Oxford how did she go so far off course? Two persons were spotted but the identity of the passenger remains unknown. Was she on a secret wartime mission? As no wreckage has ever been found the reason for the crash has never been determined. Bad weather may have been a factor but there is also a theory the plane was shot down after it failed to give the correct call sign when asked.

It was very different ending to the flight that our aviation heroine had undertaken in May 1930. On 5th May 1930 with a just a packet of sandwiches and a thermos flask she set off from Croydon Aerodrome in an attempt to become the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. The route she had mapped out was done by simply drawing a straight line from A to B. This was not the easiest route as it took in uncharted land and dangerous terrain. She had no radio contact or reliable weather information but she had to stick to her route as her fuel was waiting at each intended stop. On 24th May after flying 11,000 miles she landed in Darwin. She had only gained her pilot's licence the previous year. Prior to this flight the furthest she had flown was from London to Hull. After that she set records for flying to Moscow, Tokyo, Cape Town and New York. Everywhere she went she was received by admiring and rapturous crowds. Women would ask their hairdressers to style their hair in a similar wave to hers. Not bad for a fish merchant's daughter from Hull. This week's question is

Who is the record breaking pilot?

We were joined last week by Susan having a fun filled last week of the holidays. Anne was at the beach inbetween some very changeable skies. The colourful boats were lined up ready to go for Sue. Continuing our sea theme is Soma with an ocean inspired summer sailboat quilt.

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Sunday Snap

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  1. I'm sure this is the statue of Amy Johnstone. It was in the news a few years back. I always feel sad when bodies are never found & they can be laid to rest x

  2. The only female pilot I know of is Amy Johnson

  3. It has to be the famous Amy Johnson. What a shame about the un-found bodies though x

  4. Such a sad story. This is Amy Johnson I think


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