Our presenter for our September meeting was aviation expert David Goldsmith, who took us through the attempts to break aviation records by flying from England to Australia and back. Whilst flights from places like Croydon, Heston, Gravesend and Mildenhall were covered, many of these flights were to and from Lympne. David will cover flights to other destinations like South Africa, Brazil, USA and other countries in the second part of his presentation in January.
Such flights to Australia started in 1928 and continued for ten years, in which time we saw that the duration came down from weeks to just over a couple of days. The technology of the aircraft concerned moved dramatically from the ex WW1 Vickers Vimy bomber to relatively high tech inline engine monoplanes of the late 1930’s. There were 64 such flights in this time, 29 of which were from Lympne, more than any other airfield. Some flights were flown by more than one person, but many were solo. The first solo record went to Australian Bert Hinkler in 1928 through to Jimmy Broadbent in 1938. Broadbent would go on fly Bristol Freighters from Lympne for Silver City after the war. Other names making such flights were Amy Johnson, Jean Batten, Charles Scott, Charles Kingsford Smith and many others. One interesting character to fly from Lympne was the Master of Semphill, aka William Francis Ford Semphill. After he died, it was revealed that he was providing sensitive naval and aviation secrets to the Japanese before the war. Afforded the protection of Churchill, Semphill would go down in history as a spy.
The McRobertson Mildenhall to Melbourne air race of 1934 was famous for three twin engine DH Comet Racers taking part, with the red painted Grosvenor House crewed by Charles Scott and Tom Campbell Black proving to be the winner. Amy Johnson and Jim Mollison in Black Magic failed to reach Melbourne with engine trouble. What is seldom pointed out is that the third Comet crewed by Waller and Cathcart-Jones flew back to Lympne in record time.
Sadly Australians Hinkler, Kingsford Smith, Italian Robbiano and Briton Eric Hook died making such attempts, the latter three from Lympne.
Our next meeting takes place at Lympne Castle on November 15th, and will feature a review of our 2016 presentations, whilst also looking forward to our 2017 meetings. So please feel free to enjoy our continuing celebration of our Airfield in the wonderful surroundings of Lympne Castle’s East Bar. Thanks to Richard and Rod for providing the Castle in this way.
For more information; John Simpson 01303 265078
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.lympneairfield.com/