Guy Menzies

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StateLibQld 2 112972 Guy Menzies.jpg
Mural (based on this photograph) commemorating Menzies' landing, Hari Hari, New Zealand.

Guy Lambton Menzies (20 August 1909[1] – 1 November 1940) was an Australian aviator who flew the first solo trans-Tasman flight, from Sydney, Australia to the West Coast of New Zealand, on 7 January 1931.

The first crossing of the Tasman by air had been achieved on 10–11 September 1928 by Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm in the Southern Cross. The plane Menzies used for his solo crossing was the Avro Sports Avian that Smith had flown from England to Australia, the Southern Cross Junior.[2] Fearing he might be denied permission for the flight,[3] Menzies informed the authorities and his family that he was flying to Perth. Instead, he left Sydney at 1 am on 7 January 1931, and headed for Blenheim, New Zealand. Poor weather forced Menzies off course, and after 11 hours and 45 minutes he crash-landed upside-down in the La Fontaine Swamp near Hari Hari on New Zealand's west coast.[4] Despite the unfortunate landing, he had broken Smith and Ulm's time by 2½ hours.

During the Second World War, Menzies was a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force. He and his crew were killed on 1 November 1940, when his flying boat was shot down over the Mediterranean en route from Malta to Sicily. No remains of the aircraft or crew were ever found.[5] He is commemorated at the Alamein Memorial in Egypt.[6]

On 7 January 2006, celebrations were held in Hari Hari to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Menzies' trans-Tasman voyage, and were marked by a re-enactment of the flight by adventurer Dick Smith.

References[edit]

  1. ^ AustLit. retrieved 23 February 2014
  2. ^ "Omaka Aerodrome History". Classic Fighters Charitable Trust. Retrieved 18 April 2006. 
  3. ^ Wearne, Max,. "The Life of Guy Menzies – The Forgotten Flyer". Retrieved 18 April 2006. 
  4. ^ Madgwick, Paul (2 May 2005). "Pilot to retrace famous flight". The Press. Retrieved 18 April 2006. 
  5. ^ Madgwick, Paul (8 January 2006). "Dick Smith recreates first solo trans-Tasman flight". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 April 2006. 
  6. ^ Alamein Memorial

External links[edit]