Advanced search  
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Newspaper Account From Darwin  (Read 14578 times)

Wayne O'Neill

  • T1
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Newspaper Account From Darwin
« on: August 21, 2013, 12:38:53 AM »

The National Library of Australia has a wonderful online resource called Trove which includes digitized newspapers amongst many other records. I searched the newspaper archive today for “Earhart Darwin” and among the many hits was the following article from Brisbane’s Courier Mail, Tuesday 29 June 1937. Please bear in mind that this is an automatic electronic translation, but it seems pretty accurate. I’ve highlighted in bold a few passages which seem relevant to some of the discussions I’ve seen here about equipment on board the Electra.
“MISS EARHART ARRIVED IN AUSTRALIA
HEARTY WELCOME AT DARWIN   
Good Conditions Over the Timor
OFF TO NEW GUINEA TO-DAY
MISS AMELIA EARHART (Mrs. Putnam), accompanied by her navigator, Mr. Fred Noonan, of Pan-American Air ways, landed at the Ross Smith aerodrome at 1 1.25 a.m. Assisted by almost perfect flying conditions, which only yesterday replaced intense and persistent headwinds, the Lockheed Electra came roaring in high from the Timor Sea.   It took the town by surprise, but immediately the sound of the powerful twin engines was heard people flocked to the aerodrome. Bidding the great woman flyer welcome on behalf, of all Australia, Darwin greeted her with one of the brightest and mildest days in the calendar. The welcome was headed by the official party from the Residency. Although her companion appeared to be little affected by the long flight, Miss Earhart looked tired when she appeared smilingly before the crowd. She was hurried away to a quiet room in the Civil Aviation Administrative block to discuss with her agents arrangements for her short stay. One of her first actions was to ask for the civil aviation officer (Mr. Alan Collins) and inquire whether two Irvin caterpillar parachutes had been delivered from America. Fully tested and ready for immediate use, the parachutes were waiting in Mr. Collins' office. A safeguard against emergency, they will be carried on the hazardous final stages of the marathon flight. Then Miss Earhart asked to meet Mr. Dwyer, who has charge of the highly efficient meteorological station at the aerodrome. She thanked him for guidance and assistance. It has cost the Government more than £20 for cables and wireless messages used in dispatching weather forecasts to the Lockheed since it first approached Australia. Miss Earhart plans to continue the flight at daybreak, tomorrow. She will fly direct to Lae, New Guinea. On arrival she said she had intended to wait at Darwin only for re-fuelling purposes, but the late arrival made it impossible for her to cover the next stage of the journey in daylight. There was no necessity to take the risk of a night landing. When she was invited to dine at Government House she smiled, and pointed to the brown slacks and blue and brown check blouse she was wearing, and asked to be excused. 'These are the only clothes I have,' she added. During the afternoon, full of apologies for her informal dress, she called on the Administrator (Mr. Abbott) and she astounded him with her knowledge of Australia. She told Mr. Abbott she was very disappointed at not being able to see more of the Commonwealth. All day she has been busy hurrying backwards and forwards from the aerodrome, because she insisted on personally supervising the refuelling of the machine. She is staying to-night at the hotel which has housed almost all the many distinguished aviators who have visited Darwin. Blue-eyed Miss Earhart, from whose close-cropped hair a fringe curls disconcertingly across her forehead, has a personality of ever-changing moods of gaiety and gravity. From the moment she landed at Darwin she insisted that she should be known as Amelia Earhart, and not as Mrs. Putnam. The Administrator's car broke down as it was conveying her to the township for lunch, and nothing could dissuade her from immediately examining the trouble and prescribing a remedy. She was right in her diagnosis, as mechanics discovered later. This morning she checked every gallon which went into the tanks of the Lockheed. She refused to let any one assist with the writing of her exclusive story. She borrowed a type-writer, and completed the work as she ate her lunch. In the afternoon it was discovered that the wireless on the 'plane was useless through some unknown defect. It had been out of order during the crossing of the Timor. The airwoman climbed into the cockpit, clamped on the earphones, and proceeded to make tests herself. This time she was baffled, and eventually Sergeant Stan Rose, who has charge of the Darwin direction-finding radio station, came to her aid, and the trouble was righted in a few moments. 'Lady Lindy' thanked the mere man charmingly and sincerely, and said she hoped she would be able to do as much for an Australian if he visited the United States. Not an inch nor an ounce is wasted inside the machine. The navigator's table, equipped with electric lamp, chronometer, and numerous gauges, is fashioned across the top of the additional fuel tanks which fill most of the cabin. The sextant is fastened beneath a window. The butt of a heavy service revolver pokes out from a holster near the door of the cabin. If all goes well, Miss Earhart should be back in America before the end of this week. She said last night that she proposed to cover the final stage of the journey in four long hops. Tomorrow she will fly to Lae. The next day she plans, to reach Howland Island, then Honolulu, and finally Oakland (California).   Miss Earhart took off from Miami, Florida, on her round-the-world flight, with Captain Noonan as naviga- tor, at 7.40 a.m. on June 1 and landed at San Juan, on the Island of Puerto Rico, the same day. Next day she flew to Paramaribo, in Dutch Guiana, land- ing on June 3. On June 4, she took off for Natal, in Brazil, but decided to land at Fortaleza, from which she contemplated making her Atlantic crossing. However, on June 6 she left for Natal, and from there, on the following day, she took off across the Atlantic, landing at Dakar, in West Africa. Thence she flew to Gao, in French West Africa, and to Khartoum, which she reached on June 13. The next stages were to Massawa, Assab (Eritrea) and Karachi. During the last stage of this portion of the flight she crossed both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. She reached Karachi on June 15 and Calcutta on June 17. Leaving Calcutta on June 18 she was forced down by bad weather at Akyab. Then she flew to Bangkok and on to Rangoon and Singapore. She left Singapore on Monday of last week, and arrived at Bandoeng at 11 a.m. the same day. There she was delayed by an overhaul to her machine before making her next 'hop' to Darwin. This morning her preparations were complete, and she took off for Darwin.”
Logged

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 2901
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 06:19:02 AM »

The first two points are covered in the Ameliapedia: "Parachutes" and "Receiver fuse replaced in Darwin."

The claim about the "heavy service revolver" is news to me.  There have been many discussions about the "Flare pistol."


LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
Logged

Dave Potratz

  • T2
  • **
  • Posts: 75
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 09:36:06 AM »

The claim about the "heavy service revolver" is news to me.  There have been many discussions about the "Flare pistol."

A quick search yielded this example (see below) of a 1937 flare pistol.  IMO, if such an item was indeed observed sticking out of a holster as stated, one can imagine it easily misconstrued as a "heavy service revolver".

LTM
Logged

Wayne O'Neill

  • T1
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 07:16:25 PM »

Thanks guys, I should have known that most of that material would have been covered on the site already. I can also see how some types of flare gun could easily be mistaken for a revolver if holstered.

The TROVE site also throws up low resolution versions of relevant photographs & I’ll post a few here. If there’s any interest they’re available for purchase/research purposes from the relevant institutions (Australian National Archives, Northern Territory Library). Amelia is holding a camera in one of the shots.

Logged

Dave Potratz

  • T2
  • **
  • Posts: 75
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 01:51:54 PM »

Wayne, I neglected to mention in previous post what an interesting find you made.  In fact, I absorbed it with great interest, and didn't mean to seem as if I just wanted to poke a hole! 

The photos you added are also very interesting, and I think add to a subtext of the story of the Lost Flight (SPECULATION ALERT!! . . . SPECULATION ALERT!!):

I think that these photos help exemplify that we're glimpsing  (as corroborated in the piece) a quite tired individual; a person with a gradually diminishing personal "fuel tank". This can perhaps be conflated with other indications that at about this time Ms. Earhart was not feeling particularly well (this from mentions elsewhere in the Ameliapedia which I will not directly reference at this time).

The point I wish to make is that, after two more grueling legs by the time the crew reached Gardner Island (sprinkle in exasperation, mounting apprehension, alarm, and finally abject fear) I speculate that both the aircraft and the crew were not merely bone-tired, but were, as they say, "running on fumes".  I'm thinking the crew's "fuel" reserves were even more vaporous than the craft's.

Add to THAT, the fact that they now found themselves quite alone, with extremely limited supplies, in perhaps one of the more excruciating environments folks like them would normally find themselves.

I'm just saying that all of this would make it seem less and less likely that, as some have speculated, our tragic heroes shoulda/coulda/woulda immediately and continuously set themselves to scurrying around the site setting up signal fires, nor painting sides of ships, nor dashing fleetly through the Buka forest after the sound of zooming overhead aircraft. 

IMO, they would have scarcely had the energy to make it out to the reef and back to conduct nightly radio transmissions, which evidence says they did manage.



LTM, who is always bone-tired after a long flight.
Logged

Jeff Victor Hayden

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 1387
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 06:20:58 PM »

That's a very valid point Dave. She does look very tired, drawn and appears to have lost a lot of weight in these photos, not surprisingly and, as you rightly pointed out it was mentioned by others after the disappearance. The clue is in the second and third photos.
This must be the place
 
Logged

Stacy Galloway

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 59
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2013, 05:09:31 PM »

Thank you, Wayne, for posting the news article and the photos. 'Back in the day' the news articles were written with more flourish and details. That single news story contains a wealth of information. Although its been pointed out that this information is located in Ameliapedia, its been very nice to read it from a 'happening right now in 1937'  point of view.

The photos do show a thin and tired Amelia. I'm sure the physical and mental exertion was catching up to her.

The news article was also a nice reminder of what equipment was available and with her on her flight. Hopefully, we can find evidence of that equipment either through the newly found photos or during the next Niku expedition.

LTM~ Who's hoping for that 'smoking gun',
Stacy
TIGHAR #4284R
 
Logged

Jeff Victor Hayden

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 1387
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 11:54:32 AM »

Notice in the 2nd and 3rd photographs the white band of pale skin where her wrist watch strap prevented her skin becoming tanned? See how the watch strap has become looser and ridden up her forearm to a new position suggesting a significant loss of weight. IMHO
This must be the place
 
Logged

Dave Potratz

  • T2
  • **
  • Posts: 75
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 12:22:37 PM »

A telling observation indeed I think, Jeff Victor.  The irony one can surmise is that at a time mere days later when she needed the greatest stamina, she quite probably endured the least . . . and I can't imagine it wasn't straight downhill from there . . . perhaps until her craft was gone and she/they were in a position to focus more on pure survival . . . which of course also ultimately failed . . . sobering.

I know all of this thread (drift?) does nothing more than speculate on possible physical and mental state, but I would maintain that it still helps draw the picture of "rescue-ability" in other contexts.
Logged

Jeff Victor Hayden

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 1387
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 01:14:33 PM »

I agree Dave, from those photos and, the journey she had made up to that point, I wouldn't fancy her chances at playing castaway for very long.
This must be the place
 
Logged

James Champion

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2013, 06:00:03 PM »

The photos of posted by Wayne do make one wonder how fatigued AE and FN were by that point in their trip. Just this week at work I attended a 'Workplace Human Factors', and the section on 'Fatigue'. It certaintly made me think of just how worn-out they could have been. Posted below is one of the slides just as presented.
CAUSES OF FATIGUE
  • Long hours of labor (any type)
  • Stress of high intensity
  • Large temperature variations
  • Noise. . . above 80 db for long duration
  • Vibration for long periods and sufficient intensity
  • STRONG lighting
Intense exposure to just one of these would have been sufficient to cause fatigue. However, by the time they would have landed on Gardner they would have been far beyond any simple fatigue level.
Logged

Dave Potratz

  • T2
  • **
  • Posts: 75
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2013, 12:44:37 PM »

An impressive and telling list, James.  I'm thinking our duo were experiencing each cranked up to "11", especially on the Lae-Howland leg. 

Now, add to that list the exponential multiplier that upon attaining the expected distance toward Howland, which surely represented some sorely needed rest . . . the island . . . was not there.

I find it something of a tribute to the human spirit that upon finally reaching Gardner, that they had the stamina to make any accomplishing effort at all.
Logged

James Champion

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2013, 07:18:11 PM »

Less than a week after Darwin they would have been approaching Howand. Itasca's radioman Leo Bellarts told to Elgen Long in 1973 that Amelia in her last messages sounded like she almost broke out in a scream.  Fatigue, stress, the only thing that was left was adrenaline to run on. But if they did reach Gardner, then the nightmare was only begining...
Logged

Dave Potratz

  • T2
  • **
  • Posts: 75
Re: Newspaper Account From Darwin
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2013, 12:30:00 PM »

...in her last messages sounded like she almost broke out in a scream.  Fatigue, stress, the only thing that was left was adrenaline to run on. But if they did reach Gardner, then the nightmare was only begining...

Yes James, that's where my mind always goes when musing on this:  Leo Bellarts' apropos comment on the emotional component in her voice at that time speaks volumes as to her apparent mental state, still some hours from relief of any kind.

And when that adrenaline flow wanes upon touchdown on the Gardener reef, THEN what reserves does one call upon? What is the quality/reliability of such reserves?  What impact on immediate actions/reactions?

Fascinating to contemplate . . .
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 

Copyright 2018 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at: info@tighar.org • Phone: 610-467-1937 • Membership formwebmaster@tighar.org

Powered by MySQL SMF 2.0.15 | SMF © 2017, Simple Machines Powered by PHP