FLASHBACK TO 1930: Airship R101 bursts into flames over France

THE GIANT RIOI ON ITS FLIGHT TO INDIA. Below: THE DAILY SKETCH WAS JUST ONE OF WORLD NEWSPAPERS THAT CARRIED THE TRAGIC TRIP. 

A SECTION SHOWS THE PASSENGERS WERE RELAXED AND CONVERSING. ONLY A FEW SURVIVORS WERE LEFT TO TELL THEIR VIVID STORIES.

R101’s BLOWS UP AND THE GIANT CRASHED IN FLAMES.

DIRIGIBLE BLOWS UP. 42 PEOPLE LOST. TRAGIC END TO BRITISH AIRSHIPS AND THE END OF A GLORIOUS ADVENTURE TO INDIA.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

LONDON, Sunday: The giant airship R101, which was making a flight to India, blew up and burst into flames over the French town of Beauvais.

The Sunday papers had long gone to press and all England was enjoying an hour’s extra sleep owing to the length of the summer time, when there was a startling flash from the tape machines.

They stated that there was an explosion on the R101 and this message was followed immediately by the Paris announcement that an explosion occurred at 2.30am while the dirigible was a few miles from Beauvais.

This was obviously the route of the R101, which Londoners, a few hours previously, were trying to see through rain clouds.

The next message said that alarm was caused in Paris by an unconfirmed report that the airship had blown up but there were no details.

An anxious hour was passed before a Paris news agency reported from Beauvais tersely explaining that R101 had exploded. Another hour had passed. At 5 am came the terrible news that the R101 had crashed in a blaze of flames.
Only seven of the 53 aboard were saved and the rest were burnt to death.

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MILESTONES TO FREEDOM …
IN APRIL, 1963, WAS THE OZ TRIAL, IN WHICH RICHARD WALSH IS SENTENCED TO SIX MONTHS’ JAIL FOR PUBLISHING AN OBSCENE CARTOON IN OZ MAGAZINE. OZ WAS A SATIRICAL JOURNAL WHICH LAMBASTED THE VALUES OF THE MENZIES ERA. THE SENTENCE CAUSED PUBLIC OUTCRY AND WAS OVERTURNED IN 1966.
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The R101 was the biggest airship in the world. It left Cardington with floodlights gleaming on the silver of her massive frame. The flight was recognised as the most momentous in the development of the airship in the history of aviation.

Confidence was indicated among the passessgers as well as by Lord Thomson and Sir Sefton Branckner, both experts on aviation. They both lost their lives.

The flight was regarded as the forerunner of a regular airship service between Britain and India.

Although the flight from Britain to India was not as spectacular as the trans-atlantic voyage of the R101 … but interest in it was greater than any previous airship venture.

R100 and R101 were constructed on an entirely different principle. This trip used heavy fuel in the engine, which was as important moment in an aviation, was considered not only an advantage in eliminating carburettors but more economical than petrol.

The speed of the R101 was 75 miles an hour, with five motors in operation.

Whether the privilege of being allowed to smoke on board was conducive to the disaster, will not be established until a full investigation.

The airship crashed and burnt immediately.

<< Adapted from The Northern Daily Leader, October 6, 1930, Tamworth, NSW.


The big fight: Tommy Burns – top drawcard brought excitement to the ring!

FRANK MORRIS

Tommy Burns, regarded as one of Australia’s greatest drawcards, would pack out the stadium whenever he appeared.

Burns, known as “a glamour boy who drew a crowd”, passed away in February, 2011. 

He was 88.

Burns fought many famous fights at the Sydney Stadium, two of which were for Australian Welterweight Titles -- against Vic Patrick, 1946, and Hockey Bennell -- in early 1947.

“In his time Burns had 77 fights, won 61 and drew seven,” said Ron Murphy, a boxing writer. “He was inducted into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.”

Burns met Vic Patrick for the Australian Welterweight Title. Patrick retained the title by winning with a knockout in the ninth round.

Said Murphy: “Burns offered no excuses. ‘I never wore a hat but I will buy one so that I can raise it to Vic Patrick.’” Burns learnt a lot is his fight with Patrick.

In 1947, Burns pounded Hockey Bennell to the floor in their contest for the vacant Welterweight Championship.
Burns won by a TKO in round four.

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MILESTONES FOR FREEDOM …
IN JANUARY, 1964, THE BEATLES RELEASED, I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND, WHICH SOUNDS ‘INNOCENT’ ENOUGH. BY NOVEMBER 1968, THE ‘INNOCENT’ LYRIC HAD BEEN SUPPLANTED BY THEIR WHY DON’T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD.
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Some pundits predicted that his next fight was “probably his greatest” ever. American O’Neill Bell, showed what a capable gloveman he was, ducked under several long rights from Burns.

If they had connected it would have been good night Bell. Burns won by a knockout in the eleventh round. It was Burns finest moment. “I could have beaten any boxer in the world,” said Tommy Burns.

Burns took off six months from boxing and with his film-star look and sight on for acting in the Sons of Matthew for Charles Chauvel.

He lost his title in 1949 to Kevin Delaney, and then he retired. He took several jobs and then he came back to boxing. 

He retired again for the last time and spent his time travelling the club circuit showing fights and answering questions.

Burns was christened Geoffrey Murphy; this was changed to Reg Burns; then Tommy Burns, after the heavyweight who fought in Sydney in 1908.

PICTURE: And effective operator, a young Tommy Burns show what he’s made of.

COMING: Vic Patrick was Australia’s greatest-ever lightweight, having won the Championship of Australia from 1941 to 1948, and the national Welterweight Title from 1942 to 1946. He met Freddy Dawson who, later, turned in an epic fight, easily ranks as the best imported boxer to visit this country. The fight was in 1947. The defeated, Vic Patrick, was on his knees when he took the final count.


THE GOLDEN YEARS OF LEAGUE …

NORM PROVAN AND ARTHUR SUMMONS IN THEIR ‘WORKING CLOTHES’ EMBRACE FOR THE PICTURE OF A LIFETIME WHICH HAS BECOME AN ENBLEM OF THE NFL.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

ARTHUR SUMMONS, ‘THE GLADIATOR’, WAS THE DIMINUTIVE FORMER AUSTRALIAN CAPTAIN, COACH AND DUAL INTERNATIONAL, DIED AT 84 AFTER A BATTLE WITH CANCER IN MAY. HE WAS IMMORTALISED AND A CENTREPIECE ON THE NRL PREMIERSHIP TROPHY ALONGSIDE NORM PROVAN. IT EPITOMISED ALL THINGS LEAGUE STANDS FOR. THE PICTURE WAS TAKEN BY JOHN O’GREADY AFTER THE 1963 GRAND FINAL MUDBATH AT THE SCG.


FLASHBACK: That INCREDIBLE Weekly is a real goer!

GEORGE WARNECKE, WHO HELP FOUND THE JOURNAL, LOOKING FOR NEW FEATURES FOR AUSTRALIAN WOMEN. Below: VIGILS 1939 COVER SHOWING THREE SERVICEMEN READY FOR ACTION.

FRANK MORRIS

THE WEEKLY CHEERS UP A LOT OF AUSTRALIANS!

Despite a tenuous beginning during the worst of times, The Australian Women’s Weekly has survived since 1933.  The man behind the journal was George Warneck, part founder and first editor-in-chief.

When its first edition rolled off the presses 93 years ago, the Weekly magazine seemed to radiate confidence. It became another symbol of hope during the depths of the Great Depression.

Another indication that better times could be the ahead was the recently opened Sydney Harbour Bridge – “the graceful arch”. Both events happened when Australians needed a lot of cheering up.

The Depression worsened from the start of 1931 to become the bitterest and bleakest period of deprivation in Australian’s history; the greatest economic disaster the nation has seen, a time of severe social turmoil and stagnation.

The Weekly was the greatest show in town. The women, after all, were like bees to a honey jar.
Within three years the magazine soared from 92,000 copies to 360,000, and it continued to climb at a rocketing rate.

Women found The Weekly is an extremely interesting journal to pursue and often (to puts it mildly) more so than most Australian similar magazine.

In the early days, readers used to become ‘hooked’ on famous Mandrake. Created by Lee Falk and Phil Davis, the full-page step was introduced to the Weekly on December 1, 1934, seven months after it was launched.

The first glossy square-back quarto issue with its pages perfect-bound was released on December 1, 1979.

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MILESTONES TO FREEDOM …
IN MARCH 1964, MARY McCARTHY’S THE GROUP WAS BANNED IN VICTORIA BUT THE OBJECTIONABLE PASSAGES ARE READ INTO VICTORIA’S HANSARD, ON SALE FOR 4d … IN JULY 1965, LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER AND LOLITA ARE RELEASED BY THE COMMONWEALTH CENSOR. IN MELBOURNE, LADY CHATTERLEY, INITIALLY, SOLD AT THE RATE OF ONE EVERY TWO MINUTES.


FAMOUS WOMEN: Part 1. The brilliant career of Miles Franklin

FRANK MORRIS

AT AGE 20, MILES FRANKLIN WROTE WHAT WAS DESCRIBED AS “THE FIRST AUSTRALIAN NOVEL”, MY BRILLIANT CAREER, PUBLISHED IN 1901. HENRY LAWSON, ANOTHER ICON, ENTHUSIASTICALLY HERALDED THE BOOK AS BEING “BORN OF THE BUSH”. LAWSON WROTE, “THE BOOK IS TRUE TO AUSTRALIA”. A.G. STEPHENS, THE EMINENT CRITIC, SAID “SHE LOOKS AT THINGS, ABSOLUTELY, FROM AN AUSTRALIAN POINT OF VIEW”. IT WAS CRITICAL ACUMEN AT ITS MOST INCISIVE. FRANKLIN’S STAUNCH NATIONALISM STAYED WITH HER ALL HER LIFE. SHE WAS WRITING ABOUT IT WITH UNBRIDLED FERVOUR A MONTH BEFORE HER DEATH. HER PRIZE-WINNING CHRONICLE ABOUT AUSTRALIAN LIFE, ALL THAT SWAGGER, HAS BEEN ACCLAIMED AS HER “BEST BOOK”. SHE ESPOUSED AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE WITH A PASSION. IN RADIO BROADCASTS, UNIVERSITY LECTURES, OVER THE LAST 20-ODD YEARS OF HER LIFE, SHE EXPOSTULATED “WITH BURNING CERTAINLY”. IT’S A PASSION THAT LIVES BEYOND THE GRAVE. MILES FRANKLIN WAS BORN IN 1879 AND DIED IN 1954.

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VALE: REMEMBER LEAVE IT TO BEAVER ON AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION BACK IN THE 50s AND 60s? ACTOR KEN OSMOND, WHO PLAYED EDDIE HASKELL, HAS DIED. HE WAS 76.

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GRAND YEARS WILL BE PUBLISHED ON JUNE 12.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 28 May 20

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