Sultan Ismail; Thanks for the pretty picture, I didn't know that Batavia Air even existed. My comment about liking the word Batavia was simply because it is a name from history that I thought had been consigned to the scrap heap like Jesselton and a few others. However it would seem that some local sentiment still remains in the form of Batavia Air. Is it true that Port Swettenham and Telok Anson have also been renamed ? Regards. 828a.
WHBM; Definitely only 3 Rapides in my log book. The policy was fly them all day and work on them at night. There was no night schedules. The chief engineer was an Englishman who knew the aircraft backwards and he was the one who kept them going. A PM on the way. Regards 828a
This is the DC-3 part of the service in 1956. With my professional timetabling hat on I think one or two flights are missed out, as the services are unbalanced. These errors used to happen quite a lot in the old days, goodness knows how they sold seats on the flights missed out !
7 aircraft required on schedules out of 11 in the fleet. About par for the course in those days.
Separately, about the Dan-Air Yorks:
Dan-Air came late to the Woomera contract, they started in 1959 with a Bristol Freighter which took 12 days each way from Blackbushe. A surprising choice of aircraft for such an arduous route but there you go. Later they supplemented this with their Yorks. Before this the Yorks had been doing MoD freight charters from Britain to Singapore.
The York lost over India was possibly Dan-Airís G-AMUV, which went down on 25 May 58, presumably on the Singapore contract.
I remember seeing York freighters transiting there to refuel on their way to and from the rocket range in Woomera Australia. At the time I thought them some sort of monster with their oil stains and their noisy crackling engines but I also thought they must have been exciting to fly. I think those Yorks belonged to Dan Air but I'm not sure and if so Arthur Larkman would have been flying them.
It was indeed a DA York. They won the contract from the Air Ministry and used two Yorks from Freddie Laker's company, AIR CHARTER, at STN along with the others used on the Lyneham - Singapore run.
The Bristol Freighters were used as they had a belly that would 'swallow' most things - 2360 cubic feet of obstruction free space.
G-AINL was the first one then, G-APLH on the 31 Mar 1957.
The Freighter was apparently the only British aircraft that could accomodate the "Black Knight" rocket. Due to the secret nature of these flights, a circuitous route had to be followed and Customs sometimes had to be 'hoodwinked'!!! The book I have mentions the cargo as being "Agricultural Machinery"!!
Captain Arthur Larkman made 11 of these flight UK-Woomara, at 170 hrs/trip.
The York sadly lost was G-AMUV which was purchased from the RAF. It's markings during RAF service were: MW226.......... XD623............. XD669. Don't ask me why it needed all these changes in reg!
If anybody has a photo of a DA York with a "Wallaby" on the nose, there is a very amusing story on Page 19 of "The Spirit of Dan Air" (Graham Simons) of how that came about.
Captain John Cameron was DA's Chief Pilot at the time and Arthur was in the bar at Singapore ordering drinks, and noticed John was ordering plate after plate after plate of salad............ that was to feed the wallaby in his room!! John had to stop-over at Alice Springs and the staff there presented him with this youngster! It reached England OK and was later presented to a zoo in Sussex, and as Arthur notes in the book, "....... where I believe they now have a colony".
John was the man who persuaded Arthur to leave Malayan Airways and join DA - that happened in Sep 1956.
Best wishes TG
Last edited by Evileyes; 31st Oct 2006 at 15:06.
Reason: A P.S. to mention that One crew member survided that crash of G-AMUV and that was the Radio Operator, Jack Maloney.
Tartan Giant: It all makes sense to me now seeing those Yorks coming and going from Labuan in 1957. I always wondered what they were doing but it was not for me to ask (farm machinery eh). They added some colour to a rather quiet place only populated by Malayan Airways DC3s and their (Borneo Airways) Rapides. Cathay Pacific Airways arrived once a week in their DC4 but that was about it. Your mention of Captain John Cameron reminds me that even though he left Malayan Airways before I joined there was a legion of stories about him. It seems there were three captains there who were good mates. John Cameron, Arthur Larkman and Joe Hutchison. These three gentlemen came from the same mould. I became close friends with Joe Hutchison who stayed on with Malayan Airways, we flew together often on the DC3 and 102 Britannia (which was on lease from BOAC) and shared many a laugh. Regards 828a
9vspotter; Malayan Airways did indeed fly daily early morning newspaper freighter flights from Singapore into Malaya. They used their regular DC-3 passenger aircraft with the newspapers packed in bundles and tied down on the passengers seats. A hostess was always part of the crew on these freighters as passengers were carried on the return flights to Singapore. ML122 newspaper flight departed Singapore for Kuala Lumpur at 0425. ML106 newspaper flight departed Singapore at 0455 for Ipoh and Penang. In addition to this around 1961 an ex Malayan Airways captain named Jan Bussel arranged a contract with the Singapore Straits Times to fly their printers " flongs " from Singaore to Kuala Lumpur each night which would allow the printing of their paper in Kuala Lumpur. Captain Bussel formed a company called " Malaysia Air Charter " using a twin engined Cessna 310 and later a single engine Cessna 185. The flight carrying the " flongs " departed Singapore around midnight which allowed them to be in Kuala Lumpur for the printing of that days local edition of the Straits Times. The pilot of the Cessna 185 always wore a parachute. It was a most enterprising arrangement that accepted the possibility of an engine failure over the jungle at night and the hazard of thunderstorms , no radar and a comparatively frail aircraft. Hence the parachute. Two of Malayan Airways locally employed First Officers left Malayan Airways to do this work with Jan Bussel. They were Amisn Gill and John Pereira both good pilots and good guys. 828a.
Your information is most interesting. I wish I could talk to the people you mentioned!
Am reading a book, "Dateline Singapore - 150 years of the Straits Times", by Mary Turnbull which was published in 1995. In it, there was mention of Straits Times using its company's own aircraft to carry matrices between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with a footnote that this info was extracted from a February 1960 Director's Report. Could this aircraft be the chartered Cessnas you mentioned?
My records showed MAC operated two Cessna 310s (9M-AME & 9M-AMH) and a Cessna 185 (9M-AMK) in the 1960s.
Does anyone also have any information relating to four Avro Ansons operated by a Chinese Newspaper, with the title "Nanyang Airways" painted above the fuselage windows?
9vspotter; There was an Avro Anson dumped behind the main hangar of the Royal Singapore Flying Club at Paya Lebar airport. I first saw it in 1955 but I can't tell you anything about it as it appeared to be disowned. If the flying club has kept any of their early records then they may be able to tell you something about it which could give you a lead to Nanyang Airways. Good hunting. Regards, 828a.
9vspotter: You may find this of interest. Go to Google search and type in "Nanyang Airways Avro Anson" and the A.J. Jackson Aviation page comes up with a list of Avro Anson registrations for various countries. Scroll down the entries to the VRs and the following is listed.
(1) VR-SDM Avro Anson Nanyang Airways.
(2) VR-SDT Avro Anson Nanyang Airways. These entries mean that photographs of the two aircraft are available from the Jackson collection. On another page of the Jackson collection entitled "List of Negatives of British Colonial VQ-VR civil aircraft" there are five Ansons shown as registered in Singapore, the three additional Ansons apart from the above are VR-SDK VR-TAQ and VR-TAT. Their ownership is not shown so the mystery of Nanyang Airways deepenes. In all the years I spent living in Singapore and flying for Malayan Airways I never once heard the name Nanyang Airways mentioned. Now after all this time I suppose that's reason enough to wonder who they were and what they did. Regards 828a
Alexander Frater, in the book I referenced above, wrote that when he was on the spot and he went looking for detail of the Imperial Airways flying boat service, which passed through Malaya in the 1930s and must have been a real significant event, he consistently found no records or even interest in the past, it seems that historical detail is not a universally shared interest round the world.
There may well be more details of the early Malayan fleet in the various A J Jackson/Putnam books published in the 1960s about the DH Rapide, the Avro Anson, and the Airspeed Consul (this last type we have not discussed yet but Malayan also had them in its early days). I don't have these any longer but others maybe do. Same author as had the photo collection referred to above.
Finished my PPL with the Royal Singapore Aero Club, issued 24.10.59. Did the flight test with Jack Clegg, the ops mgr/ chief pilot if memory serves correctly was a gentleman called Rudy Frey. Did a dual check in DH82 VR-SCX with a P. Owens. Type rating DHC1 VR-SDW with Rudy Frey 14.12.59
Any of these names ring a bell?
Last edited by prospector; 17th Nov 2006 at 07:41.
I flew on a Malayan Airlines DC-3 (1960 or so) several times from, I believe Malacca to Pekanbaru, Sumatra. Anyone out there aware of this schedule? Also, my father worked for Caltex Oil Company in Sumatra, and we flew a Caltex company DC-3 from Singapore to Sumatra many times. Anyone have any info or recollection of this plane?
As promised some notes from the Malayan Airways timetable for 1956, which includes not only the DC-3 services but also the Rapides in Borneo which 828a was operating.
[snip] Rapides first. 3 aircraft. Labuan 0620 ML618 Anduki 0730 Lutong 0805 Sibu 1040 Sibu 1235 ML619 Lutong 1510 Anduki 1545 Labuan 1655
I used to live in Borneo, and often travelled as pax between Anduki (the field for the oil town of Seria), and Labuan, and onward points. I remember seeing a Rapide at Labuan, though I never travelled on one. I think we always travelled on a Percival Prince out of Anduki to Labuan - would I be correct in thinking that was operated by Shell?
Originally Posted by WHBM
This is the DC-3 part of the service in 1956. With my professional timetabling hat on I think one or two flights are missed out, as the services are unbalanced.
[snip] Sandakan 0745 ML411 A/C 7 Jesselton 0845/0905 ML407 Labuan 0950/1010 Sibu 1245 Kuching 1345/1405 Singapore 1645
Sharing some memories - I flew on that route, Labuan to Singapore, in 1957, leaving Borneo for the last time. We left from Anduki - pretty sure it was in a Prince - and stayed at the resthouse in Labuan - I seem to remember a two-storey building - which itself was unusual because the resthouses in Seria and Lutong were single storey. I think we must have had a spare day because we went to visit the memorial to the 1945 end of hostilities and I still have a photo of that. Perhaps these flights weren't daily?
I certainly remember the yellow stripe on the Malayan Airways DC3s, and the "very" steep walk, it seemed to me, to move from the door to the seats towards the front. And the sound of the engine - it was so distinctive. We took the DC3 to Sibu, Kuching, and Singapore - it had always seemed a long flight, and looking at the schedule you've posted it confirms it - surprisingly long, I thought at the time, from Labuan to Sibu. In Singapore we embarked on a Britannia for London. That was a long flight too, stopping at Calcutta, Karachi, Beirut, and Zurich. We touched down in Beirut as a colourful dawn was breaking. I remember the complimentary refreshment in the terminal if you were in transit. And the postcard in the seat pocket. (Why "don't" they do that anymore - such a simple way to bind the customer, and free advertising on a person to person basis, and just pennies.)
I went back recently. Anduki looks just the same. Well, almost. The shape is the same, as is the forest adjacent to the strip - it looked just as it did 50 years ago, and most of the buildings - the hangars on the right, the passenger terminal on the left. The field is half-tarmac now - it used to be grass with a sort of metal lattice on it or in it. I think the control tower is repositioned though. I formed the impression there are no fixed wing operations there now, only helicopters out to the offshore installations. But there's a good highway now to the capital, so scheduled air services perhaps aren't needed anymore.
Last edited by Westerman; 25th Nov 2006 at 16:52.
Tartan Giant: I have Captain Arthur Larkman's book "Chance Encounters" and what a pleasure it has been to read. It contains nostalgic memories galore for me and I must sincerely thank you for telling me about it. I missed meeting Arthur by a small margin as he left as I joined, however most of the characters he talks of were still there and the photographs seem to me to be as of last week!!! Once again, thanks a million. WHBM: Thanks for putting up the Malayan Airways DC3 schedules and the Borneo Airways DH 89a Rapide schedules. They have allowed me to blow away a few cobwebs which are starting to form, actually I am annoyed with myself for not keeping more items like those schedules but of course at the time one thinks the years will go on forever and everything can be retained in the memory. It doesn't work like that. I owe you one. Prospector: I knew Jack Clegg very well as we were both friend and colleague. Jack resigned from Malayan Airways about 1962 to join Air New Zealand and he was promoted to captain on their DC8. Rudy Frey was also a friend as he administered the Royal Singapore Flying Club very efficiently and kept an eye on the flying instructors (like me). He also ran the engineering side of things and kept the aircraft in good condition. Rudy was responsible for allocating the rubber plantation "pay drops" in which tough canvaas bags of bank notes were dropped into the plantations to pay the tappers. (This was to avoid confronting the terrorists who were along the roads during the Emergency). Dropping from the Tiger Moth was really good fun and something I looked forward to on the days I was not flying with Malayan Airways. Peter Owens also resigned from Malayan Airways about 1963 and went back to England to fly for a small domestic operator and I lost contact with him. Great days as I am sure you will agree. westerman: You are correct , it was a Percival Prince and it was operated by Shell. They mainly operated to the oil fields along the Northern Coast of Borneo ie Brunei, Anduki, Miri, Sibu, etc. Occasionally the aircraft was to be seen in Singapore but I think that was for annual maintenance. It's just possible that I may have flown you from Labuan to Singapore in that Malayan Airways DC3 back in 1957. The route and stops were just as you described and the Malayan crews did it regularly. The flight originated in Sandakan and it was a long day by the time Singapore was reached but really no hardship. If you remember the long yellow stripe then you must remember the Tiger head with the whiskers and it goes without saying that you remember the nice things about the hostess. Thanks for sharing the memories you reminded me of a few things I almost ( but not quite) have forgotten. It's a pity you never had a ride on Borneo Airways DH 89a Rapides as I am sure you would have enjoyed it. I've only recently been thinking about all the security rubbish one has to endure these days and can't help but to compare it to those Rapides days. A regular passenger on the Rapides was the Sultan of Brunei (the present Sultan's father) who always travelled alone. He would be given two seats side by side and after sitting down would unholster his revolver and placed it on the empty seat next to him. The other passengers took no notice of him or his revolver. I can see him now just sitting there with the gun in plain view for all to see. Boy how things have changed. LeXs: I can't recall any Malayan Airways DC3 services from Malacca to Pekanbaru as the only scheduled DC3 flights I ever did went to Medan and Palembang. I remember the Caltex DC3 as it was frequently seen in Singapore and it seemed to operate only to destinations in Indonesia. I think it was based in Djakarta (note the "D"). Shell also operated a DC3 based in Indonesia. Regards to all 828a
Tartan Giant; I sent your photograph to Captain Harry A' Court one of the original Malayan Airways pilots ( now aged 83 ) and he says the pilot is Pod Hodnett who joined in 1948. Pod did not stay long but returned to England to rejoin the RAF. His name is mentioned in " Chance Encounters " on page 25 . Harry could not identify the hostess and this rather surprised me. I'm sorry I could not get this to you earlier but E-mailing when you are travelling is a bit hard and especially so for someone who is not very good at it . Regards, 828a
PS, Tried to send you a Private Message but it would not go through.