Showcase story #1

In de vitrine van Luchtvaartmuseum Aviodrome

It is 22 October 1934, day three of the London - Melbourne Air Race. KLM aircraft the Uiver is on its way from Batavia to Australia. The four-man crew, consisting of Koene Dirk Parmentier, Jan J. Moll, Douwe Prins and Cornelis "Kees" van Brugge, has acquired an excellent position in the flying race. The Douglas DC-2 plane is even on track for the prices. But then…

Dark clouds are gathering over Australia. The weather turns completely into a violent electrical storm. The radio contact is lost and the experienced aviators of the Uiver only occasionally see a glimpse of the ground. The device gets lost.

Captain Parmentier is circling above the city of Albury. Arthur Newnham, announcer of the local radio station, sees that. He rushes to the studio and summons Albury residents to come to the racecourse. There they have to set up their cars and turn on the lights, so that the crew of the Uiver knows they can make an emergency landing here.

In the meantime, a technician and a postal worker have been called. One can operate the city lights, the other knows Morse code. Together they signal the letters A-L-B-U-R-Y to the plane. About twenty minutes later, the Uiver lands on the muddy racecourse. Safe.

Still price

"The next morning Newnham made another call", Will Porrio tells, volunteer at Aviodrome Aviation Museum. “He asked residents to pull the plane out of the mud. This also worked, after which the Uiver could continue the race towards the finish in Melbourne. The British duo Scott and Campell Black became first in the speed classification and in the handicap classification the first prize went to the Uiver! Despite the emergency landing. ”

Gifts to Australia

The next day the newspapers were full of this unlikely story: it was world news. A party started in the Netherlands. “At the time, our country was in a deep crisis, but because of this trip there was finally something to celebrate ”, Will explains. “In that ecstasy, Amsterdam businessmen formed the Albury Committee. They raised money for a silver model of the Uiver as a gift to the city of Albury. Other people gave gifts to the announcer, the technician and the postal worker. And mayor Alfred Waugh was even appointed officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau by Queen Wilhelmina. ”

Crash in Syria

A month after the race, the euphoria turned to mourning. The Uiver was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Batavia, but crashed in the Syrian desert during harsh weather. All seven occupants were killed in the tragic accident. Will: “Now Mayor Waugh collected money for the Netherlands. When in August 1935 was in Amsterdam with his wife, he presented a bronze statue to mayor Willem de Vlugt. In memory of the unforgettable race and the fatal accident. ”

'Statue, woman, lion, marble base "

De Vlugt was presented with this statue in the then town hall, that is now a five star hotel. There the artwork got up to 1962 also a place of honor. "In that year the Amsterdam officials moved to new accommodation and the statue was lost ...", Will said. “The question where it was, kept me busy. Until I get in 2019 had a eureka moment. I contacted the curator of the Amsterdam Museum. And he took me to a huge depot at the harbor ... ”

And yes, there stood-ie. In a statement with the description "image, woman, lion, marble base ", origin unknown. “Since then, the statue has been on display in one of the showcases of our aviation museum. At least for the next fifteen years!” (* only available in the Netherlands)


Rubriek Showcase story

Behind every object in a display case is a special story. The showpiece has of course received the place of honor behind glass for a reason. We tell this historical, exciting and compelling stories in the section Showcase story.

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