Accessory Mascots

Aeroplanes:  1920s Gipsy Moth Biplane.

1920s British mascot of a Gipsy Moth biplane made by and marked to the rear of the base AEL.  The plane itself was made by the De Havilland Company and one was flown by the British female pioneer aviator Amy Johnson.

Amy Johnson was born in 1903 in Hull.  Her father was a prosperous fish merchant, who had taken over his familyís business.  Amy was the eldest of three daughters, she gained her full pilots licence in July 1929.

Amy planned to undertake a long distance flight and chose Australia.  On a wave of publicity her efforts to obtain support for the venture were rewarded, her family offered to buy an aeroplane, and Sir Sefton Brancker, Director of Civil Aviation at the Air Ministry, gave her an interview in March 1930.  He then wrote to Lord Wakefield, head of the Wakefield-Castrol oil company, to bring Johnsonís ambitions to his notice.

On meeting Amy in April 1930, the oil magnate agreed to share the cost of an aeroplane, £600, with Amy's father.  He also offered to arrange fuel supplies along the route to Australia.  Preparations for the flight now began, less than a year after her first solo flight.

The aircraft for her epic flight was delivered only three weeks prior to her planned journey.  Amy acquired a two-year old De Havilland Moth with a Gipsy engine which already had extra fuel tanks fitted, giving it a range of 13 hours flying time.  She christened it Jason, the trademark of the Johnson family fish business, and had it painted bottle green with silver lettering.

On the 5th of May 1930 Amy took off from Croydon Airport and so began her long journey to Australia, her route covered some 11,000 miles.  The final lap of her journey was completed on May 24th in the afternoon when she landed in Darwin, she became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

Amy Johnson died on the 5th of January 1941 after crashing over the Thames estuary after bailing out during a mission to deliver an Airspeed Oxford aeroplane, her body was never recovered, although her flying bag was found and is now in the Amy Johnson room at Sewerby Hall: