Alan Cobham arrives in Darwin
Alan Cobham completed a number of long distance flights, including London to Cape Town and return, when he attempted to fly from England to Australia and back. Departing from the River Medway, England on 30 June 1926 in a De Havilland DH.50 he arrived at the Port of Darwin on 5 August 1926.
This footage shows a De Havilland DH.50 (G-AUAB) of the Civil Aviation Branch landing at Darwin prior to Cobham’s arrival. Cobham then lands on Darwin Harbour and taxis up to the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Geranium where he is officially welcomed and given three cheers by the crew. The navy then assist Cobham on Mindil Beach with removing the plane's floats and replacing them with wheels for use on aerodromes before continuing to fly to Melbourne.
He elected to fly with floats on his plane to land on water because he felt this gave him more opportunities to land, if he ran into difficulties on the long flight. During the flight from England, his mechanic (AB Elliot) had been shot by a Bedouin tribesperson and later died of his wounds while flying over Iraq. A replacement was found and Cobham was able to continue his journey.
Arriving back in England on 1 October 1926, Cobham became the first person to fly to Australia and back in the same aircraft and was knighted. Cobham would later fly around the continent of Africa, experiment with in-flight refuelling and star in a 1927 silent movie, The Flight Commander (Maurice Elvey, UK).
The de Havilland DH.50J float plane G-EBFO was purchased by Norman Brearley of West Australian Airways. It was shipped to Perth, rebuilt as VH-UMC and crashed at Mia Mia Station on 1 March 1934.