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Activities of the Royal Aero Club of South Australia (c.1935)

  1. VH_UAR Cirrus II Moth C/N 366
    Purchased by my father Charles Nevil Ker Bell.
    24 December 1940 Darwin: When Nevil awoke little did he know this 12th day of ownership was to be the last. He was asked by a buffalo shooter to pick up his sick wife from Oenpelli. The story, in his own words "To make room the long range tank was removed from the aeroplane. I took off at dawn on Christmas Eve and set course for the mission with a load of supplies and extra fuel for the return journey. Followed the coastline and missed the mission – got lost being too far south and ran out of fuel.
    I chose a clear patch to force land in and whilst endeavouring to land undershot and stalled into high timber on the edge of the clearing, and crashed through the trees breaking the fuselage in two. I was thrown out landing onto the bottom wing and knocked unconscious for a long time.
    Upon awakening found my mouth two inches above a pool of water. Gathering my senses washed my face. When my hand reached above my forehead I found my flying helmet had been pushed back and a large wound was felt. Immediately removed my helmet, dipped my head in the water and pulled the loose flesh and hair back over the wound patting it back into place. Again fell asleep.
    It was some time after the crash when I reawakened to hear an aircraft flying around the area. They apparently were searching for me. The sun began to set and the searching aircraft disappeared. My first thoughts then were ‘survival’ being around buffalo country and crocodile infested waters and I began to worry of my chances. Had a good look around and seeing the machine torn to shreds I cried like a baby to think of the loss of aircraft; it was a complete write off.
    The following morning again awakened to the terrific roar of aircraft engines as a Hudson passed overhead. It was later learned that it was the rear gunner who spotted the wreckage and reported the sighting. I managed to stand up and waved to let them know I was okay. They dropped emergency rations by parachute. I could not walk and expended my energy in crawling over to pick up the one of the ration cans dropped only to find it contained water.
    Buffalo were sighted and a restless wet night was spent with the thought of crocodiles and worrying swarms of mosquitoes. A roll of cloth was I carrying as freight helped to cover me and I also used it as a pillow. A third day and night followed with more of the same discomforts.
    A search party from the mission picked me up early the next morning and I had to ride a horse 35 miles to the mission. We camped one of the nights at Mudginberry Station. The Medical Service Fox with Roy Edwards and Rupert Catalona flew me back to the Darwin Hospital for admittance for a few days observation."

    Crash site: Mt Brockman 12°44’ S 132°54’ E. In 1960’s Nevil revisited the crash site. Only item recovered was the tail skid and is held by of one of his twin sons, David.

    Margaret Picard

  2. #1 from MargaretPicard – 9 years, 7 months ago.
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