The Info List - Amy Johnson

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Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
CBE (1 July 1903 – 5 January 1941) was a pioneering English aviator who was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, she set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. She flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary
Air Transport Auxiliary
and died during a ferry flight.[1]


1 Early life 2 Aviation career 3 Second World War 4 Death

4.1 Disputed circumstances

5 Honours and tributes 6 In popular culture 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References

9.1 Citations 9.2 Bibliography

10 External links

Early life[edit] Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
was born at 154 St. George's Road in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, the eldest of the four daughters of John William Johnson, a member of the family fish merchants firm of Andrew Johnson, Knudtzon and Company, and Amy Hodge, granddaughter of William Hodge, Mayor of Hull in 1860.[2] Johnson was educated at Boulevard Municipal Secondary School (later Kingston High School) and the University of Sheffield, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.[3] She then worked in London as secretary to a solicitor, William Charles Crocker. She was introduced to flying as a hobby, gaining an aviator's certificate, No. 8662, on 28 June 1929,[4] and a pilot's "A" Licence, No. 1979, on 6 July 1929, both at the London Aeroplane Club under the tutelage of Captain Valentine Baker. In that same year, she became the first British woman to obtain a ground engineer's "C" licence.[5] Aviation career[edit]

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, July 1930

Johnson obtained the funds for her first aircraft from her father, who would always be one of her strongest supporters, and Lord Wakefield.[6] She purchased a second-hand de Havilland DH.60 Gipsy Moth G-AAAH and named it Jason after her father's business trade mark.[Note 1] Johnson achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman pilot or aviatrix to fly solo from England to Australia. Flying G-AAAH Jason, she left Croydon, south of London, on 5 May and after flying 11,000 miles (18,000 km) damaged her aircraft on landing at Darwin, Northern Territory
Darwin, Northern Territory
on 24 May.[7] The aircraft is preserved in the Science Museum, London. She received the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE in George V's 1930 Birthday Honours in recognition of this achievement, and was also honoured with the No. 1 civil pilot's licence under Australia's 1921 Air Navigation Regulations.[8][9][Note 2] Johnson next obtained de Havilland DH.80 Puss Moth G-AAZV which she named Jason II. In July 1931, she and co-pilot Jack Humphreys became the first to fly from London to Moscow
in one day, completing the 1,760 miles (2,830 km) journey in approximately 21 hours. From there, they continued across Siberia
and on to Tokyo, setting a record time for Britain to Japan.[10] In 1932, Johnson married Scottish pilot Jim Mollison, who had proposed to her during a flight together some eight hours after they had first met. In July 1932, Johnson set a solo record for the flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa in Puss Moth G-ACAB, named Desert Cloud, breaking her new husband's record.[10]

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
and Jason in Jhansi, India in May 1930

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
at the Kalgoorlie War Memorial, July 1930

On 29 July 1932, Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
and Jim Mollison
Jim Mollison

Her next flights were with Mollison as a duo. In July 1933, they first flew G-ACCV, named "Seafarer," a de Havilland DH.84 Dragon I[10] nonstop from Pendine Sands, South Wales, heading to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York.[11] Their aircraft ran out of fuel and crash-landed at Bridgeport Municipal Airport (now Sikorsky Memorial Airport) in Stratford, Connecticut; both were injured.[12] After recuperating, the pair were feted by New York society and received a ticker tape parade down Wall Street.[5] The Mollisons also flew, in record time, from Britain to India in 1934 in G-ACSP, named "Black Magic", a de Havilland DH.88 Comet
DH.88 Comet
as part of the Britain to Australia MacRobertson Air Race. They were forced to retire from the race at Allahabad
because of engine trouble.[10] In May 1936, Johnson made her last record-breaking flight, regaining her Britain to South Africa record in G-ADZO, a Percival Gull
Percival Gull
Six.[5] In 1938, Johnson overturned her glider when landing after a display at Walsall Aerodrome
Walsall Aerodrome
in England, but was not seriously hurt.[13] The same year, she divorced Mollison. Soon afterwards, she reverted to her maiden name.[14] Second World War[edit] In 1940, during the Second World War, Johnson joined the newly formed Air Transport Auxiliary
Air Transport Auxiliary
(ATA), whose job was to transport Royal Air Force aircraft around the country – and rose to First Officer. Her former husband also flew for the ATA throughout the war.[1] Death[edit] On 5 January 1941, while flying an Airspeed Oxford
Airspeed Oxford
for the ATA from Prestwick via Blackpool to RAF Kidlington
RAF Kidlington
near Oxford, Johnson went off course in adverse weather conditions. Reportedly out of fuel, she bailed out as her aircraft crashed into the Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary
near Herne Bay. The crew of HMS Haslemere[Note 3] spotted Johnson's parachute coming down and saw her alive in the water, calling for help. Conditions were poor – there was a heavy sea and a strong tide, snow was falling and it was intensely cold.[15] Lt Cmdr Walter Fletcher, the commander of Haslemere, dived into the water in an attempt to rescue Johnson.[15] Fletcher failed in the attempt. As a result of the intense cold he died in hospital days later. In 2016, Alec Gill, a historian, claimed that the son of a crew member stated that Johnson had died because she was sucked into the blades of the ship's propellers; the crewman did not observe this to occur, but believes it is true.[16] This claim has not been verified, as Johnson's body was never recovered. A memorial service was held for Johnson in the church of St. Martin in the Fields on 14 January 1941. Walter Fletcher was posthumously awarded the Albert Medal in May 1941.[15] As a member of the ATA with no known grave, she is (under the name Amy V. Johnson) commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
on the Air Forces Memorial
Air Forces Memorial
at Runnymede.[17] Disputed circumstances[edit] Johnson had been one of the original subscribers to the share offer for Airspeed.[18] It has been more recently hinted her death was due to friendly fire. In 1999, it was reported that Tom Mitchell, from Crowborough, Sussex, claimed to have shot Johnson's aircraft down when she twice failed to give the correct identification code during the flight. Mitchell explained how the aircraft was sighted and contacted by radio. A request was made for the signal. She gave the wrong one twice. "Sixteen rounds of shells were fired and the plane dived into the Thames Estuary. We all thought it was an enemy plane until the next day when we read the papers and discovered it was Amy. The officers told us never to tell anyone what happened."[19] Honours and tributes[edit]

McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas
named "Amy Johnson"

Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
Building, University of Sheffield

During her life, Johnson was recognised in many ways. In June 1930, Johnson's flight to Australia was the subject of a contemporary popular song, "Amy, Wonderful Amy", composed by Horatio Nicholls and recorded by Harry Bidgood, Jack Hylton, Arthur Lally, Arthur Rosebery and Debroy Somers. She was also the guest of honour at the opening of the first Butlins
holiday camp, in Skegness
in 1936. From 1935 to 1937, Johnson was the President of the Women's Engineering Society.[20] A collection of Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
souvenirs and mementos was donated by her father to Sewerby Hall
Sewerby Hall
in 1958. The hall now houses a room dedicated to Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
in its museum. In 1974, Harry Ibbetson's statue of Amy Johnson was unveiled in Prospect Street, Hull where a girls' school was named after her (the school closed in 2004).[21] In 2016 new statues of Johnson were unveiled to commemorate the 75th anniversary of her death. The first, on 17 September, was at Herne Bay, close to the site she was last seen alive,[22] and the second, on 30 September, was unveiled by Maureen Lipman near Hawthorne Avenue, Hull, close to Johnson's childhood home.[23] A blue plaque commemorates Johnson at Vernon Court, Hendon Way, in Cricklewood, London.[24]

The Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
Comet Restoration Centre, 2017

Buildings named in Johnson's honour include

" Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
Building" housing the department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield. " Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
Primary School" situated on Mollison Drive on the Roundshaw
Estate, Wallington, Surrey, which is built on the former runway site of Croydon
Airport.[25] "The Hawthornes @ Amy Johnson" in Hull, a major housing development by Keepmoat Homes on the site of the former Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
School. Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
Comet Restoration Centre at Derby Airfield, where the Mollison's DH.88 Comet
DH.88 Comet
Black Magic is being restored to flying condition.

Other tributes to Johnson include a KLM
McDonnell-Douglas MD-11, and after that aircraft was retired, a Norwegian Air UK
Norwegian Air UK
Boeing 787-9,[26] named in her honour, and "Amy's Restaurant and Bar" at the Hilton hotels at both London Gatwick and Stansted airports are named after her. " Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
Avenue", a main road running northwards from Tiger Brennan Drive, Winnellie, to McMillans Rd, Karama, In Darwin, Australia. In 2011 the Royal Aeronautical Society
Royal Aeronautical Society
established the annual Amy Johnson Named Lecture[27] to celebrate a century of women in flight[Note 4] and to honour Britain's most famous woman aviator. Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of EasyJet, delivered the Inaugural Lecture on 6 July 2011 at the Society's headquarters in London. The Lecture is held on or close to 6 July every year to mark the date in 1929 when Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
was awarded her pilot’s licence. Over a six-month period inmates of Hull Prison
Hull Prison
built a full-size model of the Gipsy Moth aircraft used by Johnson to fly solo from Britain to Australia. In February 2017 this went on public display at Hull Paragon Interchange.[28] In 2017, Google
commemorated Johnson's 114th birthday with a Google Doodle.[29] In 2017 the airline Norwegian painted the tail fin of two of its aircraft with a portrait of Johnson. She is one of the company's "British tail fin heroes", joining Queen singer Freddie Mercury, children's author Roald Dahl, England's World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore
Bobby Moore
and aviation entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker.[30][31] In popular culture[edit]

This article appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated references to popular culture. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances; add references to reliable sources if possible. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2017)

In 1942, a film of Johnson's life, They Flew Alone, was made by director-producer Herbert Wilcox, starring Anna Neagle
Anna Neagle
as Johnson, and Robert Newton
Robert Newton
as Mollison. The movie is known in the United States as Wings and the Woman. Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
inspired the song "Flying Sorcery" from Scottish singer-songwriter Al Stewart's album, Year of the Cat (1976).[32] Amy! (1980) is the subject of and also is the title of an avant-garde documentary written and directed by feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey and semiologist Peter Wollen. In the 1991 Australian television miniseries The Great Air Race, aka Half a World Away, based on the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race, she was portrayed by Caroline Goodall. In the 2007 British film adaption of Noel Streatfeild's 1936 novel Ballet Shoes, Petrova is inspired by Johnson in her dreams of becoming aviatrix. Queen of the Air (2008) by Peter Aveyard is a musical tribute to Johnson.[33] A Lone Girl Flier and Just Plain Johnnie (Jack O’Hagan) sung by Bob Molyneux.[34] Johnnie, Our Aeroplane Girl sung by Jack Lumsdaine.[35] In 2013, Doctor Who Magazine
Doctor Who Magazine
ran a comic story entitled "A Wing and a Prayer", in which the time-travelling Doctor encounters Johnson in 1930. He tells Clara Oswald
Clara Oswald
her death is a fixed point in time. Clara realises what's important is that it appears Amy died. They save her from drowning then took her to the planet Cornucopia.[36] The character Worrals
in the series of books by Captain W.E. Johns was modelled on Amy Johnson.[37]

See also[edit]

List of fatalities from aviation accidents List of female explorers and travelers


^ Her father was a partner in the Andrew Johnson Knudtzon Fish Merchants. ^ A de Havilland DH 60G Gipsy Moth G-ABDV, named "Jason III" was given to Johnson on her return to England.[10] ^ Haslemere was a small, former ferry that in Royal Navy wartime service was being used as a barrage balloon ship. ^ In 1911, Hilda Hewlett became the first British woman to earn her pilot's licence.[27]

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ a b "8 Unsung Women Explorers". Our Amazing Planet, LiveScience.com. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2012.  ^ " Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
pioneering aviator" (PDF). Hull Local Studies Library, Hull City Council. Retrieved 19 February 2013.  ^ Dunmore 2004, pp. 194–195. ^ Flight magazine, 23 October 1929 ^ a b c Aitken 1991, p. 440. ^ Dunmore 2004, p. 195. ^ A. C. Marshall, ed. (1934). Newnes Golden Treasury. George Newnes Ltd. p. 488 (photo plate opposite). The photograph was taken at Insein, and shows how the plane was damaged in landing.  ^ "No. 33611". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 30 May 1930. p. 3481.  ^ "Brearley Pilot's Licences". Treasures of the Battye Library. State Library of Western Australia. Retrieved 15 July 2007.  ^ a b c d e "Amy Johnson." Archived 17 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Science Museum (South Kensington. UK), 2013. ^ Ignasher, Jim. "Stratford, CT – July 23, 1933." New England Aviation History, 30 December 2015. Retrieved: 9 January 2016. ^ "Fly ocean, crash near goal." Chicago Daily Tribune, 24 July 1933. Retrieved: 9 January 2016. ^ "Helliwells aircraft component factory at Walsall airport." Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Black Country Bugle, 25 November 2010. Retrieved: 19 May 2013. ^ Smith 2004, pp. 312–313. ^ a b c "Heroes Of Air Raids Civil Defence Awards, Rescues In Face Of Danger." The Times (London), Issue 48928, 17 May 1941, p. 2. Retrieved: 27 December 2012. ^ "Flying pioneer Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
'chopped to pieces by Royal Navy ship's propeller', historian says", Daily Telegraph, by Sophie Jameson & Patrick Foster, 6 January 2016, retrieved 18 August 2016 ^ "CWGC Casualty Record: Johnson, Amy V. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved: 10 January 2016. ^ McKee 1982, pp. 139–152, 293. ^ Gray, Alison. "I think I shot down Amy Johnson." The Scotsman, 6 February 1999. ^ "Past Presidents." Women's Engineering Society. Retrieved: 21 November 2010. ^ "Amy Johnson." Archived 15 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Hull History Centre via hullhistorycentre.org.uk. Retrieved: 14 December 2010. ^ " Aviator
Amy Johnson: Statue unveiled at Herne Bay". BBC News. BBC. 17 September 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.  ^ " Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
statue unveiled in Hull". BBC News. BBC. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.  ^ "Blue Plaque – Johnson, Amy (1903–1941)". English Heritage. Retrieved 1 October 2016.  ^ " Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
Primary School." Archived 4 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine. lgfl.net, 2010. Retrieved: 25 December 2010. ^ " Norwegian Air UK
Norwegian Air UK
G-CKHL "Amy Johnson". Retrieved 1 November 2017.  ^ a b Bossom, Emma. "Carolynn McCall to speak at inaugural Amy Johnson Named Lecture." Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Royal Aeronautical Society's Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
Named Lecture via aerosocietychannel.com. Retrieved: 9 June 2011. ^ "Full-size model of Amy Johnson's Gipsy Moth on show in Hull". BBC News. BBC. 9 February 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.  ^ "Amy Johnson's 114th Birthday". Google
Doodle. Retrieved 1 July 2017.  ^ Caswell, Mark. " Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
unveiled as Norwegian's latest tail fin hero". Business Traveller.com. Retrieved 5 July 2017.  ^ Munro, Scott. "Freddie Mercury's image to appear on Norwegian aircraft". Teamrock.com. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved 5 July 2017.  ^ Dyer, Kim. "Review of 'Flying Sorcery'." Archived 13 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. alstewart.com. Retrieved: 27 October 2010. ^ "Queen of the Air: Peter Aveyard's tribute to Amy Johnson." Archived 7 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine. queenoftheair.co.uk. Retrieved: 24 September 2010. ^ National Film and Sound Archive
National Film and Sound Archive
of Australia: Songs about Amy Johnson in "Our Heroes of the Air." The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Retrieved: 1 January 2014. ^ " National Film and Sound Archive
National Film and Sound Archive
of Australia: Songs about Amy Johnson; Our Heroes of the Air." Archived 31 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. National Film and Sound Archive
National Film and Sound Archive
of Australia. Retrieved: 18 May 2012. ^ "Doctor who Magazine #263." doctorwhonews.net, 24 July 2013. Retrieved: 1 January 2014. ^ "The blaggers guide to Worrals
of the WAAF". The Independent. 28 July 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 


Aitken, Kenneth. " Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
(The Speed Seekers)." Aeroplane Monthly, Vol. 19, no. 7, Issue no. 219, July 1991. Dunmore, Spencer. "Undaunted: Long-Distance Flyers in the Golden Age of Aviation" Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2004. ISBN 0771029373 Gillies, Midge. "Amy Johnson, Queen of the Air", London, Phoenix Paperback, 2004. ISBN 0753817705. McKee, Alexander. Great Mysteries of Aviation. New York: Stein & Day, 1982. ISBN 0-8128-2840-2. Moolman, Valerie. Women Aloft (The Epic of Flight). Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1981. ISBN 0-8094-3287-0. Nesbitt, Roy. "What did Happen to Amy Johnson?" Aeroplane Monthly (Part 1), Vol. 16, no. 1, January 1988, (Part 2) Vol. 16, no. 2, February 1988. Smith, Constance Babington. Amy Johnson. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press Ltd., 2004. ISBN 978-0-75093-703-0. Sugden, Philip. Amy's Last Flight: The Fate of Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
in 1941. Beverley, East Yorkshire: Highgate Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-902645-62-9 Turner, Mary. The Women's Century: A Celebration of Changing Roles 1900–2000. Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK: The National Archives, 2003. ISBN 1-903365-51-1.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Amy Johnson.

Science Museum exhibit on Amy Johnson BBC Humber article on Johnson BBC page on Amy Johnson's death Sewerby Hall, Bridlington, includes a display of Johnson memorabilia The RAF Museum, Hendon, includes another Johnson display RAF History page on Amy Johnson CWGC record Amy Johnson: Pioneer Aviator, Article by LaRue Scott "In Case You've Never Heard of Amy Johnson". Experimental Aircraft Association.  Tom Campbell Black 75th Anniversary of the Great Air Race October 1934 Tom Campbell Black Comet Racer G-ACSP Restoration British Library – 'The Story of My Flight' Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
describes her flight to Australia in a National Sound Archive recording. One minute silent film; close-ups of Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
speaking. Pathe News, Cape Town, 1932 Listen to songs inspired by, and recordings of, famous aviators including Charles Kingsford Smith, Amy Johnson
Amy Johnson
and Bert Hinkler talking about their journeys on the National Film and Sound Archive
National Film and Sound Archive
of Australia's website: "Our Heroes of the Air"

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 46556983 LCCN: no2007148933 ISNI: 0000 0000 6401 5480 GND: 1050480627 SUDOC: 175443734 BNF: cb15800558x (data) NLA: 35751