The adventures of one of the Wellingtons:
‘One of the three VIckers Wellesly bombers which recently broke the worlds long distance record in a flight from Egypt to Australia, was damaged in a forced landing in mountainous country near Collier Bay, Western Australia.
Personnel: Flight Lieutenant Hogan,
Wing Commander Gayford,
Flying officer Musson
Flight Sergeant Dixon (Dickson)
Camel teams, one of the worlds oldest forms of transport will probably be requisitioned to rescue the crew. The 45 Mile trek begins.
The 11 page report of their crash land, and the rescue, is thorough. Perhaps naturally itis peppered with talk of food: ‘We ate a sandwich lunch and shared the one remaining bottle of beer’. ‘Delight as tins of cigarettes and foods dropped’. ‘Breakfast consisted of broken biscuits and water’. ‘One bottle of whisky was broken on drop to our disappointment’. ‘Provisions were Sausage, Peas, Asparagus, Tea, Sugar, Bread, bully beef, 500 cigarettes, matches, pork in beans, pea soup, kidney soup, chewing gum, apples, oranges, figs, epsom salts, ships lime juice.’
The uncomfortable irritability of the flies was frequently mentioned. Then they had the drama of the storm, which with lightening, meant they could not take cover under the wing of the plane. By the morning they were ‘shivering and chilled to the marrow’. The stars were magnificent.
The rescue party was led by Walcott with Burgin and 5 aboriginals, frequently referred to as ‘blacks’ and who ate separately preferring to dine on Kangaroo than any of the processed tins!
‘The black boys began to chant weird native songs, keeping time by beating two pieces of wood together by doing this they hoped to keep the rain away.’ .. The blacks camped away from us and kept their fire alight all night – they make marvellous fires in a space of seconds.
Burgin bagged a 2 Roos and 1 Joey for the aboriginal meal. The blacks immediately set up on them and gutted them in a very professional manner and with the utmost unconcern – blood and guts were flying in all directions. They were also introduced by ice for the first time and coulnd’t make head nor tail of it, and were puzzeled by the burning sensation in their tongue.’
The incident of the Recreational Sport of Crocodile catching
We went well until reaching a good pool where Burgin said there might be crocodiles. He asked us if we wanted to see how the aboriginals diver for these reptiles, grasp them, bring them to the surface and throw them on the bank without being bitten. Apparently this was one of their recreational sports which they often played and at which they had never been known to fail’ Of course, something went wrong, he (Adcock) surfaced, blood pouring from his right arm With great presence of mind Adcock didn’t let go of the crocodile but kept his two hands between its jaws, despite the great pain he must have been in – until two blacks had cut down a large sapling which they placed between the animals jaws. They then carried the crocodile to the bank and battered it’s head to pieces between two large rocks.’
They return journey continued, Adcock judged by the other blacks to be ‘swinging the lead’, seemed to be bearing up despite the pain. News of blizzards in England arrived with one of the last food drops (from Tommy Broome) which they read in temperatures of 110 degrees. The last camp was the best, few mosquitoes, sumptuous meal (not sausage and beans). Exhausted on the last days long trek, the welcome shouts from the party sent out from Walcott to meet them. including the crew of the ‘Coolan; (a yacht sent by the Iron Mining company ).
‘Photos were taken after a short pow wow we set off in order not to be caught by the incoming tide. We plowed through the mud of the inlet (keeping a weather eye open for alligators) and in about an hour’s time we were sitting on Mr Reids verandah drinking real iced bear (Melbourne Bitter).