Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Memory of Tiny White

I am in the process of reading a personal history of my step-grandfather, Brian Laird, who grew up in New Zealand and was commissioned into the British Army in World War II but never actually encountered battle. He tells the story, however, of an Air Commodore named Tiny White, who was apparently a very famous character in New Zealand at that time due to a rather remarkable flight he took from New Zealand to Australia.

The story goes that he and his captain Kingsford Smith were flying to Australia when their little Tri-motor Fokker sprang an oil leak. The leak threatened to ground their flight in the middle of the ocean so Tiny jumped out on the wing with a suitcase and caught the leaking oil in the suitcase and put it back in the engine. My grandfather surmised that he thought the flight time in those days was around 12 hours.

I can't imagine being out on the wing of a plane for 12 hours (or however long he was out there) with a suitcase in one hand and the big blue ocean below me.

Thought it was an amazing story.

7 Comments:

Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Tiny White sounds like a man who didn't want to die...He's a smart cookie.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

I'll say. That's incredible. Resourceful is an understatement for what he was!

ps -- check your e-mail! I just sent you a link to a local news story.

5:40 AM  
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