Autograph Book Carried on the Delivery Flight of VH-EBB



The first Qantas Boeing 707 to be delivered to Australia was VH-EBB which departed from Seattle at 0500 hours on 30 June 1959 and arrived in Sydney at 1348 hours on 2 July 1959. The event was described by Qantas Technical Manager, Captain Bert Ritchie, as "The day that the jet age came to Australia!". This historic flight set several commercial speed records:

San Francisco - Honolulu
4 hrs 49 mins
Honolulu - Nadi
5 hrs 34 mins
Nadi - Sydney
4 hrs 47 mins

 



There were only 45 passengers on the delivery flight, all guests of Qantas. One of the passengers was George Latham, a Qantas engineer who passed around an autograph book to record the signatures of the passengers and crew. All pages of the book are reproduced below. Numbers have been superimposed for identification purposes.

We record our appreciation to Mavis Gullan and George Latham for having the foresight to create this historical treasure. Thanks to Barbara Jansen and Janice Latham for sharing the autograph book and the in-flight menu with us. Thanks also to Karen Glass and Colin Lock for their assistance with the crew names.

 


1
Captain A.A.E. 'Bert' Yates (Commander)
2
Captain Mike P. Bamman
3
Captain Eric R. Robinson
4
Navigation Officer David Coulson Nolan
5
Engineer Officer Keith David Stark
6
Navigation Officer John William Newton
7
Flight Hostess Maria Hendricks
8
Engineer Officer Arthur P. Rowe
9
Engineer Officer George W. Riek


10
Flight Steward Gary Sweeney
11
Flight Steward John Underwood
12
Flight Steward Barry Slater
13
Flight Cabin Officer Sid Preece
14
Flight Steward Pat McGann
15
Roy Whitton, Qantas Traffic Superintendent
16
Sir Hudson Fysh
17
Lady Eleanor Fysh


Read the newspaper cutting here


18
Captain R.J. 'Bert' Ritchie, Qantas Technical Manager
19
Mrs G. R. Ritchie


20
Robert Ellerslie Neil Young, Radio Maintenance Engineer
21
James Frederick Brough, Dept of Civil Aviation


22
Norman Allan Black, Qantas Passenger Services Manager
23
Dorothy Dixon Allen (19 yrs), Daughter of Bill Allen
24
Nancy Dudley Allen, Daughter of Bill Allen
25
Mary Ellen Field Allen, Wife of Bill Allen


26
Johan-Guenther Von Behr, Daily Telegraph
27
Neil R.R. Edwards, ABC Television Executive
28
Warren Cecil Clarke, Qantas Photographer
29
Frank Even George Proust, Sydney Morning Herald


30
Alexander Arthur Barlow, Qantas Manager Eastern Division
31
Frederick Christian Nossal, Melbourne Herald
32
Lewis Henry Yardley, Melbourne Age Aviation Writer
33
John Anthony Ulm, Qantas Chief Public Relations Officer
34
John Denis Cahill, Vancouver Sun
35
Eric Andrew Riel, United Press International


36
Harley E. Beard, Boeing Test Pilot
37
Roger Noel 'Rod' Torrington, DCA Radio & Electronics
38
Nancy Carpenter Gray, San Francisco Examiner
39
Richard M. 'Dick' Leonard, CBS News Radio San Francisco
40
Joseph Victor Ramus, Qantas Security
41
William W. 'Bill' Kennedy Jr., Los Angeles Herald Express
42
Leonard Gray Usher, Fiji Times
43
William Charles Harold Anderson, Qantas Electrical Engineer
44
Edmund M. Speer, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft


45
Willie Carl Stohrer, Bendix Prod. Division
46
Albert C Green, Boeing Field Service Rep.
47
John Kenneth Longmuir, Boeing Flight Test Engineer
48
Charles Sanford Tompkins, Boeing Performance Engineer
49
John Alexander Lucas, Pratt & Whitney Field Rep.


50
James R. Morrison, Qantas Engineering
51
George Morris Latham, Qantas Engineering


52
Wallace Parkinson Stack, Senior Performance Engineer
53
Herbert Lawes Nicholas, ABC TV Chief Line Cameraman
54
William McPherson Allen, President Boeing Airplane Co.
55
William H. Ewing, Managing Editor Honolulu Star Bulletin


 

The interpretation of the signatures has been supplemented with full names declared on the Australian Incoming Passenger Cards. There are cards for four additional passengers whose signatures do not appear in the autograph book. They are:

Name
Nationality
Occupation
Norman Tyrrell Banks British/Australian Radio Commentator
James R. Gannett USA Pilot
Sydney Mounsey British/Australian Journalist
George William Taylor USA Sales Engineer

 

The Incoming Passenger Cards are held by the National Archives of Australia. Here are the cards for two of the most distinguished passengers:

William Allen, President of Boeing.

Hudson Fysh, Chairman of Qantas.

(Source: NAA Series A1225, Incoming Passenger Cards - Aircraft - 1959 NSW JULY BOX 1)

 

NOTES

1
The Hon. Howard Beale (Australian Ambassador to the USA) with Mrs Beale and Captain Hugh Birch (Qantas Commercial Manager Marketing) with Mrs Birch were included in the photograph of VIP guests boarding at San Francisco but their signatures do not appear in the autograph book. Furthermore, there is no Australian Incoming Passenger Card for any of them so it is likely that they either disembarked in San Francisco or Honolulu.
2
A newspaper report before departure from Seattle indicates that Captain Ian D.V. Ralphe (sic) would be part of the crew but he does not feature in the autograph book. Correct spelling is Ralfe.
3
A Pan American Douglas DC-7C N747PA arrived in Sydney with passengers from Seattle on the same day (2 July 1959).
4
The Incoming Passenger Cards for journalists Ewing and Nossal were typed!
5
Australian passports at that time showed nationality as British. The Incoming Passenger Card stated: "If British specify Country of Citizenship". Some Australians were already asserting themselves as Australian!
6
Len Usher was Knighted in 1986.

 

 

 

 

Read the Menu from the Delivery Flight

 

This graphic adorned the in-flight menu


 

These photographs of the delivery flight of VH-EBB are from the Qantas Heritage Collection. In all probability the photographer was Warren Clarke who was a passenger on the flight. Although many have benefited from these photographs in recent years, it is not widely known that the original negatives were scanned and restored by Peter Gates.

 

 

Captain Bert Yates in the left hand seat of VH-EBB prior to departure from Seattle. VH-EBB was originally intended to be City of Sydney but when VH-EBA City of Canberra was retained by Boeing for the certification of the fifth pod it was apparently decided that VH-EBB, as the first 707 delivered, should carry the flagship name. Curiously though, VH-EBB carries the Coat of Arms of Sydney but no name. Captain Yates is not sticking out his tongue! He is wearing a headset and microphone of the period (see below)..

 

 

Captain Bert Yates in the left hand seat of VH-EBB prior to departure from Seattle.

 

 

VIP guests about to board VH-EBB at Seattle on 30 June 1959. (left to right) Bill Allen, Nancy Allen, Dorothy Allen, Mrs Mary Ellen Allen, Mrs Beale, Lady Fysh, Hon Howard Beale, Sir Hudson Fysh, Mrs Birch, Mrs Ritchie, Capt Hugh Birch and Captain Bert Ritchie.

 

 

Captain Bert Ritchie (Qantas Technical Manager), the Hon Howard Beale (Australian Ambassador to the USA), William Allen (President of Boeing) and Sir Hudson Fysh (Chairman of Qantas) with VH-EBB prior to departure from Seattle on 30 June 1959.

 

 

VIP guests board VH-EBB at Seattle on 30 June 1959. (left to right, top to bottom) The Hon Howard Beale, Mrs Beale, Sir Hudson Fysh, Lady Fysh, Mrs Allen, Mrs Birch, Mrs Ritchie, Nancy Allen, Capt Hugh Birch, Dorothy Allen and Bill Allen.

 

 

Adorned with a spectacular lei, VH-EBB is welcomed at Honolulu on 30 June 1959.

 

 

Sir Hudson Fysh at the lectern during the welcoming ceremony at Honolulu. William Allen, President of Boeing, looks on proudly from extreme left.

 

 

VH-EBB at Nadi, Fiji during her delivery flight from Seattle on 2 July 1959.

 

 

Still with no name, VH-EBB is on blocks at Sydney on 2 July 1959. Cameras are ready and the guard of honour is in place as they await the disembarking VIPs.

 

 

Sir Hudson Fysh and William Allen walk the red carpet on arrival at Sydney on 2 July 1959. Qantas staff representing each department of the airline form a guard of honour.

 

 


Issue
Date
Remarks
1
06AUG19
Original issue