Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

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Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby marlow » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:38 am

Hi there,

My great grandad was Alf Marlow and I am currently trying to find out more information about him. From the old website there was a post from someone called flyernzl
who said "I have a photo somewhere of DQ-FAB in flight with Mr Marlow at the controls, when I find it I will post that as well".

I would love to see this photo as we have no photo of him and his plane and there are lots of family stories about it.

Any news about him would be most appreciated.
Nicolette Marlow

Here is the original posting:

flyernzl



Joined: 30 Oct 2007
Posts: 110

Location: New Zealand


Ah, yes the Libelle.
This particular aircraft was one of two imported into New Zealand in 1929 for use on charter work by Aerial Services Ltd., Auckland.

Libelle c/n 101 ex D-1065 was assembled at Mechanics Bay and registered as ZK-ABI on 15November1929. It was fitted with a ADC Cirrus III engine and was the first all-metal aircraft to be flown in New Zealand. Test flights were undertaken by ex-WW1 aviator Don Harkness, who was then employed as a Auckland University lecturer, starting on 17November29. There were apparently some trim problems with the airframe, and prior to a test flight on the 12th December a large rock was placed in the airframe as ballast. The aircraft took off from Mechanics Bay and flew at low level across the Waitemata harbour to the north shore. Near Milford Beach (just down the road from where I now live) the aircraft was seen to enter a steep spin and crash into the water. Harkness and passenger company engineer Goldsboro were killed and the aircraft destroyed. Speculation was that turbulence had caused the rock to shift, and this had made the aircraft uncontrollable.

ZK-ABI at Mechanics Bay in late 1929 - 'AERIAL SERVICES" was painted under the cockpit, 'DORNIER LIBELLE" near the tail:



This was the end of Aerial Services Ltd. The second Libelle c/n 117 spent time in storage (it was never flown in New Zealand) and then went to Fiji (together with some recovered parts from ZK-ABI) where it was assembled and registered as VQ-FAB on 15September1930 by Mr Alf Marlow who was in business as Fiji Builders Ltd. Mr Marlow used the aircraft to fly around from Nausori around to his various building contracts in the Fijian Islands until the aircraft was damaged in a tropical storm in March 1931. Not repaired after this incident, the aircraft spent years in storage - I have a note that it was at a local Technical College at one stage - until the Dornier Company bought it back in 1970 for the German Tecnological Museum at Munich.

I have a photo somewhere of DQ-FAB in flight with Mr Marlow at the controls, when I find it I will post that as well.
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby TASSE » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:32 pm

Hi Nicolette. First, welcome to the forum,nice to have another woman on board.

I have no photos of your grand-dad in flight but i thought that these might give you a lead.

Image

Image

These two photos of VQ-FAB are of it being restored at Suva,fiji and were taken by J.M.Carswell, Principal of the Derrick Technical Institute.

The following photo is of it hanging in the German museum where it is today.

Image

It might be worth contacting your local news-paper and asking them if they have anything in there archives.

Best wishes & good luck.
Let us know of your results.

Roy (TASSE).
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby seawings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:15 pm

And........

There is a full colour walk-round of it on SEAWINGS...!!

Got to the main site www.seawings.co.uk, click on the Walk-Rounds link and scroll down to 'D' - it's there....! :D

Oh, and TASSE (Roy) just for a laugh, I've gone and caught bloody swine flu.....!

Now, I have no excuse not do to a giant up-date, which I would do if I were'nt feeling so damn rough.. :(

Ho Hummmmmm
Best Regards,

Bryan Ribbans
Owner of:

The Flying Boat Forum
SEAWINGS - The Website

"I put the sweat of my life into this project, and if it's a failure, I'll leave the country and never come back".
Howard Hughes, re: the HK-1 Hughes Flying Boat, aka the 'Spruce Goose,' 1946.
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby seamaster » Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:54 pm

That's Ok, I think we're doing doing pretty good on our own for now. 8-) :lol: :P :mrgreen: :D ;)

Rest Oh great one.

Seriously I hope it's not too bad.
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby seawings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:05 pm

seamaster wrote:That's Ok, I think we're doing doing pretty good on our own for now. 8-) :lol: :P :mrgreen: :D ;)

Rest Oh great one.

Seriously I hope it's not too bad.


Well, it's just like the real thing! Imagine Man-Flu, only ten times rougher..........! :(

Like everyone else, I've been watching events on the news and radio thinking that's all affecting someone else - then last Friday i sneezed and coughed and sweated all in the same 10 min period......bugger, I thought.

Didn't really do anything about it, stayed in the sunshine in the garden on Saturday (that was our summer here in the UK!!) and on Sunday it poured with rain so I couldn't go out again. That's when the sore throat kicked in.

The rest is horrible, downhill all the way, struggled into work STILL thinking it was a head cold (the symptoms are very similar) only to be told by the Doc's that it was the Plague (sorry, swine flu) Double bugger.

Taken my first dose of Tamiflu today, great side-effects which I won't go into here but I'm told that in 5 days time I will be back to normal (!) and the good news is that I cannot catch it again; not this strain anyway.

Time-off work, great say's everyone! Trouble is that I feel like cr*p most of the time and just want to sleep (one of the symptoms)

Ho Hummmm ..............Part Deux.
Best Regards,

Bryan Ribbans
Owner of:

The Flying Boat Forum
SEAWINGS - The Website

"I put the sweat of my life into this project, and if it's a failure, I'll leave the country and never come back".
Howard Hughes, re: the HK-1 Hughes Flying Boat, aka the 'Spruce Goose,' 1946.
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby TASSE » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:47 pm

Hi Bryan. Sorry to hear your terrible news, you have to get well otherwise who is going to run this great set-up for us ?

Just to add to the agony, today i was lifting a bottle of Calor Gas and cracked my back and passed out - bloody agony.
But a friend came to the rescue. I am just able to walk but i have done it before so its nothing new - this too will pass.

Get well soon as it says on a post card.

Roy.
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby seawings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:56 pm

Well, Roy, I reckon an Irish Whiskey to you for the pain and a Southern Comfort for me to soothe the throat.

It's for medicinal purposes, you understand......... ;)

Take care.
Best Regards,

Bryan Ribbans
Owner of:

The Flying Boat Forum
SEAWINGS - The Website

"I put the sweat of my life into this project, and if it's a failure, I'll leave the country and never come back".
Howard Hughes, re: the HK-1 Hughes Flying Boat, aka the 'Spruce Goose,' 1946.
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby marlow » Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:24 am

Thanks so much Roy! I scanned that photo to see if he is there but can't make him out, unless he is the old man to the left of the photo.....

I shall keep trying to see what I can find. While in Fiji just the other week, I was speaking with my Aunty. The stories are all a bit mysterious as to whether he could actually fly or not which is why I would love to see a photo of him in the plane.

There are 2 silver replicas of this plane, of which we are not sure of their whereabouts, they were in the family but not sure where now.

I lived in Germany for a while and visited Munich - wish I had known the plane was there so I could have seen it! Ah well another time.

Will let you know what I find out.

Again, many thanks.
Nicolette
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby flyernzl » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:48 am

I confess Nicolette, It was I who made that comment.

I can clearly see the pic in my minds eye: VQ-FAB airborne, flying from right to left in the photo, low down as there was some land visible, possibly on approach to alighting. The pilot could clearly be seen, but of course I was assuming that this was Alf Marlow flying it. I've done a search of my electronic photo files and looked back into a few likely books but no luck finding it again at this stage. But it is out there somewhere!

Given that Mr Marlow lived until the 1970s, he would have been a relatively young man forty years before, around the time he owned the aircraft. It does seem remarkable that - given the rarity of aircraft in Fiji in 1930 - there is no record of who actually did the aviating and that your family have no log books or photographs. Still, these things happen.

A further comment, from a fellow who has been involved in the Amelia Earhart search project:

"Ready for a new and interesting anecdote? I recently received an email from a gentleman in New Zealand by the name of Rob Gorman who mentioned, very much in passing, that he had run into an old pilot in Fiji back in the 1970s who told him that Earhart and Noonan had ended up on Nikumaroro. I asked him to elaborate and this is his reply:

The chap’s name I remember was Alf Marlow who owned once and operated one of the Dornier Libelle flying boats that came to New Zealand in the 30’s. The rare aircraft was snapped up for a very big price in the early 70’s when they found out that Marlow had it stored in Suva. Marlow was in the building business and used the Libelle to carry timber out to the islands. He used a lot of Fijian native labour on many of the outer islands and picked up stories about aviation from them as he was naturally interested in them.

Marlow was like most of us in the aviation game had an intrigue about aeroplanes and there owners and pilots. He died in the late 70’s. If I remember correctly I took note of the comment as he said "O the natives that use to be on Gardiner said they found their bones. The aircraft is in the sea."

He was an off handed type of chap. How can I describe. He felt fate was fate and there was no need to go any further. The conversation came about me asking about the ship the Joita which was a great Fijian marine mystery. It was found adrift with all passengers and crew gone. The passenger list was interesting as it was Australian political people on holiday. I had heard a distress message from it from a ham radio chap. The authorities said including the Navy in Australia claim there was no distress radio signal at all. But that was not true. The story is that a Russian sub., got them as at the time things were very bad with the US Australian Russian situation. So he gave me a great deal of information about the captain. So you see I was on another scent! However the Earhart story came up in passing."

Note the comment - 'old pilot'.
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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

Postby TASSE » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:08 pm

Thank you Flyernzl for helping Nicolette.

The info on Earhart was also very interesting too. Its amazing what info forums can dig up.

Thanks again. Roy (TASSE).
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