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Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:33 am
by empty41
Very interesting article, I am based i Fiji and doing research into the 2 Marlow brothers, Alf being the elder and his brother Sydney Frank, my principal interest is that they were both were involved in the scouting movement here, Sydney started scouting here in 1914, went away in 1916 and was KIA at the Somme early 1917.
Alf as correctly noted ran his own building company for many years, and was The Chief Commissioner for Fiji Scouting for a number of years, I would love any photos of him with the Dornier as I am writing the history of scouting for the Centenary in 2 years time.
If I find any more info of interest I will post it here also, Michael Thoms email ><

Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:17 am
by flyernzl
Great, Michael.
Keep us posted on your progress.

Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:04 am
by empty41
I am coming into this discussion late in the piece, but I note a couple of comments that can be answered, so here goes.

Re Albert park and the Smithy landing, I have done a bit of research and we recently had a photo posted on the Fiji Museum site of the Southern Cross after it came to rest at the back end of the park, I was surprised to see that the grass was uncut at that end and stood about 2 feet tall in the old speak, we have to assume this would have assisted in slowing the SC down.

It is known that Smithy when he saw the park from the air commented that it was a postage stamp, they had only cut the trees on the approach over the harbor end down while the plane was in the air from Hawaii to Fiji, talk about cutting it fine, it was a case that the colonial administrators really had no idea what was required for an aircraft to operate, such as landing and take off.

So the park as we see it today is much in size as it was then, we know that Smithy did a ground loop and spun the plane to slow it down and stop when he saw the hill end of the park coming up fast, then it was obvious he could never take off from there with a load of fuel for the next leg to Aussie, the plane was unloaded and with a very light fuel load was flown to a beach north of Suva for take off for the flight to Aussie.

I am already working with the Fiji Archives on some other matters and will see what I can glean from the papers re the Southern Cross flight,it maybe of interest that the road that runs along the side of Albert park is Southern Cross road, the small grandstand on the park is also named Southern Cross

Re the Marlow Dornier,again I will check out what there may be of interest in the Fiji Times of that period, I have been researching, the 2 brothers Marlow myself as i am writing the history of Scouting here and both men played significant roles in the early days of scouting here, I did meet Alf back in the 70s and knew the 2 sons , I now am in contact with Rebecca who has commented above as we are working together on some common aspects of the Marlow history.

Alf's aircraft was the second one registered in Fiji with the VQ FAB signature , the original aircraft registered was a Spartan Float plane, being VQ FAA and as luck would have it while up north this past week I had a beer at the Planters Club in Savusavu, (yes we still have a club so called) and on the wall is a excellent photo of VQ FAA on the water at Levuka, the notation on the back says 1931? so we can assume it may be correct, I will be going back in a week or so and will speak to the club and ask permission to get a good copy of the photo, the one I took using my camera is not to bad and I have posted it on the Fiji Museum Facebook page with lots of good comments coming through,you can go to this said site and see the results.

I was a bit short on time when I found the photo and did not even clean the glass so will do better next trip, as a result of information already on this site I now know that the Fiji Spartan was #47 off the production line, also one of the few that was a float plane. from the factory, was operated in Fiji from June 1930 till about August 1933 when it was shipped out to Australia. I will pass on info as i glean it on this subject as I proceed Michael Thoms

Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:03 pm
by flyernzl
Thanks very much for the work you are putting into this.
We look forward to further updates.

The Simmonds Spartan VQ-FAA (c/n 47) went, as far as I can tell, new to Fiji, and was current there from June 1930 to August 1933 as a floatplane with Fiji Airways.

After it was withdrawn from service, apparently in poor/unairworthy condition in 1933, it was shipped to Australia for a proposed rebuild to become VH-UUJ. Because of the condition of the airframe the rebuild did not proceed, the airframe was scrapped and VH-UUJ was reallocated to a BA Swallow.

I understand that the Spartan was replaced by Fiji Airways from mid-1933 with two Australian-built Genairco Cabin floatplanes, VQ-FAC and VQ-FAD.

Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:34 am
by empty41
When I get back from the north in a weeks time I will see what I can find aat the archives, have had good results to date with them.

Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:35 am
by empty41
Forgot to mention we have located the prop of the Dornier and believe we know the whereabouts of one of the models of the same, making some progress, MT

Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:27 am
by youngmarlow
IMG_0116 copy.JPG
Flight log photo
IMG_0116 copy.JPG (618.26 KiB) Viewed 10553 times
Attached is record of the last known flight of Alf Marlow's Dornier. Following a year of forced landings and unspectacular flights, the record of the pilot W.Man "in the Vicinity of Suva" at 9.00am, 18th March 1931 reads as follows:
"Forced landing owing to failure of tail plane on starboard side due to corosion. Tail plane fluttering badly in air. Rivets span & rib on starboard side corroded. Machine laid up indefinately."
The flight lasted just 10 minutes.
Alf was presented with a picture booklet from Dornier in the 80's upon handing over of the plane with mostly photographs of an older Alf with the plane and the Dornier team during it's restoration back in Germany. I currently have the booklet to have copies made and be rebound.

Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:37 am
by flyernzl
For no apparent reason, the morning New Zealand Herald newspaper published the story of this aircraft crash in yesterday's edition.


Re: Alf Marlow - Dornier Libelle Fiji 1930's

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:32 am
by Kiwithrottlejockey
No politicians around at the moment, apart from the caretaker cabinet minister, so I guess the NZ newspapers are looking around for stuff to fill their pages with.

It happens every year when all sorts of often interesting stories get published.

Last year, over the Christmas-New Year period, the Wairarapa Times-Age published an amazing story about a Wairarapa pilot who flew with the Royal Navy during WWI and who led early missions from an aircraft carrier against Zeppelin sheds. It was an amazing tale, although it didn't appear on their website but only in the print edition. Then, during the later-half of 2018, they repeated the story in expanded form in their 100 Days, 100 Lives series over 100 editions of the newspaper leading up to Armistice Day. That series was then published in book form and put on sale at bookshops and other outlets throughout Wairarapa in November.