“I have sent this article to you as it’s part of my family folklore. Back in 1951 my mother Connie Thallon and her best friend Joan (both mid 20s) were trying to get back to Melbourne from London. They didn’t have enough money for a commercial flight so had a problem. Somewhere they met Titus and he offered them a passage back at the back of the crop duster. I believe one passenger for each plane. My mum who sadly has now passed away, recalled being cramped for hours and hours on the flight and her recollection was actually being shot at by soldiers on the ground over some country .
The newspaper clipping that accompanied the photo confirms that indeed, Squadron Leader ‘Titus’ Oates and Flight Lieutenant ‘Wac’ Whiteman flew from London to Australia in two crop dusters, known as EP-9s, delivering them safely to Bankstown Aerodrome. The aircraft struck ‘plenty of obstruction and hostility on the ground in Syria, India, Burma and Indonesia’ and the journey took a month! What an amazing adventure for Connie and Joan! Thank you Fiona for sharing this wonderful part of your mother Connie’s life.