Tuesday 14 September 2021

A "Titus Oates" tale

We have written about Titus Oates in a previous blog, pilot, adventurer, and publican of the Good Intent Hotel. Recently we received a fantastic story from Fiona Lennon, which we share below.

“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 .
As I’m moving house I only today came across these in an old album of hers I hadn’t seen for years and then googled Titus. He sounded like a hero in my mother’s eyes. Anyway, just thought you might find this piece of interest. My mother is in the foreground of the photo. I’m not sure who is next to her friend Joan? Maybe Titus?” 

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.

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