1953 London – Christchurch Air Race


KLM 511955 arrival Christchurch 1953small.jpg

On October 8th 2008, the aviation industry celebrates the 55th Anniversary of the legendary London – Christchurch Air Race. The picture attached is of KLM’s race entry, the Douglas DC6A Liftmaster – the cabin had just 55 seats and was captained by Han Kooper, who made it to New Zealand in 49 hours and 57 minutes, with seven stops on the way.

Courtesy Consolidated

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12 Responses to 1953 London – Christchurch Air Race

  1. Alison Fairman 15 June, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    I am interested in this info. Flight L/tnt R L E Burton R.A.F. won the race in 23 hrs 53 mins in an R A F Canberra.I saw this plane in the RAF Museum Hendon England during a celebration of the Canberra’s 60th birthday.

  2. Carol Hunte 7 August, 2009 at 9:54 pm #

    My dad, Alan Parrish was on the ground crew, he was an airframe mechanic and has told me a little bit about this. He is a modest man and I would love to surprise him with some photographs or a book on the subject if anyone has any! Even better if he is in them. He said he saw himself on some TV footage a while back but can’t remember what the programme was. Any info or reference to dad or the event would be great.

  3. Adrian van Dorp 31 August, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    I am an 80 year old man but remember the klm plane
    arriving in CHCH very well .We were all so very proud of being Dutchies on that day.There were lots of Dutch flags , where they duck them up from I wouldn’t know, b ut it brought tears to my eyes, we had no cars in those early days and hondreds of us biked to Harewood as it was then called to see our KLM.[ Koningklijke luchtvaart maatschappij,] don’t try to say that for you’ll be all day Lots of water has flowed through the Avon since those early day’s. I have over the years had lots of lip, but most people
    agree that the Dutch made good immigrants.I am on my last legs so to speak but I have learned to love this country and CHCH is great,
    Yours Adrian
    Just a little rhyme
    at the wars weary end , we left our dear land
    our cities and towns all bombed out
    with hope in our heart ,looking for a new start
    in the land of the long white cloud

    The funny money we earned, the new language we
    learned, took long months to make them our own
    but we did persevere, and in less then a year
    the seeds for a new life were sown.

    in a fifty year span, I became an old man, and
    sometimes I feel sad and blue, You did right by me
    but did I do right by thee ?I hope so for I love you true
    Adrian CHCH NZ

  4. Yolanda van Der Erf 18 April, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    I have a letter to my Grandmother from someone she sent air mail to in the Air Race, thanking her for her trouble. Now i know what the Air Race was about and how old the letter is. My father immigrated to NZ from Breda, Holland – his trip over was on a ship in to Lyttelton – i have a clipping of their arrival as well. My Grandparents immigrated to NZ from Holland a few years after his arrival. So neat to have some history of this time.

  5. Will Horton 22 April, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    Wow what an amazing story!

    Did the letter say anything about how the air race was?

  6. adrian van dorp 24 April, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Dear Yolanda v/d Erf
    my name is adrian van dorp,i did get an email from
    you the other day
    i was wodering where i come into the pisture, i wrote
    about the air race quite some time ago and would like to get in touch
    yours sincerely
    adrian

  7. adrian van dorp 24 April, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    To whom it may concern

    Please tell me where is might message to Yolanda van der Erf?
    adrian van dorp

  8. adrian van dorp 25 April, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    Dear Yolanda van der Erf, i don’t seem to be able to get in touch with you, but if you read this
    please give me a reason
    Regards adrian van Dorp

  9. adrian van dorp 25 April, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    Dear Will Horton,
    Dear mr Horton i would like to get in touch with you re 1953 air race are you interesred?
    Regards adrian van Dorp.

  10. Maggie Ryan 25 June, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    My brother Peter Ryan was an RAF mechanic who worked on the 1953 Air Race. He flew to the places where they serviced the aircraft, and he was briefly stationed at Perth in W Australia and Auckland NZ.
    He has a photo of himself and another RAF mechanic in the Cocos Islands.
    It was the highlight of his service, he really enjoyed the experience and the travel.
    He was stationed at RAF Scampton with 617 Squadron working on Canberra bombers.
    He lives in Yorkshire, I live in Florida and will be visiting him next month for his 80th birthday (July 2010)

  11. george simpkin 14 August, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    i was a R.A.F’ engine mechanicon the air race i was at perth to stage the canberras through, we then flew on to wellington by solent flying boet from sydney. and then ferry to christchurch.after we finished the job there we sailed back to the uk in the s.s.rangitata. on boardthis ship i won a fancy dress competion and was presented with a model of the ship.i had happy times in kiwi land and though i am 77yrs old it s a great memory

  12. Nic Steens 10 October, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    My father (Nic Steens) and my uncle Ben Steens were two brothers from Bergen op Zoom; both on board the Flying Dutchman. Both have now passed. I have told the story of the flight over the years knowing just a few facts. I recently told someone who perhaps didn’t believe the story and they did a search on the internet. They let me know to look myself and tonight I discovered a Christchurch City Council archive on the subject with dad’s name. I have recently visited Bergan op Zoom and one of dad’s remaining brothers. It was a great experience and very nice to find this information tonight as well.

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