The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Daredevil air ace Mollison remembered


THE LIFE of a forgotten Scots aviation legend is to be remembered in a rare exhibition at his home city.

Dare-devil pilot James Allan Mollison, from Glasgow, broke countless records during his career as an air adventurer throughout the 1930s.

Overlooked for more than 50 years after his marriage to aviatrix-sweetheart Amy Johnson broke down, his remarkable career is now on display at the Brookwood Library in Bearsden.

Mollison, who was born in Pollockshi­elds and later settled in Bearsden, attended Glasgow Academy before joining the RAF in 1923 as the youngest officer in the service.

His love of aircraft led him to pursue daring challenges and he soon became renowned for his record-breaking exploits.

He became famous in 1931 when he flew from Australia to England in an open cockpit DH60 Gypsy Moth 2 and set a record time of just eight days and 19 hours.

The following year he undertook the first trans- Sahara flight from England to Cape Town, South Africa in four days 17 hours in a fragile de Havilland Puss Moth.

Again, that same year he met the equally famous Amy Johnson — the first woman to fly solo from England toAustrali­a — and proposed to her in the air after just eight hours of first meeting each other.

The press dubbed the couple “The Flying Sweetheart­s” and in 1933 Mollison flew from England to Brazil in a speedy three days and 13 hours usingAfric­a as a stopover continent.

The couple

planned a record breaking flight across the world in July 1933 and took off from Wales on a non-stop flight to New York, but later crashed in Connecticu­t after running out of fuel.

Hounded by the press, the Mollisons became associated with film stars and world leaders, and were constantly mobbed in public.

In October 1934 they entered the dangerous MacRoberts­on Air Race from London to Melbourne.

In their de Havilland DH.88 Comet Black Magic they held the lead as far as Baghdad before being forced to retire after nonaviatio­n fuel damaged their engines.

Their marriage became strained and the Mollisons divorced in 1938, three years before Amy was killed when an Airspeed Oxford she was delivering for the RAF crashed into the Thames.

While Amy Johnson's name remained prominent in the aviation world long after her death, Mollison became largely forgotten and he died in 1959 of pneumonia aged 54.

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 ??  ?? Daredevil James Mollison in 1936.
Daredevil James Mollison in 1936.

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