Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rangoon To Singapore And On To Nani

On the island of Nani in But This Is Different a woman named Mere will keep a journal for over forty years.  Doubtless her descriptions of the land and the weather will be very similar to those of Amelia Earhart.  Mere, even at age eighty, will write only memories of times when she once held the controls of a variety of airplanes including, perhaps, a very famous Lockheed Electra.
On June 20, 1937, Amelia Earhart flew the Electra from Rangoon to Bangkok and then on to Singapore.  In her own words --
“Moist clouds were our companions as we left Rangoon the next morning, bound for Bangkok, Siam. First, we crossed the upper reaches of the Gulf of Martaban,  flying over Moulmein. A great range of mountains extends north and south along the western border of Siam, separating it from the long arm of Burma that reaches down into the Malay Peninsula. Through squally weather we climbed to 8,000 feet and more, topping this mountain barrier. On its eastern flanks the clouds broke and there stretched before us a dark green forest splashed with patches of bright color, cheerful even in the eyes of a pilot who recognized in all the limitless view no landing place. The country fell away gradually to the east, the hills flattening out into heavy jungle. Then we crossed the Mei Khlaung River, with little villages scattered along its banks, the wide expanses of irrigated land burdened with rice crops.
Bangkok itself lies in a vast plain with mountains in the distant background. After refueling at Bangkok (the airport was one of the best we encountered) we started for Singapore, more than 900 miles away. Though we did not sight them, there were two transport planes that day on the same route which we flew. The Imperial Airways machine left Rangoon first and the K.L.M. Douglas at daybreak. Our Lockheed left fifteen minutes later. All stopped at Bangkok, then followed different courses to Singapore. We arrived there first, at 5:25 P.M. local time, because we cut straight and did not stop along the way.”
In the photograph we see Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E, NR16020, being serviced at Singapore, Straits Settlements on June 20, 1937. 

No comments: