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The Man Who Saved Smithy Fighter pilot, pioneer aviator, hero - the extraordinary life of Sir Gordon Taylor MC, GC

The Man Who Saved Smithy Fighter pilot, pioneer aviator, hero - the extraordinary life of Sir Gordon Taylor MC, GC

by Rick Searle
Electronic book text
Publication Date: 29/07/2015
Gordon 'Bill' Taylor was a pioneer of Australian aviation. As a fighter pilot during the First World War he won the MC. His wartime flying was the start of a life-long relationship with aircraft and their potential to change the world he lived in. Returning to Australia after the war he became a close friend of Charles Kingsford Smith. Taylor and 'Smithy' went to form an extraordinary flying partnership, making the first commercial mail flight to New Zealand, the first crossing of the Pacific in a single engine plane and setting records around the globe. It was on a trans Tasman flight onboard Smithy's famous Southern Cross that Taylor earned the Empire's highest award for civilian bravery, The George Cross. With one engine broken down, and one of them fast running out of oil, Taylor climbed out over the wing to manually transfer the oil from the plane's broken engine and painstakingly pour it into the functioning one on the other wing - all this suspended thousands of feet over the sea in a howling slipstream.After the deaths of Ulm and Kingsford Smith in separate accidents, Taylor became Australia's greatest surviving aviator. He went on to discover an alternative air route to Europe that avoided South East Asia - something that was to prove vital after the Fall of Singapore and Java in 1942, and was knighted for his services to Australia and global aviation.Taylor died in 1966, and during his lifetime wrote 8 books on various aspects of his life and on flying. Rick Searle has the permission of his family to use Taylor's published and unpublished material to further illustrate his thoroughly researched biography. The result is a compelling account of an Australian pioneering hero who deserves to be recognised alongside his far more famous colleagues Kingsford Smith and Ulm.
Australasian & Pacific history
Electronic book text
Publication Date:
1st Edition
Dimensions (mm):
Rick Searle

Rick Searle has been a full-time freelance writer and film maker for over forty years. He has worked in radio, television and film, and lectured in television writing at the Queensland University of Technology.

Rick has had a lifelong interest in aviation. He is the author of five books, including The Man Who Saved Smithy, about the life of Australian flyer and navigator Sir Gordon Taylor.

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