Sunday History Photo / Au

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 08:11
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Herbert Joseph Larkin was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. His mother, Annie Mary Frances McHugh Larkin, was from Queensland. His father, Herbert Benjamin George Larkin, was from Kent, England.
Herbert was educated at St. Thomas Grammar School in Melbourne. He became a junior clerk for the Union Steam Ship Company.

He enlisted in the Signal Troop of the Australian Imperial Force on 19 August 1914. He claimed two years prior experience in the 21st Signal Troop. He designated his next of kin as M. H. Larkin, residing in Saint Kilda, and claimed British citizenship.
The Larkin Aircraft Supply Company (Lasco) was an Australian aircraft manufacturer based at Coode Island in Melbourne.

Captain Herbert Joseph Larkin DFC was an Australian-born British World War I flying ace credited with 11 confirmed victories. Postwar, he became a pioneering aviator and aircraft manufacturer in Australia
After returning from the First World War Herbert Joseph Larkin, a fighter pilot with the Royal Flying Corps, and his brother Reg Larkin formed an agency for Sopwith aircraft. The company was formed in 1919, as the Larkin-Sopwith Aviation Company of Australia Limited manufacturing aircraft components. The original company went into liquidation and Herbert Larkin then started the Larkin Aircraft Supply Company (known as Lasco) in 1921. In 1925 the company produced the Avro 504K, the company also produced under-licence the de Havilland Gipsy Moth and one de Havilland DH.50 biplane. It also designed and built a number of aircraft including the Lasco Lascoter in 1929, the first all-metal aircraft to be built in Australia. The last design was the three-engined Lascondor. Withdrawal of government subsidy and economic depression caused the company to shut in the 1930s

In December 1921, Larkin won the government's airmail contract for the Sydney-Adelaide route. However, his lack of suitable aircraft and sufficient capital led him to partner with Frank L. Roberts in Australian Aerial Services. Roberts brought the government contract for the Sydney-Brisbane route into a partnership with Larkin. The need to form this partnership delayed acceptance of the contract until October 1923. As part of this partnership, Larkin Aircraft Supply Co. flew airmail and passengers over several different routes in Australia between 2 June 1924 and 9 September 1926, connecting Adelaide, Sydney, Broken Hill, Mildura, and Hay. However, service on Roberts' Sydney-Brisbane route failed.
In 1928, Larkin underbid Qantas for the Camooweal-Daly Waters route, which would prove unprofitable.
In February 1930, Larkin founded an unsubsidized company, Murray Valley Aerial Services. In June, the government subsidies for southern mail services were withdrawn
The Lasco Lascoter was a 1920s Australian 6-seat passenger and mail carrier aircraft built by the Larkin Aircraft Supply Company (Lasco) at Coode Island, Victoria. It was the first Australian-designed and built airliner to be granted a Certificate of Airworthiness.
The Lascoter was a high-wing monoplane with a tubular steel structure, featuring a tailwheel undercarriage and a fully enclosed cabin for the passengers and the pilot. It flew for the first time on 25 May 1929, despite being damaged in a landing accident at Coode Island in May, it received its Certificate of Airworthiness on 22 July 1929. It was then put into service with Australian Aerial Services, an airline owned by Lasco, and used on an air mail route between Camooweal, Queensland and Daly Waters, Northern Territory. The Lascoter was used by Australian Aerial Services and its successors until being withdrawn from use in 1938, it was scrapped during World War II.

Following a requirement for a passenger and mail carrier for the Australian company Larkin Aircraft Supply Company Limited an order was placed for a monoplane airliner designed by George H. Handasyde known as the Handasyde H.2. Handasyde having no factory of their own contracted Air Navigation and Engineering to build the aircraft on their behalf. Larkin had decided that the H.2 monoplane could not operate in the heat of Australia, and transferred the contract to supply a new airliner to A.N.E.C. Three ANEC III aircraft were built. The new design was an unequal-span biplane with a Rolls Royce Eagle VIII engine. The pilot sat in the open above the mail compartment, with space for six passengers or cargo inside the fuselage.
The first aircraft flew at Brooklands on 23 March 1926 with the Australian registration G-AUEZ. All three aircraft were crated and shipped to Australia and were operated by Larkin's operating subsidiary Australian Aerial Services. The aircraft were named Diamond Bird, Satin Bird and Love Bird. The three aircraft gave sterling service for a number of years and made a number of important flights in the Australian outback. First registered on 21 May 1927, Satin Bird was used by the wealthy sheepowner William Oliver and his party to tour central Australia that same year, stopping at Oodnadatta, Alice Springs, Farina, Maree, Charlotte Waters, and Simpsons Gap. Satin Bird crashed at Hay on 27 December 1927 and remained inactive until 1929, when it was officially stricken from the aircraft registry.

In 1928 the two remaining aircraft were withdrawn from service. Both aircraft were rebuilt as 11-seaters (2 pilots plus nine passengers, or the equivalent weight of fuel and cargo) with a lengthened fuselage and a more powerful 485 hp Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar 14-cylinder engine. The re-engined aircraft had an operating range of about 700 kilometres at 140 kph.
The converted aircraft were known as the Lasco Lascowl. Both aircraft, still retaining their original names Diamond Bird and Love Bird, were chartered by an aerial survey expedition led by Australian explorer Donald Mackay. The expedition set off 23 May 1930 to carry out a 67,000-square-mile (170,000 km2) survey of central Australia. Both aircraft returned to Melbourne in July 1930 without a mishap each having flown more than 300 hours.
On Tuesday 17th June 1930 Captain Frank Neale was at the controls of a large ANEC III bi-plane called Love Bird as it bumped to a stop on a patch of sand and scrub not far from Uluru and he became the first person to land an aircraft near the spectacular Ayres Rock

Frank Neale’s aircraft, Love Bird (VH-UGF), was one of two that had been hired by entrepreneur Donald Mackay to survey a huge tract of unknown desert country north-west of Alice Springs. But what was Donald Mackay really doing here? Why was he spending his own money surveying the Great Sandy Desert for Australia’s Department of Works? Was he hoping to find the fabulous gold reef that lured Lewis Lasseter to his death in the Petermann Ranges? Or was it just public-spirited altruism? Donald Mackay found no gold — only huge areas of red sand and a dry salt-lake which bears his name today.
The two aircraft were then used on a service between Melbourne and Sydney. Love Bird crashed on 14 July 1931 at Temora and was destroyed in the fire which resulted. The last aircraft Diamond Bird was retired in June 1932 and later scrapped.
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Reply By: Member - Barry H (WA) - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 14:51

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 14:51
Great read as usual Doug, many thanks

Barry H
AnswerID: 595366

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 15:09

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 15:09
Thanks Doug, for another interesting Sunday history post.
The crash of Love Bird was quite tragic and was due entirely to structural failure.

There were several hundred witnesses watching at Temora as Love Bird circled the town at low altitude.
At least one of the watchers was an experienced pilot - Samuel Hecker - and Hecker gave evidence at the inquest that he observed the vertical stabiliser and rudder fall over backwards as the plane approached.
The aircraft immediately dived into the ground, and burst into flames.

One of the first men at the scene pulled the aircrafts mechanic, T. Rust from the fiery wreckage, but was unable to extract Capt J. Geddes due to the flames.
Geddes body was recovered after the fire was put out. The NSW Chief Medical Officer determined that the occupants more than likely died on impact, rather than being burnt alive.

A couple of the little-reported features of the crash was that some witnesses, just prior to the crash, had observed Rust had heroically left the cockpit and crawled along the fuselage, and was apparently trying to determine the reason for the rudder control problem, or repair the damage to the vertical stabiliser.

His efforts were in vain, as it was determined from evidence that escaped the fire, that a large piece of oregon timber that was the primary support for the vertical stabiliser, had fractured completely in flight, resulting in the VS and rudder breaking away completely.
It was suspected that the oregon timber support had been fractured in a previous landing accident, and the damage had not been discovered.

Continued flying with the damaged oregon VS support post only ensured that it broke completely.
No doubt, if there had been passengers on board the aircraft, Rust would possibly have been recommended for a gallantry award.

The second curious feature of the crash was that Capt Geddes widow stated on at least two occasions just prior to the crash, that she knew her husband was in great danger on his flight.
When the telegram was delivered, advising her of the crash and the death of her husband, she told the telegram deliverer she already knew what the telegram contained - that it was advising her of her husbands death!

Two killed in fiery air crash

Mechanics courageous act

Inquiry finds broken rudder post led to air crash

A little more history on the "Birds" is available from the Ed Coates collection.

VH-UGF ("Love Bird")

G-AUEZ (later VH-UEZ)

Here is a very rare photo, possibly the only surviving photo - of G-AUFC ("Satin Bird").
This aircraft is the one that was very badly damaged on 27 Dec 1927, and which was never modified or rebuilt, being scrapped and SOR during 1929.

G-AUFC ("Satin Bird")

The large PDF file below provides an extensive and sometimes amusing history of aviation at Fishermens Bend.
From page 10 to page 28, the history of "Jimmy" Larkin and the Larkin Aircraft Co are covered in extensive detail.
Unfortunately, what should have been a range of rare and good photos of Larkin aircraft have been reproduced in the file in a very poor-quality resolution.

Fishermens Bend - A centre of Australian Aviation

The bloke who oversaw the major modification of the 2 ANEC aircraft, in the conversion to Larkin Lascowls, was one William Stancliffe Shackleton, a British engineer.
The performance of the original ANEC's fitted with the RR engines, was "leisurely", to say the least, with a cruise speed of 77mph! (67 knots).

In an interesting twist, W.S. Shackleton - who originally designed the ANEC aircraft - emigrated to Australia in early 1928 due to poor health - whereby he was promptly re-employed by Larkin to design the Larkin aircraft, and to re-design the ANEC's.

William Stancliffe Shackleton

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 595367

Follow Up By: Member - Graeme W (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 19:09

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 19:09
There's also this link to the Lasco Lascoter aircraft mentioned above. Only one built, but modern looking for the time.

VH-UKT Lasco Lascoter

Lake Eyre 2011

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