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The first wireless Operator to…

Sale Title: The Aviation Sale
Auction House: Charles Leski Auctions Pty. Ltd.
Auction Location: Melbourne
Date: 16/11/2011
Lot No.   ***
Description: The first wireless Operator to Fly Across the Ocean, the James Warner Archive: James Warner (1891-1970) was the radio operator on the 'The Southern Cross' piloted by Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm for the first trans-Pacific flight in 1928. It was during this flight that radio communication was first used successfully on a long distance flight. in 1911 Warner went to Denver and enlisted in the Us Navy. He spent boot camp at goat Island (later called Yerba Buena Island) in San Francisco Bay. Warner was then sent to the western Pacific and on to china where he served on gunboats patrolling the Yangtze river. He advanced to Quartermaster first class and in 1916 trained in the then-new rating of Electricians Mate, Radio. By 1919 he was one of the first chief radiomen in the Us Navy. During World War I, Warner served on the Uss Parker, which patrolled the coasts of Ireland. He was then assigned to the Uss St. Louis. He was later assigned as a radio instructor in San Diego and commanded the compass station at point Reyes in Northern California. on 30 March 1928 Warner left the navy in San Francisco. Through friends, Warner had learned that fellow American, Harry Lyon was planning to join Kingsford Smith and Ulm on their planned long distance flight from California, across the Pacific Ocean to Australia. This plan was widely thought to be foodhardy and unlikely to succeed. Warner tried to talk his friend Lyon out of the flight, but wound up joining the crew instead. Lyon was to be the navigator and Warner was to make history. on 31 May 1928 the four person crew took off from Oakland, California in the Southern cross, after a stop for rest and refuelling in Hawaiithey flew on to Fiji, enduring over 34 hours of flight across open sea before touching down at Albert Park in Suva, where a large and enthusiastic crowd greeted the first aircraft ever to land in Fiji, the Southern cross landed at eagle farm Airport in Brisbane, Australia on 9 June before a crowd of 25,000 people, they flew to Sydney the following day, where the welcoming crowd was huge, the flight of the Southern cross marked the first successful use of radio on a long distance flight. For the first time in history, the progress, problems, challenges and drama of the audacious pioneer crew could be transmitted to the waiting media around the world. Radio reports, newspaper banners, special editions, announcements to parliament were all made possible by the transmissions from Warner's on-board equipment. Returning to California, Warner and Lyon were each presented with a magnificent 4oz gold commemorative medal along with $10,000 from the citizens of Oakland and William Randolph Hearst. Warner then bought two 'roplanes and started training for a flight to Japan. However, during a crude in-air refueling whilst trying to set an endurance record, the pilot of the single engine craft fell asleep and landed upsidedown in the mud flats near San Mateo and San Francisco bay. Warner's flight to Japan never got beyond the planning stage. Warner's gold medal, still in the original presentation case is the most iconic piece in this remarkable collection; moreso because it is believed that Lyon sold or melted-down his medal down during the depression and it has never been seen since, the medal is engraved 'Oakland California to Sydney Australia * May 31 1928 * June 10' with portraits of Lyon and Warner on the front; the reverse reads 'Presented By the Citizens of Oakland to Harry W. Lyon Jr, Navigator, and James Warner, Radio Operator of the Southern Cross. Commemorating the First Trans-Pacific Flight.', the collection also includes a cigarette case, engraved 'Southern Cross' Lieut James Warner, a memento of his part in first Trans-Pacific flight from the Radio trade of Australia, June 11th 1928'; a vesta or match-case engraved 'James W. Warner As a Token of Our Admiration - From - the N.S.W. Radio Transmitters League - 1928 - '; a medallion engraved 'Presented to Mr James Warner Radio Operator on the Southern Cross.A Tribute to His Gallantry and Resourcefulness' on the occasion of the 'Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony of the Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Memorial, Eagle Farm Airport.Sunday 17th August 1928'; a 1978 Samoa $100 gold proof (in case of issue) commemorating the 1928 Trans-Pacific flight; a magnificent composite photograph (30 x 38 cm) showing the Southern cross coming in to land with the four crew members above and with their original signatures alongside; original photographs (various sizes) including images of the welcoming ceremonies in Hawaiiand Suva; numerous invitations, including the 'Luncheon Given By, the Ministers of State For the Commonwealth.Parliament House, Canberra, 15th June, 1928'; a copy of the 'Agreement' dated 21st May, 1928 'Between Charles Edward Kingsford Smith and Charles Thomas Phillippe Ulm, Aviators of Sydney, Australia.And James Warner, Radio Operator of San Francisco, USA., with the Very Controversial (And Ultimately Abandoned) 3rd Clause Intended to Ensure That the Americans Did Not Share in the Glory and Riches Which Were Expected to Follow the Arrival in Australia: '3. It Is Distinctly Understood and Specifically Agreed By the Parties Hereto That the Radio Operator Shall Accompany the Owners on Said Flight to Australia Only So Far As Suva in the Fijiislands.' Clause 6 continues: '.The Radio Operator Agrees That He Will Not Give Interviews, Nor Write Any Articles.Without, Having First Obtained Express Permission.This Special Clause Shall Remain in Force.Until Such Time As the Radio Operator Has Returned From Suva Or Elsewhere.To the U.S.A.' a Letter Dated May 28th, 1928 Washinton, D.C. to the Supervisor of Radio, San Francisco: 'James W. Warner Authorized (To) Act As Radio Operator Monoplane Southern Cross on Flight Pacific Coast to Australia'. Warner Has Added the Notation 'They Thought They Were Rid of Me, J'; Numerous Letters, Including the Original Letter Signed By Charles Kingsford Smith & Charles Ulm (Dated 18th June, 1928) in Which They Write 'As Requested By Mr. Warner, We Have Pleasure in Informing You That We, the Undersigned.Are Not in Any Way Entitled to Receive the Whole Or Any Portion of Any Gifts Made to You By the Government Or Individuals of the United States of America.We Are More Than Satisfied with the Manner in Which You Have Carried Out the Letter and the Spirit of Your Contracts.'; Numerous Tele grams, Including One From Farquar in Suva 'You Have Gone But Never Forgotten Good Luck Return Soon' Dated 6/28/28, with Warner's Hand-Written Reply Text on Reverse: 'We Four Slowly Recovering (From) Our Wonderful Welcome (At) Suva. Will Forget Ye Not, the Foursome' Numerous Certificates and Presentations, Including One Dated June 1928 'Presented to James Warner Esq., By, the Wireless Institute of Australia'; the Collection Also Includes Scrap Books, Newspaper Cuttings, Files and Photographs Associated with the 1958 Re-Enactment Flight, Etc. a Remarkable Archive Which Preserves All the Primary Documents, Letters, Photographs, Records, Transcripts and Ephemera Collected By James Warner and Inherited on His Death By His Son. Leskiauctions Is Delighted and Honoured to Have Brought This Important Historical Treasure Back to Australia For the First Time. (300+ Items)
Estimate: ***
Price: ***
Category: Memorabilia — Transport - Aeronautical
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