Day 17 – Wednesday, 21 May, 1930. Exhaustion. Surabaya

Amy Johnson

Day 17 – Wednesday, 21 May, 1930. Exhaustion. Surabaya

Exhausted. Totally exhausted. I am so very tired and extremely discouraged because everything seems to be going wrong. I will be so glad when the sea crossing is over as I dread being in the air above that deep blue nothingness.

When one gets so tired one also loses one’s courage. I am ashamed that my plan to break the record is a lost cause and have had to stop myself thinking that this entire mission is now a folly.

I have written to mother and father to let them know of today’s twists and turns. When I started Jason up this morning he was not well. His magneto is faulty and, thus, we have been nowhere today while repairs are carried out. Another night in Surabaya, then.

I have also informed them that I feel so totally ashamed that the record will not be mine. Yes, safety is important, but so is the advancement of respect for women pilots. That record would have changed everything, there and then.

For two weeks now I have been engaged in the most dangerous flying imaginable. Yet it is not just this that leaves me exhausted, it is other matters and the sheer thought of all this that fills my head. People are commenting on my tiredness when they catch sight of me and of course I respond with a weak smile, confirming their opinion of this tired and old-looking young aviatrix.

When this plan was hatched I imagined that I would be recognised as a hero. I feel nothing of the like right now, I am just a wretched, broken woman whose dreams seem simply silly. Why would anyone regard me as anything but that? I fear a muted welcome when I make my return to England.

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Hosted by Hull Is This, Twenty Days is our daily podcast charting Amy Johnson’s solo flight from England to Australia. Written by Dave Windass, performed by Rachel Harris, with music by Jessica Dannheisser as part of her Orchestral Portraits | Seven Pioneering Women album released on Audio Network.