Twenty Days is an online celebration in the form of a daily diary, an evidence-based, first-person retelling of the highs, the lows and the unexpected incidents that the 26-year-old Hull hero experienced en route to making history.

20 Days – Amy Johnson’s Solo Flight from England to Australia

In 1930, Amy Johnson set off on her solo flight from England to Australia. If she achieved her aim to journey in the air from Croydon to Darwin she would be the first woman to do so. Flying in her recently purchased second-hand de Havilland DH.60 Gipsy Moth – Jason – she had her sights set firmly on breaking pilot Bert Hinkler’s record for the same journey.

Day 1 – Monday, 5 May, 1930. The Best Day. Croydon to Vienna

I have planned to fly alone to Australia for some time now. What an adventure. I’m feeling so full of vim. If I can do this it will be a […]

Day 2 – Tuesday, 6 May, 1930. Alone. Vienna to Constantinople

I sit here, in a room containing a single bed, dismayed by a cable from my former lover. “Best luck and wishes – Hans.” Yesterday’s success is now behind me […]

Day 3 – Wednesday, 7 May, 1930. Mountain Tops. Constantinople to Aleppo (Mouslimie)

There are times when one must face down fear. When one comes close to death. When one realises that one’s belief in the future of flying hangs by the loosest […]

Day 4 – Thursday, 8 May, 1930. Sky Fall. Mouslimie to Baghdad

My loneliness remains. I pine for home. I am frightened. I have written the same to Jack and shared my encounter with the Taurus Mountains. I do not want him […]

Day 5 – Friday, 9 May, 1930. XXL. Baghdad to Bandar Abbas

I am in Bandar Abbas. Landing here was a difficult affair as they were not expecting me and I could not even see signs of an aerodrome. I headed for […]

Day 6 – Saturday, 10 May, 1930. Broken Chain. Bandar Abbas to Karachi

I rose at 4am today. I continue to believe that I will set a new world record for this solo flight to Australia. I remain ahead of Hinkler. It is […]

Day 7 – Sunday, 11 May, 1930. Heat in Jhansi. Karachi to Jhansi

Things may have been ruined today. Human efforts to fly began with the flapping of our arms to imitate birds. Our dreams of flight are ancient. We take to the […]

Day 8 – Monday, 12 May, 1930. Falling Through The Sky. Jhansi to Calcutta

When one flies, one often considers falling. The physics of flight aside, there is very little keeping us in the air, aside from Lady Luck herself. Perhaps mankind is not […]

Day 9 – Tuesday, 13 May, 1930. Damage. Calcutta to Insein, Rangoon

My plan was as follows: head south from Calcutta to where the Arakan Mountains drop to a height that will allow me to cross and reach the Irrawaddy Valley and […]

Day 10 – Wednesday, 14 May, 1930. Repair Work. Insein

If one can take solace from the events of yesterday, and my initial sense of hopelessness, it is that the staff at the Government Technical Institute are qualified to carry […]

Day 11 – Thursday, 15 May, 1930. The Shirt Off Their Backs. Insein

Jimmy Martin has cabled me to tell me of the interest of the papers. Word has spread and my flight is big news at home. Who would have thought that […]

Day 12 – Friday, 16 May, 1930. Destination Bangkok. Insein to Bangkok

Such a day! We returned to the air, where we belong, my Jason and I. I will not keep it from you, diary, I have been left exhausted by today’s […]

Day 13 – Saturday, 17 May, 1930. Strongman. Bangkok to Singora

A false start at dawn this morning. The cowling on the engine flew open just minutes after we took to the air so we made an almost immediate return to […]

Day 14 – Sunday, 18 May, 1930. Sunday Best. Singora to Singapore

14 days in and I simply cannot wait to arrive in Australia in order to get a good night’s sleep. However, a late and somewhat sad reminder from father by […]

Day 15 – Monday, 19 May, 1930. Volcanic Eruptions. Singapore to Tjomal, Java

Short cuts are not always advisable, nor do they provide a shorter journey time. Thankfully, our guardian angels and God himself are by our side, ensuring that we stay safe. […]

Day 16 – Tuesday, 20 May, 1930. Propelled Onwards. Tjomal to Surabaya

After yesterday’s trauma it was welcome relief to be guided to Surabaya by a pilot from the Dutch air mail service and for the responsibility of routes and navigation to […]

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 […]

Day 18 – Thursday, 22 May, 1930. Into the Jungle. Surabaya to Atamboea

A terrifying landing of the kind I would never like to repeat and for quite some time I was in the company of the island’s tribesmen. Today was always going […]

Day 19 – Friday, 23 May, 1930. 500 Miles Remain. Atamboea

I fell into a deep sleep on those steps I wrote of yesterday. I was woken by a bearded white man, the pastor no doubt, who beckoned me inside the […]

Day 20 – Saturday, 24 May, 1930. In Darwin. Atamboea to Darwin

We are here! We have made it! We have flown from England to Australia. Jason and I have triumphed! And on Empire Day, of all days. We landed at 3.30pm, […]