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 greater achievement than becoming the first – and only – certified woman aircraft engineer. I circled this date after I’d whispered my plans to 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 and I have been faced, today, with the harsh reality of what is firmly in the past and what lays ahead. I have no idea […]

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 of threads. People crash aeroplanes and are never heard from again. That is not to be my fate. Today I encountered a thick layer of […]

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 to share that unpleasantness, nor how I am feeling, with anyone. Not that there will be any interest outside of my family. I feel that […]

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 the open space I could see from the air – a stroke of luck that this was the right place – but as we touched […]

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 clear that news of my audacious mission is spreading, if the welcome I received here at Drigh Road in Karachi is any marker. There were […]

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 skies understanding the physics required for flight in our flying machines but, still, we take to the skies because we were always fascinated and somewhat […]

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 meant to fly, is not meant to dwell in the air. We are defying the hand that nature dealt us. Perhaps it is not wise […]

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 then to Rangoon. As it is I fear I must confess that landing is not my strongest skill. We crashed at the sports field of […]

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 out the repairs Jason requires. Thank heavens I landed at an engineering school and not a dancing academy. These people are a credit to the […]

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 a girl born in a simple house down St George’s Road in Hull would ever be newsworthy? I am delighted that my big dreams have […]

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 efforts and have a blinding headache. I will expand this story to explain why. I had misgivings about Jason’s repaired wing when I rejoined him […]

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 the ground. I was fearful, as I have never attempted to land Jason with full fuel tanks before and did not intend to go sky […]

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 way of cable that in order to beat Bert Hinkler’s record I must simply arrive at Darwin on Tuesday ahead of 6.50pm. “Don’t overdo yourself, […]

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. Today I was lost over the Java Sea, having chosen to cross it as I reached the island of Bangka. While the weather had looked […]

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 be handed over to someone else as I flew behind his mighty Fokker. The day started with a journey to collect my luggage, which had […]

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 […]

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 to be a test of my reserves, and an effort to journey 1,000 miles in the air to Atamboea, on the island of Timor in […]

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 building, where he provided a more lavish meal lacking in the raw and bloody meat that one would expect to be served in the jungle […]

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, after 20 days of hard work and endeavour. Despite my fears it was, perhaps, the simplest of journeys across that long stretch of water. The […]

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We have commissioned artist Emma Garness to create a design for Puffins Galore!, the East Yorkshire Coast Puffin Sculpture Trail. Her beautiful Puffin will be arriving at a location near Spurn Point on Saturday 2 July and tells the story of Amy Johnson's forced landing in her Puss Moth plane on the beach near by in 1930. Here's a sneak preview of the work in progress at the Puffin Studio in Hull. More details about Puffins Galore at ...

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Luke Jones from Adelaide, Australia, recently bought this folk art cushion cover at an auction along with four photographs taken on the day that Amy visited Ceduna on 4th July 1930, on her way to Perth in Western Australia. “I would expect that this was made in Ceduna, and though it’s clearly been well used as a cushion cover, I think it’s a brilliant historical relic of Amy’s feat.” He also attached one of the photos that came with it – a newspaper report from the day describing schoolchildren of Ceduna forming a guard of honour through which Amy was escorted. Maybe these were some of them! ...

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