Happy 100 Birthday Celebration to Jimmy Melrose

Today is cause for celebration as it is 100 years ago that Charles James Melrose was born. 


Recently I was on the website Trove and found his birth notice : this now confirms he was born in the suburb of Burnside at Dover House, previously at 398 Glynburn Road.  Sadly this lovely old home was demolished in 1987, but the stables have been retained and the old gates have been relocated.  (See. The Advertiser, 15 September 1913, p. 14).  The State Library of South Australia has photos of it in their collection which can be viewed online.

At Stirling Oval today there was a group of dedicated Jimmy followers who attended a small unveiling ceremony of the revamped Jimmy Melrose memorial. One of the attendees was Hugh Wigg, a relative of Jimmy’s.  The memorial has been repainted, the old rusty fountain removed and paving laid all around. In pride of place now, atop of the memorial is a wonderful piece of artwork depicting Jimmy as a child ready to fly a paper aeroplane.  Simon Jones of the Stirling Council tells me it was decided upon this design to depict Jimmy’s early years in Stirling and Aldgate and the little plane shows his early flying aspirations which were inborn.  Personally I was quite touched and felt it was a lovely honouring of his early life and later achievement as a young adult. The Stirling Council, historical group and others have worked hard on this project and it now stands proudly at the edge of the oval and can’t help but be noticed.
JM stirling

As Jimmy wrote several times in his diaries on his birthdays, “Mother and I had a little party”.  So today it seemed fitting that those attending were part of another “little party” for Jimmy’s 100th birthday. I feel sure he would have liked it because it was simple, friendly and nothing ostentatious.  Just his cup of tea – but he would have had a glass of milk as was his wont.


Saturday 21 September at 2.30 pm

SA Aviation Museum, Lipson Street, Port Adelaide


I will be giving a Power Point presentation on Jimmy’s life and things I learned along the way about him during the research and writing period. Questions and discussion will be welcome afterwards.
Copies of Boy Phoenix will be available for a special price of $20 for the occasion.


Website gone missing?

I have been alerted to the fact that my website is not available.  This is most alarming.


However, I am endeavouring to get it back – without too much trouble I hope!



We have just passed the anniversary of Jimmy’s crash on July 5 1936.  That is always sad to reflect on, however, come this September 13, it becomes …


Happy 100th Birthday to Jimmy Melrose.


Well at least we can celebrate the event of his birth and honour his brief encounter on this earth with all the dash and charm that be brought into it for only 22 years.

You can still contact me directly for copies of his book via email boyphoenix1@gmail.com.  I will be happy to send you one and will sign it to whomever you wish as well.

Over and out – for now.

Published in: Uncategorized on July 7, 2013 at 4:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Still here…

Coming up to the third anniversary since the book launch of Boy Phoenix.  Where did that time go?  I’ve moved house twice since then, now working full time which leaves little time to even think about writing let along do the research and start anything. Ideas come and go, WWI history is calling me because of having 3 great uncles who fought in France.

2013 is the 100th anniversary of Jimmy Melrose’s birth. Aviation continues to grow and our history becomes even more valuable.

Adelaide’s history with the Vickers Vimy flown by Ross and Keith Smith in 1919 is highly significant. It’s centenary is looming. They even still have the aeroplane here in Adelaide!  Now that was a flight.

I am very privileged to know a WWII pilot from Bomber Command.He modestly talks about the time he met the King, and then a second time at Buckingham Palace when he got the DFM. At the wonderful age of 90 he is looking forward to flying to London at the end of this month (June) to attend the opening of the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park. He can catch up then with one of his crew.  The RAF Lancaster will do a fly over and drop hundreds if not thousands of red poppies over the area. My ten pounds worth will  be amongst it. I’m excited about that, I can’t get there but I can ‘be’ there.

The further we go the more there is to cherish about the past, and the living gems are those who remain.  The ones who flew and fought and walk by us every day and we have no idea of their story. The ones who sell the badges and flowers on the significant days – do we ever stop to think what they contributed as an individual? The ones who march or are wheeled along on Anzac Day. What pride and admiration is shown to them then … but what about the ones struggling to perhaps get up a step, or out of a car … they may be ones who flew and fought.

Jimmy’s niece learnt Morse code and did her bit in England. She’s nearing 90 herself.

They’ve been through and seen far more than most of ever will and because of them, we live the life we have today. I cherish them because they were there, and they did it. And I can say, I have known them.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 1, 2012 at 10:17 am  Comments (2)  

A ride in the Puss Moth

Published in: on February 7, 2010 at 11:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Just wondering …

does anyone read any of this?

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 12:02 am  Comments (7)  

New memorial sign for Jimmy Melrose at Glenelg

Next time you are down at the Bay (that’s Glenelg in South Australia), turn south along the Esplanade from Moseley Square and you will find an impressive new sign, erected by the City of Holdfast Bay, to commemorate Jimmy Melrose Park.

It elaborates on who he was, his achievements and his life at Glenelg. 

Walk along to No. 13 South Esplanade at the Melrose Apartments. This is the site of his former home with his mother which was knocked down in 1969.  Note the propeller shaped bollards out the front. Walk a little further south to the corner and find the circular mosaic put together by the students of Carclew which depicts various aspects of his life.

While you are there at the Bay, back in Moseley Square is the Bay Discovery Museum.  Upstairs is now – I am very pleased to say – a permanent exhibit on Jimmy Melrose, our Jimmy. It’s well worth a visit to find out more about this amazing young pilot who followed his heart and won the hearts of all he encountered.

Jimmy Melrose Park at Glenelg

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 12:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Flying art website

For digital art of the 1934 Air Race aeroplanes, go to www.flyingart.co.uk for some magical artwork.  Andy Hay can create for you a special print of your favourite machine at a more than reasonable price.  I’ve ordered mine!

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Go to Previous shows for the region ‘Adelaide City’ – Movie Clip Listing alphabetical search “Jimmy Melrose – amazing aviator”

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 4:56 am  Leave a Comment  

The Puss Moth and Mildenhall

Having returned from my UK sojourn I can now share with you some of its highlights.

At the end of the first week I trained it out to Hungerford, just past Newmarket in Berkshire to meet with Tim Williams, all 6′ 8″ of him, for a ride in his 1930 DH80A Puss Moth.

It was quite exciting to actually see a Puss Moth for, as Tim tells me, there are only 11 flying in the world, 2 in Great Britain.  His bright blue machine, named British Heritage, was housed in a large shed, along with a similar coloured Tiger Moth. The Puss’s wings were folded back, making it easier for storage. I’d forgotten that the Moth did that until I saw it there scrunched up ready to come out into the mild sunshine ready for flight.

It was immediately apparent that Tim has a regular routine with flight preparation as he wheeled out the machine and ensured the wings were clipped securely to the fuselage. After all he has owned it for nearly 30 years and obviously thoroughly enjoys flying it. There was a surety about the way he went about the checks and prop swinging. Even when I had awkwardly climbed into the two seater (with the help of Tim) and was seated in the back I had no doubt about his ability to manouvre it confidently.

For one who gets nervous in the larger air buses I only had a flicker of time when I questioned what on earth was I doing in a little plane like this!

Once the oil was warmed and the propeller spinning smoothly we made our way to the corner of the grassy field to take off into the wind. It would have been how it was for Jimmy Melrose, trundling along in a paddock somewhere. Tim knew this area well having lived in the vicinity for 40 years. With the engine revving the plane picked up speed as we headed for a hedge which was looming up at us with alarming quickness, and without so much as a lurch or bump we were up and away over the green and brown patchwork fields of Berkshire.

Headphones are used these days for communication, but I took mine off briefly so I could get a gauge of how loud the engine was inside the tiny cabin.  No wonder Jimmy stuffed cotton wool in his ears.  The sliding perspex windows somehow didn’t seem enough and the small latch on the door definitely didn’t seem enough to hold us in, but it’s been flying for 80 years now and there was no feeling of insecurity.  In fact it was very comfortable in the back and once we got up to 2000 feet and 80 mph, it was very smooth.  The lightness of the plane was evident and for a first time flyer it was like riding a feather as it dipped and floated through the air.

Tim himself had flown this machine to Melbourne in 1984, along with Henry Labouchere. Henry, I was later to meet unexpectedly at Mildenhall. He also is very tall and to imagine these two men climbing out of the little Puss Moth makes one wonder what a sight it must have been.

After about 15-20 minutes over the dales we made a very soft landing in the grassy field and put the plane away. It was a  unique experience and one that I’m very grateful for – thanks Tim!

G-AAZP DH80a Puss Moth

View from the Puss Moth

Tim Williams preparing for flight

 Friday, 11th December : Mildenhall book launch with Stuart McKay, MBE, author of Mildenhall to Melbourne The World’s Greatest Air Race.

Nick Spencer, my host for the weekend met me at the Bury St Edmonds train station on a cold and wet night and drove me to the B&B at, appropriately, Grosvenor House Court in Mildenhall. Later when he collected me to go to the Mildenhall Museum for the launch, his other passenger was Stuart McKay, a charming Englishman with a very neat white moustache.

At the Museum, the volunteers were preparing for the night’s proceedings with drinks and nibbles supplied. The many displays of the Air Race were on view as were the other historical memorabilia depicting Mildenhall’s interesting past.

A display cabinet housed several models of some of the Race participants and Nick Spencer’s electronic display of the race route was impressive. CWA Scott’s gloves, one of the Air Race medals, a menu signed by both Scott and Black, various Race board games of the day, children’s school books (and their authors)  showed how much this Air Race meant to the town and people of 1934.

Mildenhall itself is a pretty town, it has a medieval flavour with its market square and half timbered houses and shops. The housing estate Douglas Park dedicated to the participants of the air race is an indication of  the significance of the event.  I located Charles Melrose Close along with Boeing Way, Jim Mollison Court, MacPherson Robertson Way and others.

It was a pleasant weekend spent with the friendly hospitality of the people from the Museum and to be able to go there and soak up the atmosphere was a significant highlight for my trip.

Stuart McKay is the Secretary of the De Havilland Moth Club and you can view their website by clicking here

You can visit the Mildenhall Museum by clicking here

Stuart McKay, MBE, book signing "Mildenhall to Melbourne"

Stuart McKay, MBE at his book signing

Nick Spencer and his creation of the participating planes and electronic race map


Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 9:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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Jimmy Melrose Collectables – Button Badges

Now available …


Limited Edition Button Badges

Set of 4 – $20 per set;

Overseas postage available at relevant cost.

JM badges

Jimmy Melrose Collectable Button Badges

Should you wish to purchase your own set of these specially designed button badges, please email me at boyphoenix1@gmail.com.

They will not be available through the purchase section of the website, but  via the PayPal facility or from me directly.  Please email me for details and advise if you wish to post a cheque or money order, or use the online PayPal facility (for which you do NOT need a PayPal account).

Thank you.

Published in: on October 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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