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(Selected Entries)

Transcribed from the handwritten notes of Calvin Evans by Beverly Warford While I have endeavored to be as correct as humanly possible, there may be typographical errors

Jan 10, 1922

The Aviators at Botwood. Another attempt failed - Undercarriage smashed.

Botwood Jan 5 – Snow and fog today, but the aviators made another attempt to get away. The mild weather of the last four days softened the ice, with the result that the skids dropped through the surface, crashing the undercarriage. The undercarriage is inherently weak for skids, and is of the same type as that of the machine which crashed when Raynham attempted the Atlantic flight. It had been strengthened here but evidently not enough. The aviators are getting another machine ready, and a delay of about 10 days will follow, but during that period the D.H.9 will be brought back from Deer Lake. Correspondent.

Jan 17, 1922

Botwood to St. John’s by Airplane

After several unsuccessful attempts and many disappointing waits, due to weather and other causes; Major F.S. Cotton & Capt. V.S. Bennett arrive in the city by airplane at 1:10 p.m. Saturday after an excellent 2 hour run from Botwood. The machine used was the Martynside and to Capt. Bennett who is the son of Mr. J.R. Bennett, M.H.A. belongs the honor of being the first St. John’s boy to arrive in his native city by airplane. The Martynside is a plane similar to that which Mr. Raynham had at Pleasantville for the contemplated trans-Atlantic flight, which did not materialize owing to hard luck on each occasion that the flight was attempted. Since that time no other airplanes have visited St. John’s, hence citizens were keenly interested in the Botwood-St. John’s flight, and when it became known on Saturday that the flight had left Botwood at 11:00 a.m. her movements were eagerly enquired after, and as each station along the line reported the machine as coming large numbers of people repaired to Quidi Vidi lake where the landing would be made. At 1:05 p.m. Manuels reported the plane as passing and few minutes later she passed over the city. Going towards the White Hills, she turned beautifully and coming lower made a graceful landing near the bottom of the lake, the skis taking the ice without the least difficulty. Major Cotton then taxied up the lake til opposite the hangar which had been erected near the C.L.B. Boat House where the airship was brought to a stop and the aviators stepped from their compartments receiving a whole hearted ovation from the assembled throng. Both were feeling in the pink of condition, and despite the cold weather were quite comfortable each being well clad for the journey and wearing their “Sid Cot” clothing which was especially designed by Major Cotton, and is now extensively used by airmen. From the aviators the NEWS gleaned some particulars of the trip. Departure was made from Botwood at 11:00 a.m. under very favorable conditions, the plane quickly attaining a height of 6000 feet which was the average altitude maintained throughout the flight though at periods the plane reached 8000 feet.

Zero weather was experienced during part of the trip – while crossing the narrow peninsula between Placentia and Trinity Bays; but the aviators did not mind it. From the start the railway was kept in view as far as possible. It is estimated that in all a distance of 190 miles was covered, or an average speed of 90 miles per hour. The machine is capable of doing much better than this, but taking everything in consideration good time was made and the trip that usually takes 14 to 15 hours by train was accomplished in 2 hours. On several occasions during the trip air pockets were encountered, causing the machine to bump somewhat, while in the Tickle Harbour sector heavy winds were passed. Coming towards the city the engine was practically shut off near Conception Harbour, and she volplaned to the landing place. On Saturday the plane was roped off, and covered in with canvas, while the skis were removed, and the plane left on the ice for the night. Shortly after noon yesterday Major Cotton and Capt. Bennett had a trial spin testing out the engines, and found everything gave entire satisfaction. Thousands of citizens were present to witness the flight, while as the plane flew over the city; she was the center of attraction. A fine landing was made after which the machine was placed in the hangar which was built near the edge of the lake. During the afternoon many citizens visited the place and viewed the plane. Major Cotton is here on a business trip. And will be returning to Botwood the latter part of the week when with Capt. Bennett the Halifax trip will be attempted. In the meantime, other flights will be made here, and it is expected several of our prominent citizens will be given an opportunity of viewing the city from the air.

Jan 17, 1922

Airplane Crashes – The airplane D.H. 9 in charge of Capt. V.S. Bennett left Deer Lake en route to Botwood at 2:17 p.m. Wednesday. The plane was making good time as it passed over Grand Lake at 2:21 and Howley 2:30, Quarry 3:03, Millertown Junction 3:09 and Badger Brook 3:20. At 4:00 p.m. a message was received by the Reid Newfoundland Co. stating that the engine had stopped suddenly and that the plane crashed at Cassandra about 3 miles between Badger Brook and Grand Falls and was lying in a bog broken up. No injuries were sustained by the occupants. This is a combination of a strain of unusually hard luck, which has beset these airmen since the start of their venture. Major Cotton is at Botwood preparing another plane for the mail service and this time will, it is hoped, prove successful.

Jan 24, 1922

A Trip in an Aeroplane (written by T.J.W., a reporter)

Twenty-five minute trip, 80 mph over the city for several citizens including Mr. Perlin, Mr. Smallwood, Miss Bennett, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J.R. Bennett, & Miss Alderdice ---with Major Cotton and Capt. Bennett. The cabin was 7 or 8 feet long and as wide as the plane.

Feb 14, 1922

First aeroplane service to the Goulds (& Petty Harbour) – Major Cotton & Capt. Bennett flew over, dropping bundles of newspapers in different places, and a mailbag.

Feb 21, 1922

The schooner Nancy Lee, 45 day at Pernambuco via Renews was towed to port on Sunday by tug John Green. The ship is in ballast to Monroe & Co.

Feb 28, 1922

Aeroplane goes to Harbour Grace. Takes three passengers and mails going out and two passengers returning. Mail delivered at Clarke’s Beach, Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace and return mail to St. John’s – first for a week. 90 minutes in total. Major Cotton as pilot, Rev. Fr. Whalen, Hon. Dr. Barnes, and Mr. F.H. Archibald, MHA left Quide Vide at 11 o’clock. Mail was dropped at each of three places. On return trip the airman was accompanied by Miss Rose Archibald and Mr. H.D. Archibald. Made landings at Clarke’s Beach and Bay Roberts. 110 mph maximum.

Aeroplane reaches Botwood – at 12:30 p.m. Major Cotton left for Botwood but owing to flying conditions only reached Carbonear where he landed and after landing and taking on board a mail he returned to the city at 2:00 p.m. On Sunday morning conditions being more favourable at 10:30 a.m. accompanied by mechanic Stannard, he took off again and reached Botwood safely at 1:00 p.m. after dropping papers at Clarenville and other parts enroute. A large quantity of mail for Fogo, Twillingate and St. Anthony as well as a lot of spare parts went along in the plane as a result of which Mr. A.S. Butler and Captain Bennett who are assisting Major Cotton were obliged to make the journey by rail and left here by Sunday’s express.


Feb 15, 1922 – Maud Evans, daughter of Joseph and Lydia Evans of Adams Cove, aged 17 yrs.

Mar 14, 1922

Major Cotton completes trip to Labrador – Achieved success counted impossible by Air Ministry. Again demonstrates value of air services. Cartwright to St. John’s in five hours.

At 10:15 a.m. on March 3rd Major Cotton and his mechanic Stannard accompanied by a trapper name Hart left Botwood to fly to Cartwright, Labrador with mails and papers. Reached St. Anthony 12:45. Took mail on board for Battle Harbour and had lunch with Dr. Curtis at the Hospital there. Brass was ripped off one of the skis when landing by striking a protruding object. Left St. Anthony at 3:45 p.m. Reached Labrador coast at 4:35 p.m. Arrived Battle Harbour at 5:12 in midst of snow storm. Landed well. Next day the skid was repaired with a piece of galvanized iron. Next day because of heavy load they had to leave Trapper Hart behind. Several side trips made. The return flight made on Sunday. Left Cartwright at 10:00, passed Battle Harbour 11:05, landed St. Anthony 1:50, left St. Anthony 12:50, landed Botwood 2:45. Left Botwood at 3:25. Landed St. John’s 5:05 – 7 hrs – 5 hrs flying time. Three bags of mail brought to St. John’s. Also brought a quantity of furs, etc.

Mar 23, 1921

Women Fliers – J.B. Grand Falls – On or about April 14, 1921 Major Cotton took Miss L. Jewer, owner of the land on which the hangar at Botwood is built, for an airflight. To her is the honor of being the first of her sex to dare the perils of the air. On a second flight Miss Frances Ball and Dorothy Foote were passengers, as were, later, Mrs. M. St. John and four other ladies. To these number must now be added the two St. John’s ladies – Miss Bennett and Miss Alderdice, and now Miss Archibald, Harbour Grace, who flew across the Bay to St. John’s.


Pleasure of seeing the airplane G E Arv arrive at Lewisporte about 4:10 p.m. Capt. Bennett and Mr. Butler in charge. Mr. Taylor, the mail clerk, delivered the mail for south side of ND Bay to the Aviator. Mar 11, 1922 (signed) A Spectator

July 11, 1922

First aeroplane visit to Cartwright March 6, 1922 by Henry Gordon June 1, 1922 Cartwright, Labrador

I was away north on one of my visitations….first hand information and impressions from the boys and girls of the Labrador schools…..I asked them to write personal reports after I got home on April 2nd. Their descriptions of her color varied red and white, to pure white and gray – one boy said she was gray but looked white. Only one girl gives any information of the personnel of the aeroplane. “There were three men in her – Major Cotton, the aviator who is an Australian. Mr. Stendard who is an Englishman, and another man, who I do not know, who was a trapper to pitch a camp if they fall in the woods.”

“She had two runners at her head and one at her stern.” “When she pitched on the bite, two men got out of her and took hold her wings, and the other kept the engine going slow, and brought her into the wharf. The way they stopped the propeller, one man held another man in his arms and then he caught hold of the propeller and stopped it.” Once brought to a standstill she was covered with canvas, then moored on all sides with ropes and anchors. When she left she flew over the school and the airmen waved their handkerchief.

July 18, 1922

The S.S. Cranley left Botwood on Tuesday for London taking 4300 tons of paper shipped by the AND Co.

Major Cotton who has been to England on a 2 month business trip, returned by Saturdays express, and will shortly be leaving for Hawke’s Bay where his lumber project is now underway.

July 25, 1922

The schooner Cavalier is loading codfish at Exploits from Otto Osmond. This schooner and the J.D. Hazen are loading herring at Exploits for Halifax from D.P. Osmond. The J.D. Hazen took 1400 barrels of herring.

Labrador Public Schools

The Rev. Henry Gordon, Warden of the Labrador Schools, writes in his diary for June

“Labrador child is unusually intelligent. I set examinations for them – general knowledge paper – net results very gratifying.

Miss Marguerite Lindsay of Montreal and Miss Stiles were 2 of the teachers in Rev. Henry Gordon's mission schools with Grenfell Association support. Miss Lindsay drowned in August 1922. Her body was discovered on December 13th. at Muddy Bay, Cartwright, half a mile from the school house. The body was taken to St. John's and will be sent to Montreal for interment. The wounds which caused her death were said to be self-inflicted, and were connected with a love affair.

Aug 8, 1922

Two lunatics at large – from the Lunatic Asylum.

Aug 22, 1922

Major Cotton on his Martynsyde seaplane flew from Botwood to Hawke’s Bay Thursday forenoon. Leaving Botwood at 10:15, the Major made good time and reached his destination at 12:45. The distance is over 200 miles.

Mr. J.R. Bennett, M.H.A., who has been on a visit to Hawke’s Bay and the East Coast , returned by yesterdays express after spending an enjoyable holiday.

Aug 29, 1922

Major Cotton who recently left for Point Armour is now in St. John’s achieving another record in air flight. The visit to Point Armour was made in company with Major Hemming, expert photographer, who is still here completing his work. After a two day stay Major Cotton returned to Hawke’s Bay at 7:45 am Wednesday, left shortly after arrival in St. John’s at 12:15 p.m. after a stop off at Botwood. With him came Captain Sidney Bennett and Mr. Stannard the mechanician. The Major will probably remain here for a day or two and then return by the Martynside seaplane, which has already accomplished so much and successful work. On Wednesday the landing on the lake was brilliant and establishes a new precedent in local flying. It was the first time a plane equipped with floats had visited the city and it now lies anchored on the waters. The intrepid aviators are thoroughly fit and full of confidence and courage. The work at Hawke’s Bay has continued with encouraging success and a new industry which is suggestive of great developments in the near future has been established by sheer pluck and perseverance.

Sept 5, 1922

On Strike at Hawke’s Bay. Men made Impossible Demands. Trouble feared.

Major F.S. Cotton, Manager and Director of the Aerial Survey Company who are in operation at Hawke’s Bay received word Thursday from Captain Olsen who is in charge of the operation in that place that 200 men had gone on strike; the men demanding $65.00 per month and found (instead of payment in proportion to the amount of work done, which it is alleged is the only manner in which an industry of this character can be conducted. The men who were receiving $2.50 per cord for wood cut and left at the stump; $1.00 per cord for strip barking and $1.00 per cord for carting to the shore gave very little warning, but having quit work went to Capt. Olsen it is said with their demands and threatening him with bodily harm if he did not get in communication with Major Cotton within 48 hrs. On receipt of the message, the Major replied that he could not accede to the men’s impossible proposals. At Hawke’s Bay an armed guard composed of the permanent staff with a number of non-strikers are standing watch over the Stores and offices in case the men get out of control. Several policemen are also on route to the scene. The strikers are mostly men from St. John’s, Trinity and Conception Bay points along the line. They have been working at Otter Pond, which is on the other side of the Harbour from the stores, etc. and it is not likely the strike will last long, though it is possible from the messages received, that serious disturbances may result. The men have to depend entirely on the Company for their food supplies, while the coastal steamers call but once a week so that unless the men come to some agreement, a serious position may result. The Company are determined to stand by their agreement with the men, but do not intend agreeing to their new demands. Major Cotton left for the scene by plane on Friday.

Sept 5, 1922

The Trouble at Hawke’s Bay

Major Cotton leave by plane for the scene.

The strike situation at Hawke’s Bay showed no improvement during last week except that the men are demanding to be sent to their homes and is understood have wired the Government to arrange their passages. The majority of the men on strike have only recently gone out to Hawke’s Bay and many of them have not been employed more than a couple of weeks. The men employed cutting pitprops who are mostly from the west coast, have not joined the strikers and are perfectly satisfied with the Company’s terms. No disturbances of any kind have yet been reported. Major Cotton accompanied by Mechanic Stennard left by plane for Hawke’s Bay at 2:45 pm Friday afternoon. He arrived at Botwood at 5:45 where he remained for the night. Constable Bursey is still at the scene and 3 other officers left Humbermouth by the “Home” Friday afternoon.

Sept 5 Editorial “Sea, Land & Air” magazine published in Sydney, New South Wales, Australian Vol. V, No. 52 July, has article “Australian Airman’s Success – Major F. Sidney Cotton in Newfoundland”. The story is that of the Major’s winter flight to Labrador, and his ice patrol in connection with the sealing industry: “During the war many Australian airmen distinguished themselves overseas, but now that things are settling down to normal again, it is indeed gratifying to learn that an Australian has blazed the trail by air from Newfoundland to Labrador. The successful aviator was Major F. Sidney Cotton who was born in Bowen, North Queensland and in 1914 joined the Royal Air Force, later transferring to the Royal Naval Air Squadron where he attained the rank of Flight Lieutenant.” The article is illustrated by a capital likeness of Major Cotton and a picture of the landing on skis at St. John’s and concluded thus: “Major Cotton has now established a reputation of which he may well be proud, and while Newfoundland again becomes prominent as the scene on which a further step is made in the progress of the science of aviation it is very pleasing to know that any Australian has been responsible.”

Newfoundland cordially united in Australia’s tribute to her gallant son, and rejoices that his triumphs have been shared by his comrade and colleague, one of Newfoundland’s own sons, another Sidney, Capt. Bennett, of that ilk.

Editorial above the article: “The whole of the information contained in this article was kindly supplied by his Excellency Sir Walter Davidson, State Governor of New South Wales” (Davidson had previously been Governor of Newfoundland)

Sept 12, 1922

Situation at Hawke’s Bay. Strikers refuse Company’s term and take free passage by “S.S. Home” enroute to their homes.

…… the 150 men who refused to accept the terms of Company having taken charge of the S.S. Home upon her arrival at Hawke’s Bay. The men went on board the coastal boat and informed the captain that they had no money but intended coming along on the ship….. reported to headquarters here……The majority of the men belong to Conception Bay, and on arrival at Humbermouth, a train was provided to bring them to their destination. According to Mr. Sidney Bennett, the local representative of the Aerial Survey Co, who had the men engaged, Major Cotton is now at Hawke’s Bay making every effort to meet the men’s demands, and as a final inducement for them to return to work offered on Saturday morning to pay them $55.00 per month, the company to supply the foremen and cooks as well as the horses, and at the end of each month to pay them a bonus according to their cut. The strikers refused and tried to cause trouble….. The men who remain total about 150 and are from the West coast. These make an average about $60.00 per month clear. Company paid way of East coast workers to Hawke’s Bay and issued them supplies and food – big loss to company. Men were under impression that this was a government relief program – helped to demoralize them.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Bennett met the executive of the government and discussed the situation with them, in an endeavor to have the men removed as they had broken their agreement and were a menace to the company and the other men who remained at work. The government refused to take action, and so the strikers took possession of the “home”.

Sept 19, 1922

A Martynside for Newfoundland

The type A, Mark II, sold to the Aerial Survey Co. This machine was exhibited at the last Olympia Aero Show…. Has a 275 h.p. Rolls-Royce “Falcon” engine. Recently purchased by the Aerial Survey Co. of Duckworth for use in spotting seals. Mr. F.S. Cotton and Mr. A.S. Butler, the later a director of the De Havilland Aircraft Co…..spotting seals. Machines used being the De Havillands & Westlands. Mr. Tilghman Richards of Martynsides.

This is a tractor biplane resembling in general lines the well-known Martinsyde F4. The A2 however is provided with windows in the sides and has a gauze cover to combine top lighting with ventilation.

The fuselage is a girder structure braced by tie rods except in the front bay behind the engine housing where bracing as well as covering is effected by “Consute” plywood. The covering of the rear portion is fabric, doped with “Cellon” aluminum dope. The sides of cabin top are mahogany and slope slightly inwards so as to bring the center-section bracing outside the cabin………seating – 2 pairs of side by side seats.

The pilots cockpit is aft of the cabin and a special windscreen has been fitted at the seat of Mr. Cotton….so as to shield as much as possible the pilot against the icy winds met with in Newfoundland…..a pair of floats are being provided on the plane…..The machine is being crated for shipment and in a few weeks it should be at work in Newfoundland when if the fates are kind we hope to be able to record some of its doings.

[The above extract is taken from the August 17th issue of “Flight”. The statement that the Aerial Survey Co. intends to engage in seal spotting is, we understand, incorrect. – Ed.]

Oct 17, 1922

New Martynside Proves Satisfactory. Machine especially equipped for winter flying.

The new Martynside aeroplane which recently arrived at Botwood from England has been tested by Major Cotton and found to work satisfactorily in every way and he has named her the “Silver Falcon”, owing to being finished in silver paint. Major Cotton has flown to Lomond in the machine, and now proposed to fly along the North-East and North-West coasts taking photographs, and for this purpose, the company’s photographer, Mr. Corse, is accompanying him with special equipment. Mechanic Stannard will also be a member of the crew. When Major Cotton has completed his photographic work, he intends coming to St. John’s when the public will have an opportunity of seeing the new machine. The plane is especially equipped with the latest navigation instruments, and also carries a complete wireless telephone apparatus, enabling the pilot or passenger to speak to anyone on the public telephone by the simple system of getting in touch with the wireless station and getting the station to run the connection through. The machine is also especially equipped for winter flying. The passenger cabin being filled with heating apparatus which can be controlled to suit the occupants requirements. This makes it possible to fly in the coldest weather without having to wear any extra clothing.

Oct 24, 1922

Aerial Survey (From Aeronautical Engineering) P. 3 cols 1-2

Major Cotton - his first seal spotting venture in spring of last year was made, using a Westland “Limousine” with a Napier engine.

Mr. Alan S. Butler who last year was flying his own Bristol airplane in this country has joined Mr. Cotton who has done a great deal of flying of the extremely risky kind – involved in the work of seal hunting over broken ice.

Mr. Butler is now president of the Aerial Survey Co. Mr. Butler was officer in the Coldstream Guards. Major Cotton is vice-president of the Aerial Survey Co.

May intend to do a big aerial survey of Newfoundland – of unmapped country.

Major H. Hemming, Manager Director of the Bermuda and West Indies Aviation Co. has resigned his position and jointed the Aerial Survey Co. where he will have charge of the Aerial Photographic Mapping Section. Mr. Corse, the chief photographer.

First will do 100 sq miles of Newfoundland – pick out kinds of timber, conditions of trees, select best routes for transport. British Government very interested.

Ready to expand into a big business concern . C.G.G.

Oct 31, 1922

Major Cotton spots caribou from the air

Major Cotton who is now in the city from Botwood has recently discovered what he believes to be the home of a very large herd of caribou. This is verified by an aerial photograph taken at a height of 3000 ft over a section of the interior showing what are apparently the tracts of the caribou. This picture is now on exhibit in Dicks & Co and clearly shows the several tracks in the snow-covered ground. These are according to Major Cotton about 2 feet long and about 2 feet wide and seem to converge on the center, and look very much like a giant spider’s web. From the tracks it would appear that a very large herd have their quarters in this particular section, and it augurs well for the safety of the caribou herd which it was believed owing to wanton destruction, was being fast exterminated.


Mr. John Veitch of Holyrood, Western Union Telegraph Co. in New York. His brother, Mr. Will Veitch.

Note – 1922 completed. 1923 missing.

© Beverley Warford, Calvin Evans and NL GenWeb