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Pietersburg, 1936

  • Digital Collection

2002-039-027 

This cover from Bristol was put on a plane on the London to South Africa route on 2 February 1936.  The flight was uneventful until the Airfield at Pietersburg in South Africa was reached.  Here,  the Imperial Airways Armstrong Whitworth XV Atalanta Class plane ARTEMIS, G-ABTJ took off for Johannesburg in the evening with the aid of flares.   The plane failed to gain enough height before impacting with a stand of trees beyond the airfield fence.  This resulted in considerable damage to the cockpit of the aircraft and injuries to the crew.

Imperial Airways chartered a plane from Germiston to bring their manager and service engineer to review the situation and collect the southbound mail.  This plane then ran out of fuel and was forced to land short of Pietersburg.  As a result, the mail salvaged from the ARTEMIS was taken forward by rail to its destinations in South Africa without addition of any special markings.