Today is the 85th anniversary of the day when Amy Johnson took off from Croydon, to become the first woman pilot to fly solo from the UK to Australia.
Flying a Gipsy Moth aircraft that she called Jason, she landed in Darwin in the Australian Northern Territory on the 24th May 1930, after a journey of 11,000 miles. Her aircraft for this trip can still be seen in the London Science Museum and she was awarded the CBE for the feat.
The Yorkshire woman went on to make a flight to Moscow, this time with co-pilot Jack Humphreys. Continuing across Siberia, the journey ended up in Tokyo, setting a record time for the journey to Japan. She also flew solo to South Africa, and broke another record, flying to India in 1934. For this journey she shared the piloting duties with her husband, Scotsman Jim Mollison.
Sadly she died at the young age of 37, in January 1941. Making a flight from Blackpool to Oxford for the Air Transport Auxiliary, her aircraft went off course in adverse weather conditions and reportedly out of fuel, she bailed out of the plane when over the Thames estuary. 9 days after her death, a memorial service was held for her at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster - her body was never found.
Selected birthdays today:
The female member of the A-Team (Amy Allen), actress Melinda Culea (60)
The original Joey Boswell in the BBC TV sitcom Bread, Peter Howitt (58)
English singer/songwriter, Craig David (34)