Legacy of the World War One Aviators celebrates a little-known chapter of aviation history, telling the stories of the group of legendary World War One pilots who came together to establish and operate Australia's first commercial airline in the remote reaches of Western Australia. The 35 minute documentary focuses on WWI pilot Sir Norman Brearley, who returned to Perth from the War with the dream of establishing an airline of his own. This he realised when his company Western Australian Airways set off on the first scheduled passenger service in Australia on December 5th 1921, 11 months before QANTAS.
The story also features remarkable new materials of WWI Ace Leonard Taplin, one of the inaugural pilots in the pioneering route from Geraldton to Derby, as well as the involvement of Australia's most celebrated flier Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Brearley's brother, Stanley Brearley, a veteran of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign who later flew as a WWI pilot in the Australian Flying Corps. The documentary has drawn on archive footage, stills and newspaper accounts combined with contemporary footage and interviews. It also highlights the important role of Perth's Aviation Heritage Museum's 200 plus volunteers in keeping the legacy of the WWI heroes and aviation pioneers alive.
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