Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 43 > Page 56 - Beryl Markham's Transatlantic Flight, 1936

Page 56 - Beryl Markham's Transatlantic Flight, 1936

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/8/1 (300 reads)

ward him like a citizen of Hades blinded by the sun, but it wasn't the sun; I hadn't slept for forty hours. He took me to his hut on the edge of the coast and I found that built upon the rocks there was a lit? tle cubicle that housed an ancient telephone--put there in case of shipwrecks. I telephoned to Sydney Airport to say that I was safe and to prevent a needless search being made. On the following morning I did step out of a plane at Floyd Bennett Field and there was a crowd of people still waiting there to greet me, but the plane I stepped from was not the Gull, and for days while I was in New York I kept thinking about that and wishing over and over again that it had been the Gull, until the wish lost its signific? ance, and time moved on, overcoming many things it met on the way. Beryl Markham landed her plane, "The Messenger," at Baleine • the place the Sydney newspaper called "the last vestige of land Lindbergh viewed as he zoomed across to Paris on that epic flight in 1927." Markham had tried to land, but the wheels dug into the bog and the plane nosed forward. She struck her head against the instrument board but was otherwise unhurt. She is reported to have said, "I thought I was in Lapland" • although all other evidence indicates that she knew exactly where she was • "... and when I trudged around that bog up to my knees for what seemed hours, I thought I was go? ing to perish for sure." There were only four families at Baleine in 1936. Ms. Markham was found by three berry pickers • two Burke children and a Perry • and taken first to Wil? liam Burke's home, and then to Alfred Perry's (both fishermen), where a call was made to Louis? bourg. George Lewis drove out and took her home. There are stories relating to Sydney/Louisbourg rivalry, and whatever the details, George and Eva Lewis got the prize of an overnight visit with Ber? yl Markham in their home at Louisbourg. Dr. Free? man O'Neill attended her, and several people from Sydney made the trip out for a visit. Meanwhile, the R.C.M.P. stood guard at the plane to keep "hun? dreds" who trooped through the bogs from taking souvenirs off the plane. There had been till then 11 non-stop solo flights across the Atlantic Ocean: 6 flights east to west and 5 west to east. Lindbergh had been the first (1927), and Amelia Earhart the first woman. Beryl Markham was the first woman to make the flight from east to west, and the first person from Eng? land to North America. The newspapers reported that she ran out of gas • got only 22 hours of flight from enough gas for 27 hours. By the time she wrote the book, she knew she had had plenty of gas, but was stopped by an airlock in the gas lines Beryl Markham left Cape Breton Monday, September 7, heading for New York City and a ticker-tape wel? come. Her airplane was taken by scow from Baleine Drinovz Catering Company Ltd. 683 MAHON STREET, NEW WATERFORD * CATERING FOR ALL OCCASIONS * Weddings - Parties - Anniversaries 862-6040 or 539-5300 (ext. 182) (56) beryl Markham's arrival in New York City to Louisbourg Harbour, and from there shipped (probably) on to New York. While Cape Breton is only a brief moment in the book West with the Night, we are fortunate we have that connection to draw us toward this altogether interesting and beautifully written book. Ask your bookseller to get it for you, or write in Canada to Collier MacMillan Canada Inc., 50 Gervais Dr., Don Mills, Ont. M3C 3K4, or in the United States to North Point Press, 850 Talbot Ave., Berkeley, CA. 94706. Beryl Markham lives today in Nairobi, Kenya. Our thanks to Ms. Lisa Ross, North Point Press, for arranging permission to reprint this chapter from West with the Night. Ms. Ross also supplied us with the formal photographs of Beryl Markham and the picture of her arrival in New York City. The rest of the photographs came from Eva Lewis's album and the Beaton Institute, U.C.C.B. Special thanks to Eva Lewis and Jean Kyte of Louisbourg, for their help toward this article. We first heard of Beryl Markham from George Bartlett, Baddeck. Let Us Fill Your Next Prescription Now O Locations in Cape Breton to Serve You CAPE BRETON SHOPPING PLAZA 564-8151 MAYFLOWER MALL 539-5080 Operated by Manson Drugs Ltd.
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