In March 1967 my parents emigrated from London to Sydney, Australia. My Father (Ernie) had applied for and received assisted passage as his was a trade that was in demand in Australia. With my Mum (Grace), myself, (age 6¾) my sister Elizabeth (4½) and brother Jonathan (almost 3) we flew on a BOAC 707 from Heathrow to Sydney, in a trip that lasted 3 days.
Dad, Mum carrying Jonathan, and Mum's sister Elsie.
Elsie came to Australia a couple of years later.
I have scanned the document as well as transcribing it, but the writing does rather scoot from one page to another then back again. To keep things authentic I haven't tried to reorganise the photos, but I have transcribed the writing into the order in which it occurred.
Tried to get over the upset of saying "goodbye" by opening presents. The children helped so we can't sort out who bought what but they are all wonderful presents.
Hope that you can understand all that I have written, I thought that if I wrote as it happened you would get a better idea of the journey etc. Elizabeth just found her slippers (from Elsie I think) so we are both wearing the same slippers with our shoes tucked under the seats. With all the books etc. that you gave the children plus those that we bought - plus those that the air hostess gave them we have ½ a ton of stuff but they don't seem to mind (the airline I mean).
Passed over Paris. No cloud - good view. Passed over River Rhine. Lovely
Went above cloud for about ½ minute. Snow capped mountains on right. Switzerland fab. Little villages at bottom of mountains on right. Lots of forests. Zurich airport - mountains and forests on two sides.
About 5 minutes out of Zurich airport passed over mountains. They were covered in snow and we couldn't see the base of them because of mist and cloud. The ground now looks as if it is covered in cotton wool. Can't see the ground at all now. Left side of aeroplane looks dark - sunset on right. Approaching Rome in ½ hour
Almost at Rome. Sun has nearly set. Lovely sight. Dark now. Rome is congested so we have to circle for about 10 minutes Funny sensation , we are talking normally but we can hardly hear ourselves think although it is fairly quiet in the aeroplane.
Passing over Naples - pitch dark. Just been served with drinks and peanuts again. They don’t let you get hungry. Elizabeth kicking up a fuss, because she changed places with Jonathan and he drank her 'coke' and left her with orange squash.
They said that Ernie could sit in front of me so that Simon had two seats to sleep on. The only trouble is that the children have decided not to sleep although it is past nine o'clock. Ernie reading the Riot Act to Elizabeth without much effect. All three asleep now. Blankets are provided so there are blanketed bodies every where.
Had the most exciting part of the flight when I should have been asleep. Too many thoughts chasing around so I sat up and looked through the window. The sky was pitch black and dotted with millions of stars. As we were above the clouds there was nothing to obscure them. Cassiopea was on a level with me instead of being above. There were star clusters and I saw a shooting star. The ground looked a dark grey with a large patch of light coming in to view. It got brighter and brighter until I realised it was an airport (Bahrain). The runways looked like narrow streaks of yellow and the buildings a misty orange. After that not much to be seen. Sunrise was amazing. The sun was enormous but not on the horizon. Suddenly I realised why - what I saw was a reflection (or something) and when the sun rose the sky was brilliant.
Karachi stifling and brown. They take themselves very seriously. Scruffy looking soldiers with guns guarding one aeroplane. Wonder why? Saw very little of India - too cloudy and Ernie and myself deperately tired. Jonathan wouldn't wake up so Ernie stayed on the plane at Karachi and I did at Calcutta.
Just as well, the temperature was 84°F.
Dinner just arriving.
To be continued
I remember parts of the trip:
Going to the airport with my grandparents, and my father buying me my first ever Toblerone at Zurich Airport. The soldiers at Karachi (and the impossible heat!) and a Crackerjack book (which I still have) with activities. I wore a woollen suit with shorts (and a cap), so no wonder I remember the heat in Karachi. Or was it Calcutta, which Mum doesn't mention?