Frederick Roy Tuckett




b. 10 Apr 1901 in Bushey, Herts. 5ft 11in tall, dark hair, blue eyes.

Flew his Moth solo to Cape Town in 1929-30 and returned in November 1930 on the 'Balmoral Castle' steamship to his home at 1 Hatton Gardens, London.

A year later, flew Miss Cook (a descendant of Charles Darwin) to study gorillas in Africa, and in 1935 flew the route of the 1934 MacRobertson Race to film it from the air.

In 1935, apparently (according to the Hull Daily Mail), "Everybody knows of Mr Roy Tuckett, the aerial film pioneer whose film, London - Melbourne," is attracting such large audiences at cinemas ail over the country, but few know that he was very nearly compelled to give up his career as airman through acute digestive trouble. In his own words: "A year ago I feared I could not carry on, could not eat a meal, could not even drink a cup tea without suffering agony from indigestion. Nothing tried seemed to bring me any relief. I had two X-rays, and my appendix was removed—all to no avail. I was on the point of abandoning my flight over the Australian Air Race Route when, as a last resource, I tried Maclean Brand Stomach Powder. To amazement the first dose brought instant relief, so I continued the treatment, carried the powder on my flight, and am completely cured."

In August 1935 he made a startling offer to Haile Selassie: "CABLE TO EMPEROR South African (sic) Airman Offers His Services Mr. F. Roy Tuckett. the South African airman-kinematographer, who filmed his solo Croydon-Capetown flight in 1929, and the London-Melbourne air race, yesterday cabled the Emperor of Abyssinia as follows:— Offer my services in defence of your country. Seven years' flying experience of light aircraft includes 50,000 miles cross-country flights over desert, or under tropical conditions, mainly in Africa. Would be willing to deliver aircraft to Addis Ababa." Interviewed by a Western Morning News representative, Mr. Tuckett explained the motive actuating his cabled offer. "I want to start a new life" he said."

While he was waiting for a reply, after a while WWII broke out. Roy joined, firstly, the Fleet Air Arm (1939-41) as a Lieutenant then, in September 1941, the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). He was Pilot No. 658.

ATA Roy Tuckett


He later moved to Scotland, and saw something very strange in 1953: "The time was 10.45 a.m., and there was a dead calm... Happening to glance up, I noticed darkish cloud overhead from the base of which issued a long dark streak, which I took to be smoke, pointing down towards the sea at an angle of 45 degrees, and finishing a hundred or so feet above it...  As I watched, I noticed it was shortening and being sucked into the cloud at the junction with which it became vapourised and was revolving rapidly. There was considerable turbulence of the cloud base. It continued to be drawn into the cloud until, within a matter of about three minutes, it had disappeared... I have been all over the world as an air pilot and have seen waterspouts and "dust devils" being sucked into the clouds from the desert, but I have never before witnessed a phenomenon quite like this."

He then wrote to the local paper; ". Weather freak Sir, —I was glad to see that other readers had observed similar phenomena in the sky on Monday. I suppose it must be ascribed to some particular weather trend. By the way, I have never been in the army. My flying experience was in my own plane in film work abroad.— Yours, &c., F. Roy Tuckett. West Balkello Cottage, Strathmartine, by Dundee, July 16, 1953."

d. 25 April 1961 in London

Roy owned the 1930 D.H60G Gipsy Moth G-AARW, later re-registered ZS-ABX.


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