The New Zealand Flying School's Avro 504
And Captain Upham

An Avro 504 made a visit to Cambridge and was situated here from Monday the 28th of Febuary till Thursday 3rd of March 1921. This is believed to be the first visit to the town and district by any aeroplane. Below is an article from the local Waikato Independent newspaper about the aircraft's visit.

Waikato Independent, 1st of March 1921



Residents of Cambridge and district, many of whom have never seen an aeroplane, are to be afforded an opportunity to-day and to-morrow (Show days) of not only inspecting an up-to-date flying machine, but of taking a trip in one if they feel so disposed.

Messrs. Walsh Bros.' Avro plane, which has been flying at Hamilton during the past few days, came to Cambridge yesterday morning. After securing a suitable landing-ground, on the polo grounds - near the Show grounds – Capt. Upham returned to Hamilton, but came back to Cambridge yesterday afternoon.

During both Show days (Tuesday and Wednesday) the Avro will be available for passenger flights, at the reasonable fee of £2 10/ each. Capt. Upham is an experienced aeronaut, and the machine is a first class one, therefore there should be keen demand for seats for the two days that it is to remain in our midst, and we can confidently recommend anyone who wishes to experience the thrilling sensation of being up in the air to take advantage of this opportunity.

Doubtless a great many will visit the polo grounds for the purpose of inspecting the machine, and seeing it set out on, and return from, its stunts.

The plane is a brand new machine, which was only put together a few days ago. Capt. Upham is well pleased with it, saying it behaves very well indeed. It is fitted with a 100 h.p. engine, and attains a regular speed of about 70 miles an hour.

Capt. Upham says the local polo grounds make an excellent landing place, the only drawback being the belts of high trees in the vicinity.

Four flights were made with local passengers yesterday afternoon, and in each case the passengers were delighted with the experience.

Above: Sadly the only known photo of this visit, the whereabouts of the original that this photocopy came from is unknown. It is sourced from the Cambridge Museum

Another small article appeared a few days later in the New Zealand Herald newspaper on the 7th of March 1921 which stated thus:

"An Avro aeroplane belonging to the New Zealand Flying School, Kohimarama, covered the distance from Cambridge to Auckland in 1h. 17m. on Thursday. The machine, which was piloted by Mr. A.C. Upham, left Cambridge at 3.30 p.m. and arrived at Kohimarama at 4.47 p.m.The conditions were perfect for flying, and the aeroplane attained a height of over 8000 ft. which is a record for the North Island."

Additional Information to the Article Above

Walsh Brothers ran the New Zealand Flying School at Kohimarama in Auckland. They flew several Avro 504K and 504L aircraft in 1921 as both land-based aircraft and seaplanes (utilising floats)

Captain Arthur Colwell Upham DFC joined the New Zealand Flying School staff in January 1921. The Avro aircraft were imported direct from the manufacturer as new, and wore RAF colour schemes. The aircraft that visited Cambridge on the 28th of February to the 2nd of March would have been one of the following:

RAF Serial
Avro 504L
Avro 504K
Avro 504L

The Cambridge Polo Grounds mentioned is not the same site of the modern day Polo Club. The Polo Grounds in those days was situated on Victoria Road, just north of the present rugby grounds, on the Taylor estate.


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