“THE Uiver anniversary reminds us intrepid people who make courageous decisions create intrepid teams that achieve remarkable outcomes.”
That was what Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny said when he addressed the High Flying Heroes evening at the weekend to celebrate 80 years since the emergency landing of the Uiver and Albury residents were dubbed heroes.
“The Uiver represents a forgotten culture that existed in Albury in the ’30s where people came to rescue those in peril,” he said.
Captain Champion de Crespigny said he connected to the story in Albury’s history after making his own emergency landing during a Qantas passenger flight just four years ago.
His stepmother, Mariea Champion de Crespigny, also had a father who was one of 70 that rushed to the Albury racecourse with lights blazing to steer the KLM DC-2 Uiver from a disastrous fate after an electrical storm left it with no navigation aids.
Alongside Captain Champion de Crespigny was Dutch ambassador Annemieke Ruigrok, who still hails Albury residents as heroes today.
“The people of Albury saved the Uiver,” she said.
“This story is an important part of Dutch history and Albury plays a crucial part in it because if they didn’t do what they did, the Uiver would be lost.”
The emergency landing of the Uiver in 1934 was also relived through anniversary celebrations at Albury’s Library Museum on Saturday.
A number plate from one of the cars on scene at the Uiver’s emergency landing and memorabilia from then mayor Alfred Waugh was shown to Mrs Ruigrok, who was experiencing the event through Albury’s eyes.
Among the items was an old record produced when the former mayor and his wife Ellen visited the Netherlands the year after the landing, which was found in a garden shed in Wang-aratta 12 months ago by his great niece Patricia Young.
The recording was of a military band playing a song called Albury and a speech Waugh made at the time.