Pilot, Radio Announcer, Airline Owner, RAAF Flight Instructor

Webpage by Greg Weir - last updated 10/05/2021



Recently I was gifted the Warren Penny collection which incuded logbooks, flying cap, personal papers & two reels of film, photos & slides, navigation equipment, original flight bags, maps etc. The collection will be documented and then forwarded on to its new home at the Airways Museum at Essendon later in the year.

The two reels of film have now been digitised and a link to the video is below. The short silent film shows the airlift of sheep and people around the NSW township of Brewarrina in March 1956.

Many thanks to Maurice Austin and the team at the Airways Museum for the outstanding job they have done in bringing those two old reels of film to life.

Please Note - New information is coming to light regarding the life of Warren Penny as people see the video he kept at home for all these years which may never have been seen publicly. Any new infomation will be added to this webpage once it is authenicated.





  Warren Penny - RAAF Flight Instructor






Warren Penny greets Sir Harry Charles Luke

Nicosia Cyprus


RAAF Identity Card

Warren Penny & his father


Warren Penny - Radio Announcer 2CH


Warren Penny & his mother














In Chapter 14 of Warren Penny's draft Biography he describes his flood relief flying at Brewarrina for many months commencing March 1956. Warren wrote the following:

"As I ran out of hours in VH-AZX, I would change over to Marshall Airways' other Anson VH-ASM at Narromine and then I would get AZX back after it had been serviced at Bankstown. Sid Marshall and Jack Davidson used to fly the aircraft up as required. The whole operation was so interesting that I decided to make a documentary movie of it.

I got an old friend of mine, Roy Griffith, to come up from Sydney and he shot hundreds of feet of 16mm film in glorious Kinecolour. I later had it made into an almost-newsreel film lasting about 20 minutes. I still have the original colour in the can. The work print stands only as a monument to my ego.

It hasn't earned a shilling so far. The ABC liked it, but would not pay for it.

We had about twelve aircraft operating from this narrow strip. As the floodwaters subsided, the main aerodrome at Brewarrina became open again. One of the Austers VH-KAW had a prang one day and we got a picture of the pilot, Bill Taylor of Central Western Aviation Service, Nyngan being taken out of the wreckage."





Warren Penny - Logbook entry 1- Flood Relief Brewarrina



Warren Penny - Logbook entry 2 - Flood Relief Brewarrina




Warren Penny - Logbook entry 3 - Flood Relief Brewarrina


WARREN PENNY BIO - Compiled by Geoff Goodall

Henry Warren Grindrod Penny, Sydney


31.7.29 Warren Penny, Sydney purchased Avro Avian VH-UKD from Australian Avro agent Edgar Percival.

30.9.29 Penny departed Mascot in Avian VH-UKD as Race Number 20 in the East-West Air Race to Perth, arrived Perth 5.10.29. He remained in WA using the address of his parents' farm at Chidlow WA. The Civil Aviation Branch had a running dispute with Penny in WA over various flying issues. A CAB internal memo complains that Penny flies his Avian away from Perth just prior to each visit by a CAB inspector from Melbourne. (Perth had no resident Inspector at that time).
An internal CAB report March 1930 describes Penny, who did not have a commercial pilot licence, as "a gipsy joy rider who spends his time at WA country towns taking up unsuspecting public for a fee". 78

4.30 Flew the Avian back to Sydney, repossessed in July 1930 by new Avro agents Harkness & Hillier.

.30 Due to the Depression, Penny sailed to California steerage class looking for flying work.

31 Back at the family farm "Malmalling" Chidlow WA and hired DH.60M Moth VH-UPD from Perth bus operator Mr.J.J.Thorpe. On one occasion Warren flew his younger brother Pat to school in Perth, landing the Moth on the school sports ground.

5.31 Testflew the Ford "Silver Centenary" biplane at Beverly WA where it had been built by Selby Ford. Penny took it on a tour of local towns. The aircraft was refused a CofA by CAB due lack of engineering design drawings.

10.31 Warren Penny joined 2UE Sydney as radio announcer, later with 2CH, 3AW, 4BK through to 1936

8.34 Sailed for California again. Entered the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race London-Melbourne, quoting a Vultee V-1A aircraft. Vultee assigned him a V-1A off the production line at Glendale (c/n 5 with 750 hp Wright Cyclone) but Penny was unable to raise required finance and was forced to withdraw. (Vultee V-1A c/n 5 went to American Airlines as NC13767 but crashed in Texas 29.1.36 causing American to withdraw its fleet of ten Vultee V-1As, which were eventually shipped to the Spanish Republicans and used during the Spanish civil war)

2.35 Penny arrived back in Sydney by sea after stowing away on a liner from New York to London.

35/36 Flew joyrides most weekends at Mascot for Kingsford Smith Flying Services in Avro 10 VH-UMG owned by Australian Transcontinental Airways Ltd. Often flew Curtiss Robin VH-UJE on joyriding at Mascot for owner S. L. "Pop" Tyler.

21.11.36 Penny was pilot of Avro Ten VH-UMG when it crashed landing Mascot after being struck by wind squall while operating joyrides. Port wing tip struck the ground, aircraft cartwheeled across the aerodrome and was wrecked. 3 of the 7 passengers were treated for minor injuries.

12.36 Flying joyrides at Mascot in Avro 10 VH-UXX owned by Eastern Air Transport, Sydney

36 Instructor on Aeronca C-3s VH-UXU and VH-UXV imported by G. B. S. Faulkiner, Sydney

36-38 Flew for Southern Airlines and Freighters Ltd on scheduled service Sydney-Broken Hill. Fleet included Codock, Tugan Gannet, Waco YKS-6, DH90, Monospar. Numerous forced landings.

38 Flew as instructor and charter pilot for Airflite Pty Ltd, Mascot: Ryan STA and Cessna C34

26.2.38 Flew experienced parachutist Miss Jean Burns on jump from Airlite's Cessna C34 VH-UYG at Mascot.

18.4.38 Emergency landing in Airflite Cessna C34 VH-UYG at Old Bar NSW with 3 passengers

38-39 Pilot for Marshall Airways, Mascot and regularly flew Marshall's Short Scion VH-UUP on aerial ambulance flights to NSW country towns.

.39 Sailed to NZ to join Union Airways as Commander on D.H.86s and D.H.84s

9.39 Penny back in Sydney: leased DH.60G Moth VH-UAE from C. S. Richards, Sydney to conduct flying training under the name Warren Penny Flying School, Mascot. Richards sold UAE in December 1939

10.39 Penny leased Avro Avian VH-UHC from Mrs. Amy Madden, Sydney for Warren Penny Flying School, Mascot. Avian tipped on nose Mascot 29 October 1939 due undercarriage structural failure, pilot Penny with student. Avian repaired, retired at Mascot due to wartime flying restrictions.

10.39 Leased Avro Avian VH-UHZ from Paul Burton, Sydney for Warren Penny Flying School, which operated at Mascot on weekends and Cooma on week days:
4.11.39 prop damaged on takeoff at Raymond Terrace NSW
16.11.39 tailskid damaged at Cooma NSW
9.12.39 undercarriage collapsed landing Mascot
15.1.40 Penny made forced landing in Avian VH-UHZ at Bungendore NSW due engine failure.

4.40 Warren Penny Flying School ceased operations due Government fuel rationing for civil flying.

5.40 Enlisted in RAAF. First posting to Central Flying School, Camden for instructor training
9.40 8EFTS Narrandera
5.41 3SFTS Amberley
10.41 6SFTS Mallala
4.42 1SFTS Point Cook
7.42 3 Communications Flight Mascot
4.43 Central Flying School Tamworth as instructor
8.43 33 Squadron, Port Moresby, Milne Bay (acting CO)
.44 3Wireless Air Gunner School, Bundaberg (CFI then CO)
12.44 38 Squadron: C-47 courier runs to Hollandia, Noemfoor, Biak, Morotai
11.45 Discharged at rank Squadron Leader

46 Penny applied for pilot position with Qantas Empire Airways in Sydney but withdrew his application when he was told that he would have to spend three years as copilot on DC-3s. despite his 3,000 command hours on RAAF Dakotas. He decided on a new career in shipping.

46 Established Hervey Bay Boat Co at Maryborough QLD with an 86 feet timber freighter vessel Erina II which he purchased at auction at Garden Island dockyards, Sydney. It was refitted in Sydney and a full crew hired for the trip to Hervey Bay, carrying Penny, his wife Mone and his father who had financed the business. In the hold were three small motor-boats he planned to base at Pialba. Commenced charters with Erina II with the hold converted to sleep 45 passengers. Won a contract to service light houses along Queensland coast, but after several months the business failed. Penny sold Erina II and joined a syndicate in Sydney named Consolidated Shipping Co which planned to establish a freighter shipping line to Singapore.

46 Penny sailed to England on Dominion Monarch, which was still configured as a troop ship, to locate a suitable vessel for their planned Singapore service. He was negotiating a price for a 10,000 ton vessel with a London shipbroker when he learnt the syndicate in Sydney had disbanded and he was stranded in London.

12.46 Purchased Percival Proctor 1 G-AIEF in London and flew it back to Australia for resale. Departed England 28 December 1946 and arrived at Mascot on 3 February 1947 and immediately advertised it for sale, c/o Marshall Airways. Sold, became VH-SMS in May 1947.

Enroute on arrival at Karachi, Penny had parked the Proctor as instructed by the airport officials. He was confronted by red haired Qantas Captain Ron "Torchy" Uren aggressively demanding he move to clear a path for Uren's Qantas Avro Lancastrian. Penny had earlier trained Uren to fly at the Warren Penny Flying School at Mascot in 1939 and resented his high-handed attitude, so refused to move. After an argument befitting both mens' temperaments, Penny was satisfied and moved his Proctor.

2.47 Penny was bidding for one retired RAAF Hudson from Commonwealth Disposals Commission for his planned air charter company. He was asked by the former RAAF aircrew who had just formed a new Sydney freight company Aircarriers Pty Ltd to also purchase two Hudsons for them. When Penny was advised his bid for 3 Hudsons was successful and he had to pay immediately with 14 days to remove them from RAAF Richmond, Aircarriers principles advised they did not have funds to pay for their two Hudsons. Warren Penny sold them to his brother Raymond Penny who later resold both.

9.5.47 Appointed a Director of Aircarriers Pty Ltd, Sydney but resigned the position 17 days later. Aircarriers were preparing their only aircraft Handley Page Halifax bomber G-AGXA (flown from England by Geoffrey Wickner in June 1946) as a freighter. It became VH-BDT, flew one charter to Singapore in June 1947 then the company was liquidated after its return to Mascot. The Halifax was sold for scrap.

5.47 Warren Penny established Intercontinental Air Tours, Sydney. Refer Intercontinental Air Tours chronology above

4.48 Intercontinental Air Tours ceased operations.

49-53 Penny was a pilot for Marshall Airways, Mascot, later Bankstown: Ansons, Dragon, Puss Moth, DC-2.
From Greg Banfield's unpublished history of Marshall Airways:
"On 9 February 1949 Warren Penny was called in to fly Marshall Airways Anson VH-AZX in a search for children missing in the Burragorang Valley. Further flying on ambulance work and carrying doctors to country towns followed and he struck a good deal of work over the next 15 months. Most of the ambulance trips in the Anson were to the western districts of NSW, although trips carring specialist doctors were largely to the northern part of the State. The work included many photography flights for the Press to obtain pictures which appeared on the front page of various newspapers of floods or visiting ships and such like, also charters carryingsheep and cattle buyers to sales around the country. When rail strikes paralysed NSW in 1949, Warren Penny carried mail to Brisbane and large quantities of freight to various places around the state. He flew a survey party to Kosciusko for the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority in the Anson and made several trips over the mountains area with the group who were planning the construction of the dams and tunnels. When Nabiac was cut off by floodwaters, Warren did quite a few trips in the Puss Moth, flying supplies of food.

Using both the Puss Moth VH-UQB and the Anson VH-AZX, Warren Penny made a number of trips to Bega on behalf of Cams Trawlers, a firm of wholesale fish suppliers in Sydney. Cams were operating their vessels out of Eden and had continuous trouble with their crews, so Marshall Airways would fly seamen down to the little strip at Bega, where they would be met by cars, which took them to the ships while the sacked crew members would be flown back to Sydney. Pigeon racing became popular around this time and on 16 July 1949 Warren took a load of pigeons in Anson VH-AZX to West Wyalong, where they were released to race back to Sydney. This was so successful that he subsequently flew quite a number of trips to various places with loads of pigeons. The carriage of pigeons developed into the delivery of chickens and he did a number of flights carrying day-old chicks to Dubbo, Parkes and Young.

Warren Penny also flew Sid Marshall's Douglas DC-2 VH-CDZ on joyriding and charter work. Subsequently he hired aircraft from Marshall on a number of occasions. He hired the Puss Moth, Anson and Dragon at various times and used them for flood relief work, charters and joyriding." 121

1.50 H.W.G. Penny declared Bankrupt due debts incurred by ICAT. Bankrupcy discharged in May 1956.

6.50 Established Inland Airways Pty Ltd, Broken Hill NSW, at request of five Wilcannia businessmen including the town mayor who financed the operation: Avro Anson VH-BMQ was purchased in June 1950 from Wagga Air Taxis. With Warren Penny as Chief Pilot, the company commenced scheduled services on 27 May 1950 on the route Bankstown-Dubbo-Ivanhoe-Wave Hill-Wilcannia, also between Wilcannia and Cobar and Broken Hill, and Wilcannia-Ivanhoe-Griffith. Due to lack of patronage, Inland Airways ceased operations only two months later on 19 July 1950 when the Anson was ferried back to Wagga. DCA reported: "One of the directors was Warren G. Penny. When he left the company, the set-up was very confused with no pilot and no operational experience." 50

7.50 Commenced hay dropping sorties from Narrabri NSW to stock stranded by floods. Continued these operations over the next year, using Anson VH-BMQ and Marshall's Anson VH-AZX and Dragon VH-AQU.

7.10.50 Departed Mascot in Marshall Airways Anson VH-AZX for Coffs Harbour participating in search for Auster Mk.3 VH-DAE which was missing enroute Coffs Harbour to Sydney on 4.10.50. Penny flew the Anson over the next six days. The Auster has never been located.

11.50 Commenced flood relief flights at Moree NSW for 4 months using Marshall Airways Dragon VH-AQU, carrying passengers between Moree and Narrabri where the railway line was still open, landing on the road just outside Moree.

50-52 Flew Lodestars VH-FAB and VH-FAC for Fawcett Aviation subsidiary Air Cargo Pty Ltd, Bankstown

3.51 Ferried Avro Anson VH-AYI from Tamworth following its sale by East West Airlines on 12.3.51 to Campbell-Hicks Airways, Condobolin NSW. The aircraft had an expired CofA at that time.

17.3.51 Warren Penny and Sid Marshall flew DC-2 VH-CDZ Mascot-Narrabri-Moree return to collect people stranded by floods. They did it again on 22 March, and a third DC-2 trip on 27 March was flown by Penny and Lionel Van Praag.

6.51 Penny established Air Centre, Narrabri NSW, financed by local graziers. Because he was an undischarged bankrupt, his wife's name Mrs. Monica M. Penny appears in all company records. 177
Anson VH-AYI was purchased on 13 June 1951 for £1200 and flown by Penny on general passenger charters. On 3 July 1951 the Anson was hired to Mrs. Monica M.Penny, but no funds were received from the hire. Some months later the company was no longer trading. The Anson was sold in April 1952 for $300 to Robbys Aircraft, Parafield SA.

12.51 Penny was flying Lodestar VH-FAD for South Coast Airways, Sydney

7.52 Flew Marshall Airways Anson VH-AZX chartered to airlift 2000 sheep stranded by floods on an island of higher ground on a property near near Hillston NSW. He flew in men and fencing to erect a temporary stockyard, then commenced the short flights to nearby higher land, landing on the island and packing 52 sheep into the Anson each trip. He moved another 2000 sheep for another farmer. Penny flew 120 hours in the Anson on this charter.

15.8.52 Flew Marshall Airways Dragon VH-AQU from Sydney to Maree SA with a documentary movie crew.

1.53 Sailed for UK to seek airline work, joined Skyways Ltd, London. He was apponted Manager Middle East based at Nicosia, Cyprus to build up business for Skyways Avro Yorks mostly used on British military trooping contracts. Then sent to Singapore to develop similar work. He left Skyways in January 1956 and returned to Sydney.

3.56 Commenced 3 months of flood relief charters at Brewarrina NSW firstly with Auster VH-KAG hired from John Conley of Australian Aircraft Sales, Kings Cross. After several weeks of flying 7 days a week, the propeller came off the engine on takeoff from Bourke with 2 passengers. Penny landed the Auster safely and found the crankshaft had seized. He immediately took a Butler Air Transport DC-3 service to Sydney and arranged to hire Marshall Airways Avro Anson VH-AZX with which Penny carried loads of 52 sheep off flood islands. He also rescued stranded stockmen, on one occasion landing alongside a group of 12 men and 3 dogs, which he flew out with the men standing together at the front of the cabin. When the Anson reached its hours before overhaul, Sid Marshall and his engineer Jack Davidson flew another Marshall Airways Anson VH-ASM to Narromine where they switched over and took AZX back to Bankstown. By the time ASM ran
out of hours, Sid had finished AZX and brought it back to Narromine. Penny airlifte a total of 4,475 sheep in 15 minute runs.

10.3.57 Penny flew Marshall Airways DC-2 VH-CDZ to Canberra, chartered by newspaper proprietor Frank Packer for a meeting with the Prime Minister.

57 Flew Tiger Moth crop spraying in NSW for Fawcett Aviation subsidiary Farm Air Pty Ltd.

20.12.57 Borrowed Marshall Airways Anson VH-AZX to fly to Coolangatta for an airshow which Warren and his two brothers had organised for a charity. When strong winds threatened to spoil the airshow, Warren flew the aircraft so slowly into the stiff wind that the Anson was stationary in front of the crowd.

2.1.58 Penny regularly flew Dragon VH-AQU for Marshall Airways for 6 months, including joyrides at The Entrance.

3.60 Penny purchased D.H.84 Dragon VH-PSZ and delivered it to Sydney from Parafield on 15 March 1960:he established his own company Independent Air Charter, Box 22, Woollahra Sydney: advertised charter flights in Dragon, Lockheed 10B and other types.

60 Appointed Aviation Manager for C. H. Degotardi Air Services, Sydney: delivered their Lockheed 10B VH-CHD from Charleville Qld in July 1960, used for real estate land purchase flights and general charter

19.7.60 Penny was a passenger on TAA Electra VH-TLB Sydney-Brisbane when he helped overpower a man attempting to hijack the aircraft with a dynamite bomb and fuse.

3.8.60 Penny made forced landing in Lockheed 10 VH-CHD due engine failure at Camooweal Qld on a passenger charter to NT: he was subsequently charged by DCA with operating overloaded.

2.63 Aviation Advisor and pilot for Western Air Courier Pty Ltd, 143 High Street, Hillston NSW. Directors included John Conley of Australian Aircraft Sales. Commenced a scheduled service in March 1963 between Hillston-Wilcannia-Ivanhoe-Griffith to carry passengers to connect with airlines to Sydney. Fleet was Beech Bonanza VH-BBQ and Lockheed LASA 60 VH-ELI both owned by Australian Aircraft Sales. There was a subsequent court case against Conley over investors' funds.

65 Formed engineering business Chemi-Coaters and sub-contracted to Transfield's Burrendong Dam project and Thiess Brothers at Groote Eylandt but Chemi-Coaters went into liquidation.

23.7.67 Penny was flying Marshall Airways Lockheed 10 VH-ASM on joyrides at Bankstown, when he made an emergency landing with a smoking starboard engine and suspect undercarriage: landed safely.

30.4.79 Penny gives away his Commercial Pilots licence

4.80 Last flights recorded in logbook

31.5.82 Penny gives away his Private Pilots Licence

Official flying hours - 21,149

Unofficial - 26,000

20.5.2001 Warren Penny died at Blacktown Hospital, Sydney.

Copyright - Greg Weir 2021