Anniversary of the first Airmail Flight in South America
Flown By William Knox Martin in 1919
Includes Commemorative Postage Stamp depicting
William Knox Martin, his plane and Airmail drop.
Courtesy of Olivia Korringa (Martin) - 9-27-05
His first exploits developed in the United States, native of Salem, (Virginia), there he surprises everyone with his ability and expertise (as a flier). He searches new horizons and he hasn't yet reached the age of 20 when he joins the Air Force of his country. He receives honors and is flying higher than all the others.
Knox Martin, surpasses let's say, the orbit of his own ambitions. The geography of the world seems, in his airplane, a thin strip without limits and with horizons that accelerate with dizzying progression.
Canada, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the Lesser Antilles and South America appeal to his fabulous visionary mind. His experience secures airways of those parts of the world.
In New York, on a casual day, he meets Carlos Obregon, residing at that time in the city of Skyscrapers. With a letter of introduction, Knox travels to Barranquilla, where he becomes acquainted with members of the society of the cosmopolitan who were already the principal entrance to maritime, the International business center of undeniable privileges. Here it is decided to undertake his definitive journey; to create an Airmail Company, something truly unusual.
In addition it is demonstrated the curious experiences in carrying of the company. Everyone is surprised by the aerial acrobatics that make their hair stand up, when for example he passed his airplane between the two towers of the San Nicolas Church. "The looping the loop is one of the most blood-chilling maneuvers of this young foreign aviator, whom his friends humorously call, "The Crazy".
Yet, "The Crazy" fulfills the airmail flight to Puerto Colombia, the bathing beach next to the Old city picturesquely called; "The Sandy", which is 18 kilometers distance by train.
He transported sacks of letters, thus, completing the rite of quick air delivery satisfactorily, where his friend, Mario Santo Domingo shared in the accomplishment and joy among the Summer vacationers, applause on the evening return, sensational photographic declarations and news coverage by the local paper. The postage stamp with the effigy of Antonio Narino, carries the postmark with the date and remains forever dedicated as the first to fly for the sake of the dream and pledged solemnly that soon after there would be the official importance that claimed their epic.
Knox Martin, full of tenacity, accomplished another feat that honors at the same time the gallantry of the Hero. He resolved to participate in the competition that the Government proposes. Flying his own airplane, to arrive first at the finish line in Bogotá, where the Germans from the "Scadta", have already scrutinized the future air routes of Colombia. Helmuth Von Khron and Guillermo Schnourbush prepare themselves for the risk. The "Gringo" accelerates more and not only finishes, self satisfied to the finish line, but completes another more important feat; With his single motor plane, flies over the Boyaca Bridge, throwing the laurel crown from the air during the first Centennial commemoration of the Colombia Battle of Boyac, on August 7, 1919.
Never before had a company undertaken anything similar. Not only in our America, perhaps not even the world.
His idea, noble like the category of his lineage, intrepid and valuable which also qualifies the reason of his pedigree and bravery.
Thus the image of Knox Martin, dedicated to his gallantry, elegance, nobility, generosity, as the first in an unforgettable patriotic Lifetime.
He did not live through the paradox of destiny to celebrate his own ambition. After he rarely traveled to his birthplace, which when he returned, had married in Barranquilla, one son born on these Caribbean beaches, the other in the United States, unfortunately, shortly after in a flash of bad luck, not in the air, but on the State highway when he was traveling as a passenger, enjoying the privileges that provided his tenacity and optimism, tragedy interceded that took him to his grave in the year 1927.
His third son had been born earlier that same month in the United States.
William Knox Martin is a symbol, creed and apotheosis.
For the airmail in Colombia, an epic.
For Aviation, a Romantic Hero.