Arthur Cornwell, a 96-year-old aviation enthusiast and resident at SCC’s Joseph Cooke House in Shelley, has proven that you’re never too old to fulfill your dreams, after his recent flight with the Royal Aero Club of Western Australia.
The idea for the flight was thanks to Ian Simms, SCC’s Head of Pastoral Care and Volunteers Services. In conversation about Arthur’s birthday with Edward Paulson, the Clinical Nurse at Joseph Cooke House, Ian learned of Arthur’s love of aviation and his desire to get in a plane again. Ian got in touch with the Royal Aero Club of WA and they were delighted to help Arthur, kindly donating a 30-minute flight in a Tiger Moth plane.
On 28th May at Jandakot Airport, Arthur took off with pilot John Douglas in the Tiger Moth, and it was as wonderful and exhilarating as he was hoping it would be.
Arthur has had a love and fascination for flying his entire life. Born in London to a working class family, upon the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939, Arthur lied about his age and got accepted into the Royal Air Force (RAF) at age 17. Not long after, doing well in his exams and proving to be a natural pilot during training, he was quickly offered an immediate service in 1940. During the War he served overseas, flying 18 different types of aircraft.
He left the Air Force in 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant but remained on reserve and on commission with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was also a Sergeant employed in a civilian position in the Territorial Army. After leaving the Air Force, Arthur enjoyed a long career as business executive and management consultant with well known companies including The Rank Organisation, Bang and Olufsen and Nokia.
Arthur met his wife Sally, who was also working in the RAF, in 1942 at the Lyneham RAF base in the UK. They married in 1944 and were married for 50 years until she passed away in 1994. Having moved to Australia in 1978, Arthur and Sally settled in the Langford and Thornlie area in Perth. He retired at 64 but continued to enjoy his passion for all things aviation through his volunteer work at the Bullcreek Aviation Museum where he restored over 500 models of aircraft.
Arthur said he was thrilled to have the opportunity get the chance to go in a plane again.
“I was fortunate to have the chance to fly many different aircraft over the years, but I never had the chance to fly Tiger Moths so I was really looking forward to experiencing this flight.
“I would like to thank everyone who made the flight possible, and for helping me to continue my love of flying,” Arthur said.