REYNOLDS,  Delphine Rose   [1907 - 1993]

The 1930’s saw the exploits of such famed female aviators as Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson and a Liverpool-born woman did her best to join their ranks with an attempt to fly from London to Cape Town.

Delphine Rose Reynolds was in a position to indulge her passion for aeronautical adventure as she was the daughter of the wealth cotton broker Sir James Reynolds. Born in 1907 she turned her hand to flying in the late 1920’s after an injury interfered with her horse riding. She flew her first solo flight on 28th September 1930 and soon after gained her pilot’s licence. Her proposal to attempt the journey received financial backing from her father and support from the Scottish peer and aviation pioneer Lord William Forbes-Sempill. (It is well worth researching Semple as he blatantly spied for the Japanese for two decades and despite being caught communicating with them just days before Pearl Harbour. Whereas the norm for treason in wartime was to be shot he escaped any punishment as Churchill did not want to embarrass the establishment.)

Her co-pilot for the flight was Flight-Lieutenant W G Pudney and they were to travel in her Blackburn ‘Bluebird’. The flight plan submitted to the South Africans said they would be carrying “firearms and ammunition but no radio”. They took off from Hanworth aerodrome on 1st March 1931 and were immediately plagued by bad weather, failing to make their intended destination of Boulogne and having to turn back on their second leg to Toulouse. Reaching Tangier by 11th March they made their way to Bathurst (now Banjul) in The Gambia on 17th March. From here they undertook various exploratory flights but their expedition to Cape Town was to make no further progress, damage to the plane and corrosion being cited as reasons for their failure.

This seemed to be the end of Delphine Reynolds aviation adventures. A report in the Liverpool Daily Post on 7th March 1939 praised her for her efforts to help refugees leave Germany for England, putting them up at her own expense in the family's London home.  In 1944 she married the Czech Ernst Polak, and in 1963 married John Trinick. She died in 1993 at her home, Treetops, Vicarage Way, Milnthorpe. She spent her childhood and youth at the Renolds’ family homes of Dove Park, Woolton L25 (in what is now Reynolds Park) and 12 Abercromby Square L7.

Dove Park, Woolton, L25

The Reynolds' mansion standing in what is now Reynolds Park.

12 Abercromby Square L7

The Reynolds' Liverpool home after Dove Park was burned down.

Delphine Reynolds in flight

Delphine Reynolds and her Sheltie by Sir John Lavery

Pictured in front of her Blackburn Bluebird


There is an account of her flight on a website about life in Sierra Leone and also on archiveshub.