19. John Cowe McIntosh (1892-1921), aviator
John McIntosh was born in Lumsden, Scotland. He was the illegitimate son of a 29-year-old servant maid, Isabella Cook, and a young apprentice mason, William Cow. McIntosh was adopted as an infant into the family of James McIntosh. His adoptive parents added “e” to his name and he was registered as John Cowe McIntosh.
Following his 17th birthday, John McIntosh left Scotland and arrived in Fremantle on the SS Ormuz in June 1909. When war began in 1914, McIntosh joined the 4th Field Ambulance of the Australian Imperial Force and served in Gallipoli. He was evacuated to England in 1915 and married a widow, Amelia Taylor. By the end of the war, he had reached the rank of acting second lieutenant in the Australian Flying Corp and was ready for repatriation back to Australia.
In March 1919, the Australian Government offered 10,000 pounds for the first flight between Australia and England. Even though he could not fly, McIntosh took up the challenge with Ray Parer. They left England on 8 January 1920 and arrived in Darwin 208 days later on 2 August 1920. The record stands as the longest time taken to fly between the two countries.
John McIntosh was killed at the age of 29 in a plane crash while participating in a display flight in the wheatbelt town of Pithara (237 kms north of Perth).