8. Charles William Snook (1891-1948), aviator
Charles Snook was born in North Fremantle and educated in Perth and Sydney before attending Hawkesbury Agricultural College. At the age of 24 years he went to England to follow a boyhood dream of becoming an aircraft pilot. He won a commission in the Royal Flying Corps and in 1915 enlisted in the Royal Air Force. Snook was subsequently shot down over Germany and taken prisoner.
In 1917 he was exchanged for a German officer and was posted to Salisbury, England, until the end of the war. He returned to Australia after the war, working as a commercial pilot for a time in Sydney. Snook then took up farming in Western Australia before settling in Perth with his wife, Hilda Burn Kershaw, a medical practitioner.
Snook’s interest in aviation once again came to the fore. He became a flying instructor with Western Air Services. He organised “joy rides” and often performed with the parachutist Jimmy Reece. From 1934-36 he was chief pilot on photographic surveys of the Eastern Goldfields. With other interested investors, he formed Airlines (WA) Ltd and operated the Perth-Wiluna- Kalgoorlie routes.
Though times were difficult during the Great Depression, he persevered with the joyrides and the mail run. He purchased a Stinson Reliant for flights to Rottnest Island, Esperance, Port Hedland, Marble Bar and Meekatharra. The plane was destroyed by enemy action in Broome in 1942, but the company continued and prospered.