Paul Redfern (Page Four)

They had heard from Jimmy Angel who reported a different site for their son’s airplane. They also had communicated with an American engineer named Lee Dennison. Altogether some twelve expeditions were made to South America between 1927 and 1938.



Gertrude Redfern came to the conclusion before the Waldeck expedition was completed that her husband was dead.  A clipping from a January issue of a Detroit newspaper states that on “January 4, 1938, a circuit judge granted a petition, in which Redfern’s wife sought to have him officially declared dead.” Mrs. Redfern was quoted as saying, “I believe my husband perished as did many other ocean fliers.”  Also, “she said she believed that the scientific expeditions by trustworthy agencies have proven conclusively that her husband was not alive but had perished at sea.”

In an article published in Art of flight, artist/author Robert Carlin states that in 1982 a Gene Lowe and David Bell got together for the purpose of locating the Stinson Detroiter. Gene Lowe is identified as a former World War Two pilot who has located a number of lost and wrecked planes, including a Stinson Detroiter SM-1 from the Greenland icecap where it had been for forty years.  David Bell is described as a successful author of a number of aviation books, including one containing a chapter about Paul Redfern.

After a careful study of the available materials, Lowe and Bell decided to give credence to a report made by a well-known jungle bush pilot named Jimmy Angel.  Angel had reported that he had flown over Redfern’s plane many times. He also stated that as time passed the airplane settled deeper in the jungle. Although Angel had given a latitude-longitude fix on the wreck, Robert Carlin states that these reports were not believed at the time they were made “because Angel was known for his bombast, especially when he was trying to raise money, and because it seemed incredible that Redfern actually had managed to reach Venezuela.” Jimmy Angel is best remembered today for discovering the highest waterfall in the world in Venezuela which is named for him, Angel Falls.

Lowe and Bell then found in their research a map and crash location for Redfern’s airplane which had been developed at that time by Henri Villard, a consular official, in Caracas. Quoting again from Robert Carlin, “Villard compared Angel’s data with that of Christian Krogh’s crew and found an immense amount of commonality in all of it.” Lowe and Bell then located Marie Angel. They were unable to talk with Jimmy because he died in an airplane crash in 1956. Marie talked about her experiences as a copilot on many of her husband’s jungle flights. She described Paul Redfern’s airplane, and how it seemed to sink deeper and deeper into the jungle canopy over time.


Redfern and his friend Bill Haynes created this hand-drawn map of his proposed flight and autographed it. Later, during a commemoration in 1969, the map was autographed by an astronaut who participated in the occasion.

Clara M. McCall writing for The Masonic News stated: Redfern  “apparently planned to steer southeast, at just about 135 degrees on the compass, pass Puerto Rico and Trinidad, and pick up the coast line of Brazil at its northeast corner. He was to drop a flare over the town of Macapa in Brazil, north of the Amazon, as he passed it the second night, and follow the coast line to Rio if all went well.”      

Courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum

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Columbia, SC 29205

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