Lady Grace Drummond-Hay

Lady Grace Drummond-Hay aboad Graf Zeppelin

Lady Grace Drummond-Hay aboard Graf Zeppelin

Lady Grace Hay Drummond-Hay was closely associated with zeppelin travel aboard the Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg.

New Film about Lady Drummond Hay

Grace Drummond Hay’s experience on the Graf Zeppelin’s Round-the-World flight, and her romance with fellow journalist Karl von Wiegand, is the subject of the recently released film Farewell by Dutch filmmaker Ditteke Mensink.

Several elements of the film are fictional, as discussed in more detail on the blog.

Grace Drummond Hay Biography

Born Grace Marguerite Lethbridge, she was the widow of a British diplomat, Sir Robert Hay Drummond-Hay.

As a journalist for the Hearst press organization, Drummond-Hay made her first zeppelin flight in October, 1928, when she was chosen to accompany five other reporters — including her companion and Hearst colleague Karl von Wiegand — on the first transatlantic flight of the Graf Zeppelin from Germany to America.  As the only woman on the flight, Drummond-Hay received a great deal of attention in the world’s press.

Grace Drummon-Hay and Karl von Wiegand in control car of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin

Grace Drummond-Hay and Karl von Wiegand in control car of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin

In March of 1929, Lady Drummond Hay and von Wiegand were once again aboard Graf Zeppelin, for the ship’s “Orient Flight” to Palestine.

Clara Adams and Lady Grace Hay-Drummond-Hay

Clara Adams and Lady Grace Hay Drummond-Hay

Later in 1929, the Hearst organization co-sponsored Graf Zeppelin’s historic Round-the-World flight, and their reporter Lady Drummond-Hay was once again a passenger.  She was the only woman among the 60 male passengers and crew, which again included her companion von Wiegand.  Drummond-Hay’s presence on the flight, and her reporting as the ship circled the globe, garnered tremendous attention in the press.

Lady Drummond-Hay was also onboard the Hindenburg’s maiden flight from Germany to the United States in May, 1936, along with aviation enthusiast Clara Adams.

During the flight, Lady Drummond-Hay wrote and posted a letter to her friend Adams, looking forward to meeting again “as companions in adventure when the next Zeppelin is completed.”

The letter is dated is dated May 8, 1936; the age of the passenger zeppelin ended just a year later, with the Hindenburg disaster of May 6, 1937.


(click to enlarge)

My dear Clara:

I cannot tell you how happy I was to find you on board the Hindenburg as one of the passengers on her first flight from Germany to America. I hope we will meet again as “companions in adventure” when the next Zeppelin is completed, and that once more we will pioneer a path through the air together.

Kindest thoughts always,
your sincere friend,

Grace M Hay Drummond Hay


(click to enlarge)

Lady Drummond-Hay and her partner Karl von Wiegand were in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded the islands in 1942, and both were interned in a Japanese camp.  Although Drummond-Hay survived the war and returned to New York, she died of coronary thrombosis in early 1946 as a result of the extremely harsh conditions she had suffered at the hands of the Japanese.

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{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

Dagmara Lizlovs July 26, 2015 at 10:19 pm


Good article on the Lady Grace Hay-Drummond Hay.

Here are some additional things on the Lady Grace Hay-Drummond Hay that I have looked into.

She was born on 12 September 1895. She passed away on 12 February 1946. In addition to being a journalist, the Lady Drummond Hay also learned to fly. It appears that she was well known in the circles of women pilots.

I found this clip of Captain Ernst Lehmann serenading the Lady Drummond Hay on board the Graf Zeppelin during the round the world flight:

When she arrived in Japan aboard the Graf Zeppelin, the Drummond Hay was treated like royalty. Here is this excerpt from Douglas Botting “Dr. Eckener’s Dream Machine”:

“. . . Lady Hay whom the Japanese had dubbed ‘the queen of the Zeppelin’, was the only woman present – ‘queenly beautiful’ as the press described her. Later that evening in a speech to an audience of two thousand in the Asahi Auditorium, she spoke of the honour of being the of being the only woman on the Graf’s world flight, ‘a recognition and a tribute to the women of the twentieth century who are trying so hard to take their place worthily among the workers and history-makers of their generation.”

As the Graf Zeppelin left Japan, according to Botting the Drummond Hay typed out this note which was sent from the Graf Zeppelin by carrier pigeon:

“Aboard the Graf Zeppelin, Aug. 23 – (by carrier pigeon)
Japan like a lovely mirage, beckons tantalizingly from the fading distance. The garden-like country with its doll-like houses was a wonderful panorama. We have just come out of a beautiful dream, a flowery Utopia, where every one is kind, smiling, helpful and courteous . . .”

What a bitter irony her internment in a Japanese camp must have been.

There is an award that has been named after her – The Lady Grace Hay-Drummond Hay Trophy (AKA Lady Hay Drummond Hay – Jessie R. Chamberlin Memorial Trophy) by the Women’s International Association of Aeronautics which was given to women in aviation of outstanding achievement. Some of the women who have received this trophy:

Doris Renninger-Brell

Mary Gaffany

Viola Gentry

There is also this concoction named after her and here is the recipe:

As a journalist she also covered war zones in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and was a foreign correspondent in Manchuria working closely with Karl von Wiegand. After she was cremated, Karl von Wiegand brought her ashes back to the United Kingdom. At her funeral, as is fitting for the Queen of the Zeppelin, Lady Grace Hay-Drummond Hay wore a jewel given to her by the Ethiopian Emperor Hailie Selassie.


Helena August 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

Einer der wunderbarsten Filme der noch zeitlich nahen 85jährigen Geschichte. Es passt einfach alles. Die berührende Story um die junge Journalistin Grace Hay eingebunden in die traumhaften Aufnahmen im und aus dem ersten Luftschiff der Welt, die historischen Aufnahmen von Natur, Land und Leuten und das alles im Zusammenhang mit den hereinbrechenden politischen, persönlichen und Naturereignissen. Dieser materialaufwendige, berührende Film mit seinen einfühlsamen Sprechern und der tragenden Musik präsentiert ein bewegendes Zeugnis der jüngeren Vergangenheit, das so in seiner Gesamtschau einmalig ist. Ein herzliches Dankeschön an das große (und das im doppelten Sinn!) Team der Macher! Ich würde den Film gern als Video kaufen. Mal sehen ob das klappt. Also, unbedingt anschauen.


nathalie wilson March 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm

How can I see this documentary in full?


Gregory Bennett April 16, 2014 at 6:10 am

The documentary is on YouTube:


Frank Feigel March 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I have some letters and signed books from Lady Hay Dummond Hay she wrotes to my grandfather. If anyone is interested in copies?
Greetings from Germany


nathalie wilson March 24, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Hi, my name is Avaline Wilson, age 10. I am doing a school project on Lady Grace and I was wondering if I could get a signed copy of one of your letters you have?

Thank you so much


Larry Smith September 1, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Mr. Feigel,

I’d be interested in procuring copies of Lady Drummond-Hay’s letters to your grandfather. Would you have a PDF version of this? Otherwise, I’d be pleased to pay for postage.

Are the letters written in German?


Peter Diderich August 29, 2016 at 8:30 am

I am highly interested in copies of these letters and what books Lady Drummond-Hay signed. Do you think it is possible to acquire a pdf or copies? (Greetings from Germany).


Jack McAdam November 30, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Congratulations to everyone that contributed to this fascinating film. Most engaging and beautifully edited and produced. Keep up the great work.

Jack McAdam


Peter Young May 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

What an amazing TV programme that was , about the worlds first zeppelin flight around the entire globe! It has made me look at what happened to her and Karl; and how sad for them ending up in a jap POW camp! Tragic.


Brian June 2, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi Peter,

I couldn’t agree more, what an amazing tv programe. Perhaps, you’d like to contact me and exchange views on that extroudinary one and half hour show.


Krister Horn September 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I had the privilege to watch the wonderful documentery about the tour around the world of the Graf Zeppelin. What an amazing story with the nice report of lady Grace and her feelings for Karl von Wiegand.
We enjoyed it very much.
Krister, The Netherlands


monika March 3, 2011 at 11:41 am

Great documentary, interesting. I taped it. Shown on TVO in Ontario, Canada.

Likely one can get a copy for reference on ebay. If it’s printed, or shown, it will appear there. Great and interesting about the Zepplin. thanks for making it.


Sanna Harjula December 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I saw the document Farwell in finnish FST-chanel. It was so fascinating and beautifull! Thank you Lady Grace Hay Drummond Hay!



anjoyplanet November 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

In this beautiful day of November 28, 2010, through I went to the website (, where I was finally able, after years and years of dreaming that it will be existing somewhere,(from childhood !) I experience the images and high emotions of the amazing FAREWELL document… Indescribably beautiful, invaluable historical document about human dreams and emotions…
A huge and warm thank you to Ditteke Mensink, who built this wonderful film FAREWELL, with images that will remain forever engraved in the hearts of those who admire the great explorers of our past century … ;-)
After that i search web for hours to find the DVD that I really want to keep like a tresor… AND I FINALLY FOUND IT HERE :
What a wunderful christmas gift isn’it ?
Good bye dear Zeppelin fan… I’m a part now too ;-)))


Maryam November 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I saw the documentary today and enjoyed it a lot. Germans are great engineers indeed.


Jason Wallace September 22, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Dear Dan

I am very intrigued about the film farewell dairies of lady Grace Drummond hay i have seen the trailer and it looks stunning i was wondering if or how i might be able attain a copy wether you could send me one via e-mail or a link to a site to get one or even post it on your youtube account so i may download it on to my ipod

if you could do either of the above or anyhting else i would be very much obliged

yuors sincerely Jason Wallace


Jamie August 15, 2010 at 12:58 am


I realise that it has been a while since the last post on this forum about this topic but I am considering doing a PhD thesis (English Literature) on airship travel narratives (non-fiction) and the relationship with popular responses to modernism. In particular, I would like to look at the romance of airship travel and the public fascination with this form of exotic travel. While doing some preliminary research, I came across Lady Grace Hay Drummond-Hay, and am very interested in her biography and her literary output (journal correspondence et al). I understand that Gerard Nijssen (above) conducted the research for the film and am interested in obtaining any primary source information (if he found any – from indications all that was available was secondary source info). Her diaries don’t seem to be available publicly, but I wonder if any surviving relatives have these? Perhaps unlikely due to then fact that she had no children and was only married to Sir Robert for 6 years. If I pursue this research (dependent on how much info I can get) then all and any information will be dutifully acknowledged and cited as per MLA rules.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Jamie (BA English (Hons) and History)


Dan ( August 15, 2010 at 10:04 am

Many of the narratives on this subject were not written in English, and so may not be appropriate for an English Literature dissertation. For example, Carl Bruer published several accounts about his zeppelin travels, including “Mit dem Luftschiff Graf Zeppelin nach Suf Amerika”, “Mit dem Luftschiff Graf Zeppelin nach Kairo”, “Mit dem Luftschiff Graf Zeppelin nach Island”, and “Erste Fahrt des Luftschiffes Hindenburg nach Nordamerika”.

Many of the English writings are also in the form of short magazine articles, such as Mary Day Winn’s “Up Ship! Crossing on the Hindenburg.”


Jamie August 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the prompt reply. I realise that many of the narratives were in German (and possibly other languages), however, Lady Drummond-Hay was English, as were many other airship passengers (not to mention the wealthy Americans). It is obvious from anecdotal evidence that she did keep a diary (or many), but the whereabouts are unknown. Perhaps she really did have only the one diary, which may have been taken when she was captured by the Japanese, or else is destroyed or in the hands of a third-party (descendants of hers or her boyfriend). I was only wondering if anyone had more letters or correspondence. If not, then I will have to assess what I can do with the information I have sourced to date, and whether to pursue this line of investigation.




Gerard Nijssen August 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Dear Jamie,
I hope you get my private mail adress this way. I “anm very well willing to give you information on for instance the letters of Lady Grace to Karl von Wiegand and so on, And copys of her articles (as far as they are not in the posession of the producer of the film.
To be clearly: there are no diaries of Lady Grace (as far as I know), The diary in the film is fictional!1.
Can you contact me over my private mail, so that this information can be shared between the two of us (and not openly on the internet). I don’t no how we can get contact, without everybody getting to know my mailadress (sorry dear readers). Lets try to find a way (wih the help of the webmaster??)
I hope you get on with Lay Grace. She is a great person to write about! She deserves it.
With friendly greetings, Gerard Nijssen


Dan ( August 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Jamie and Gerard:

I will provide you with each other’s address privately.



Amy Theil.Palmer September 28, 2013 at 1:42 am

I am the great granddaughter of Karl H Von Wiegand. Mymother is the grand daughter of Karl. She is still alive and has things that were sent to her from Karl and she used to spend time with Karl and Lady Hay in New York when age was a child. I would like to see any letters betweenLady Hay and Karl that might be out there.
Thank you


Elena Danielson October 15, 2013 at 9:33 pm

I assume you know that here is a large collection of original documentation on the Zeppelin flights in the Karl H. von Wiegand collection in the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University. The register is available at the Online Archive of California. There is a substantial series of Grace Drummond_Hay’s own letters and writings in his collection. Elena Danielson


James November 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Grace was my great-aunt, and I supplied some information for the film as well have quite a few letters and pictures. Let me know if you need any help



Historian August 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Dear Gerard and James:
I’m interested in learning more about Lady Hay Drummond Hay. I am a published historian (major US publisher) and am wondering if we could talk privately as well? Excellent job with “Farewell.”


Amy Theil.Palmer September 28, 2013 at 1:45 am

HI James…
I am the Great Granddaughter of Karl H Von Wiegand. I too some letters and photos from Karl. Would love to see the letters and photos you have from your great Aunt.

Thank you
Amy Theil Palmer


wolfgang both February 11, 2016 at 11:28 am

Hello James, there is a story that Lady Drummond-Hay visited 1931 the rocket testing area (Raketenflugplatz) in Berlin during her travel around the world. Do you have any information about her visit? Article in newspaper? In which papers did she publish that time? Did she write about the German rocketeers?
Looking forward your information


Josie Ashton-Mosley April 24, 2010 at 10:17 am


I was very interested to read about a number of people who have a connection with Lady Grace Drummond-Hay and I wondered if anyone would be kind enough to send me any copies of letters, diaries or just family stories as I would be interested in putting them into an article or biography. Her story both bedazzled and moved me, and I love her written word in her diaries, it’s very difficult to explain how much this lady in all senses of the word from bygone years has reached out to touch another woman over 50 years after her tragically early death. I will treat all genuine information with respect and confidentiality.
Many thanks



Dan ( April 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Just so you know, the words in the film were not written by Lady Drummond-Hay; the “diary” was a fictional creation written by the filmmaker.


George April 19, 2010 at 9:38 pm

nice one David, Keeley would make a great Lady Hay. Great film, loved it. I’m not surprised so many people thought it was a documentary as it feels so authentic.


SL April 14, 2010 at 9:30 am

An amazing documentary that [also] caused me to search the internet. I have taught the History of the Aviation Industry for about ten years and I thought that I was well aware of airship history, however I never knew about this quite interesting lady. I do hope that someone will write a biography because her life – her very interesting life, cries out for 21st century recognition.


rachel April 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm

it is an honour to be related to lady Grace Drummond-Hay!
it is amazing to research the history of her journeys, and how she explored them with great enthusiasm!
the moment i could understand that she was my anscestor and how she travelled the world inspires me.


DAVID ALAN March 5, 2010 at 7:25 am

Such a natural and fascinating jouney across a pre 2nd world war world, you would have to have a heart made from the airships steel not to have been moved and touched by its honesty and content.
A story full of Drama, Conflict,History,Passion and LOVE….I would dearly love to see a full length cinema re-make so many more people could be lost in its natural charm and beauty and would cast KEELEY HAWES, [D.I.Alex Drake from AShes to Ashes], portraying Lady Grace………she has the look,style,sophistication and voice to enhance an already superb and unforgetable story.


mark coll February 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Lady Grace will for ever continue her adventure


Reg Cleworth February 14, 2010 at 5:09 am

Have just watched the documentry about the “graf Zeppelin” and “Lady Grace Drummond Hay” for the third time. I found it totally absorbing and lost myself in the story, so much so that I have spent most of this sunday morning on the internet looking up references about her and her exploits.
Its such a shame that she died at an early age, but her life seemed to have more substance than many of much older years.
I hope for more programmes of this incredible woman.


Stuart Blagden February 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Just saw this amazing and wonderful documentary on the revolutionary BBC iplayer (tv will never be the same again) always been fascinated by the great but short lived age of the airships, such airborne glamour and sophistication that will probably never be surpassed in this age of economy air travel.Wonderful footage that transported the viewer back in time and from the viewpoint of the marvelous Lady Grace (my daughters name also,not lady of course she is only eight). I too wondered about the storm and subsequent water landing.How did they get the footage of the Graf lifting off the water when they were in the middle of know where.Or was some poor soul sacrificed in the name of cinemagraphic history making. Joking apart the people of that time seem to be made of very stern stuff and extremely brave to put their lives in the hands of a relatively new technology. I especially liked the camera man who climbed out on to the girders of that skyscraper to get his perfect shot of the Graf as it returned to New York,true balls of steel.I see two films that could be made from this story .The life of Lady Grace and the life of the plucky stowaway “Clarence Terhune”.


Edale March 3, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Apparently that was a shot of a different airship. The Graf Zeppelin could not land on the ocean, only on a calm lake. It seems this amazing film was not a documentary really as there was “dramatic License” taken by the producers.


Rosmarin February 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm

What an amazing film. Incredible that the footage of these prewar movies still exists! A pity that the airships didnt survive into our age, along with the flying boats. Lady Grace Drummond-Hay must have been such a brave and exceptional person for her times. How unlucky to be caught by the Japanese but with no time to write about those experiences before her untimely death. Congratulations to the people in Holland who made the film and to the BBC for showing it on TV a few days ago (February 7th).


Bill Lumb February 10, 2010 at 5:48 am

That was the most fascinating and enthrorling documentatry I have ever seen. Is it out on DVD/Download. I have been looking at the history of drummuon-hay.

Best Wishes


sandra smith February 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm

just like many of the contributors after watching this fascinating film I had to find out more on Lady Grace. She certainly packed a lot into her short but very eventful life. I love this kind of programme BBC4 is so good at it, I enjoyed the Albert Khan series. More of this kind of programme please.

Sandra UK


Don February 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Just watched ‘Around the world by Zeppelin’ on BBC4, facinating viewing! Don, Dublin.


Lyn Hughes February 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I watched this programme enthralled! As soon as the programme had finished I had to Google ‘Lady Grace’ to find out what happened to her after her flight. How sad to read that she died tragically at such a young age. Did she write about her experiences in the Japanese Camp? There is definitely a film waiting to be made about her life. What an amazing woman.


Mark February 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Does anyone know if the diaries have been published?


Eileen November 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

The diaries are fictional. Some of the events in the doc are also.


Vincent Ross February 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Great piece of factual film, a credit to the BBC for putting this really fantastic footage together, if it was silent it would be just as good, who’s is that voice?I’m watching it again now.


Julie February 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

What a fantastic documentory. Lady Grace was a truly brave women. Sad to hear that she died so young.


Graham Knight February 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

Like many others I found this documentary enthralling.
So much so that I did some research and have now become very puzzled!

If one looks up reports of the Round the World trip you will find no mention of problems with the strom while crossing the Pacific as shown in the film.

On the contrary you find such statements as,
“On August 23 the crew set course across the northern Pacific ocean. After an uneventful 67 hours of flying, during which passengers were able to observe whales and ships beneath them, the airship arrived off the coast of California.”

Any suggestions?

Graham Knight


Dan ( February 9, 2010 at 9:20 am

Many elements were fictionalized, as discussed on the blog.


David Pickstock February 9, 2010 at 7:32 am

BBC FOUR this documentory was amazing what a fantastic subject the diary of Lady Grace Drummond – Hay would be for a for a movie !
A beautifully made film thank you for producing such wonderful work.


Steve February 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Terrific in every sense. I knew nothing about her, her career or the relationship with Karl but at the end of thi program was left with an impression that I had (through her writings and the stiking pictures) an intimate insight into the person and her brief life

Haunting… It left me wanting to know more.


Pauline Quigley February 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Enjoyed the programme on BBC so much. What marvellous footage, and so enhanced by the reading of Lady Drummond Hay’s diaries of the time. Cannot believe I have not heard of her before……so sad to hear that she died soon after her release from the terrible conditions she must have suffered during the war.


edmo February 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm

i have the sentiment as many great content.


David Brown February 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

Lady Drummond Hay’s comments on the share mania amongs the men on board the Graf Zeppelin were very prophetic – this was just a few weeks before the Wall Street Crash.


Eileen November 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm

“Diary” quoted in the doc is FICTIONAL.


Bill Bowman February 8, 2010 at 5:37 am

Watched the documentary and was absolutely fascinated. What an amazing adventure.


Pat Knight February 8, 2010 at 5:07 am

What a fascinating personal insight Lady Grace gave us into the Graf Zeppelin’s round-the-world trip. Truly captivating photography made it such a riveting film. Would love to find out more about her life. However, very sad to learn she and Karl von Wiegand ended up in a Japanese prisoner of war camp which led to her premature death in 1946. So many lives destroyed soon after that joyous film was made.


Trevor February 7, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Thanks to the BBC for this gripping historical narrative and for putting it on BBC i-player. We need a follow-up bio pic about Lady Grace – there must be some of her friends and colleagues still alive who would be able to contribute, in addition to her own published and private writings. Thanks.


Carol February 7, 2010 at 6:55 pm

after watching this programme just a couple of hours ago on BBC4. I couldn’t wait to get on to the web to find out more. The photography was amazing and a really intersting documentory. thank you


SB February 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Saw her story on BBC4 today. Fascinating and beautifully made.


Pete February 7, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Our family have just sat and watched Lady Grace Hay and the Graf Zepplin airship footage. How wonderful and what a treat to see how life was then. We were absolutely enthralled and have just been onto wikipedia to find out some more information on her life. Thanks so much for this – we loved it.


martin val baker April 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Yes it was a quite beautiful film – have watched it twice.
Grace’s name rang a bell and I checked up and found out that she was taught to fly by my grandfather Valentine Baker around 1930 (he also taught Amy Johnson and Edward VIII & his brothers)


Clare Fox February 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm

One of the most human, sensitive piece of sound, sight, researched, biographical documentary we have seen. Thanks to you and BBC4.


GringoPeruano February 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm

YES – INCREDIBLE film footage on BBC4
and it is repeated on Tues 9th and Wed 10th Feb. 2010 on BBC4.
Unfortunately it is not available on BBC Iplayer (some “rights restrictions”).
There is even an 18 year old stoway on this round the world journey and great in-sights into political events of the day… 1929; between the two World Wars.
regards Richard


johnny bull February 8, 2010 at 9:03 am

Richard, I’ve just caught up with the last bit on iPlayer, so it seems it does work.
I thought it was almost too good a bit of telly to be true…


GringoPeruano February 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Ho Johnny,
Yep, you’re right – it is available on iPlayer.
I must have looked too early!

BTW: Great web site you’ve got there.


johnny bull February 9, 2010 at 5:01 am

Thanks Richard. I stuck a bit of writing up, if you’re interested… you might have seen it though:


ian williams February 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm

my freinds father was radio operator on the “blue funnel line” ship that crossed the pacific from sydney to seattle [august 1929] in front of the LZ-127 zeppelin , which the graf Zeppelin followed .
he built and operated the radio beacon transmitter that the airship DF followed across the pacific .
his name was J.R WITTY aka Reg Witty , his ham radio callsign was G5WQ .
i have an electronics book signed inside by him which says JR WITTY SEATTLE AUGUST 31ST 1929 .

great film , have just watched it , wonderfull film footage .


maia February 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm

You should write something about him, he sounds amazing, and one of those ‘common people’ who disappear from history. Would they let you put it on Wikipedia? That’s so interesting. I know my uncle would be interested, he was a merchant seaman radio operator after WW2 and his stories of then are unbelievable, what they got up to – you can imagine, no rules no common sense! – but he won’t write them down or be interviewed and i’m not bothering to tape his phonecalls for the occasional gems. Hope your friend is/was more forthcoming.


Alistair Kerr February 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Just a “heads-up” to say that there is a 90 minute film on UK television by Ditteke Mensink on Sunday the 6th February at 9pm – 10.30pm: titled “Around the World By Airship” – Lady Grace Drummond-Hay’s round the world trip by the Graf in August 1929 forms the basis of this film – looks fascinating!
Is this the same recent film mentioned in the posts above?


Dan ( February 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Thank you for letting our visitors know!

Yes, that is the film discussed on this blog posting.


martin val baker April 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Yes it was a quite beautiful film – have watched it twice.
Grace’s name rang a bell and I checked up and found out that she was taught to fly by my grandfather Valentine Baker (see Wikipedia, ) around 1930 (he also taught Amy Johnson and Edward VIII & his brothers)


Rae Tait December 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Thanks Dan for keeping me informed.. There are many people with the great luck to see this footage, I am so jealous…..Keep up the good work.


Betty Damiaans December 12, 2009 at 7:08 pm

I am looking forward to the 21st of December
Henk Timmerman Recommended!!!! it


Rae Tait December 16, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Betty Thank you for your news.. I am in Australia, so although it is being shown in Germany I am unable to see this wonderful footage. I don’t know how anybody could get a copy to suit . I hope to receive more news someday.


Henk Timmerman December 9, 2009 at 6:47 am

This morning I saw her history around the world on ARTE a German T:V channel-


steve remfrey December 9, 2009 at 6:08 am

on german tv(channel arte)i watched a film called graf zeppelin um die welt,about lady drummond hays journey aboard the graf zeppelin world flight 1929.the film shows and tells about her experiences on board the airship.very interesting.on saturday, the 12th december, this film is shown again at 10.15 am.on the same channel….


Hartmut Rast December 6, 2009 at 5:13 am

Recently, I saw the documentary about the Graf Zeppelin D-LZ 127 as first airship to circumnavigate the world in 1929 – on board as journalist for Hearst Newspapers, Lady Grace Drummond-Hay – a really remarkable woman. Would love to dwell on her diaries and get to know more about the political and economical situation following the “Black Friday”.


karl December 6, 2009 at 4:38 am

Ther’s a good program on the Graf with her view on events shown here for the next few days:,CmC=2964172.html
in German


Rae Tait June 13, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Thanks Dan. It was actually shown on the ABC. If you do come across this sometime I would appreciate if you may remember to let me know. Thanks again Rae Tait


Gerard Nijssen November 19, 2009 at 8:00 am

Dear Rae,
This weekend there will be the first showing of the archive Footage film Farwell. In this feature length flm Lady grace is the main character on the World Trip of the Graf Zeppelin in 1929.
I did the film- and historicla research for this film. And now that this film i finished I would like to get to know more about Lady grace. I did find a lot of letters to her colleague and lover Karl von Wiegand.
Iám oping to hear from you
with kindly regards
Gerard Nijssen, Amsterdam, Holland


Dan ( December 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Dear Mr. Nijssen:

Thanks for your comments; it’s a pleasure to have you visit the website.



Rae Tait December 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Hi Gerard. Did you manage to get a copy….It is fascinating for everyone.


Rae Tait July 2, 2010 at 2:44 am

Hi Gerard, I am a little late in reply but if you email me I can give you details of the letters I have to my husbands Aunty Known as Lethy. I am still looking for a DVD on the film. If you can help I would very much appreciate any help. Thanks Rae


Rae Tait June 2, 2009 at 8:26 pm

My husbands Aunty was a friend of Lady Grace, We have letters written by her to our Aunty telling of her journalistic travels during her time abroad and of her aeroplane race travels. I am looking for a dvd on the programe Airships. Do you know where I could obtain this? Regards Rae Tait Darwin NT Australia


Dan ( June 10, 2009 at 8:27 am

Thank you for your comment! It is always nice to hear from people with a personal connection to the events and individuals discussed on the website.

Unfortunately, though, I am not sure which particular program you mean, or where you could get a DVD in Australia. I wish I could be of more help.


Henk Timmerman December 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Arte a German will brodcast again her story :
December 12 at 10,15 Continental time-and on
December 21 at 14.00 hour Continentel time.

with regards Henk.


Peter July 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Dear Rae Tait,
your last post is now almost two years ago. Since I saw the documentary I’ve been infatuated with Lady Drummond-Hay, and I’m also extremely interested in getting copies of the letters you possess. Lady Hay’s correspondence is highly interesting for me. I wonder if we could find a solution for this. I’d pay for any of your inconvenience, of course. Further, if your aunty received letters from Lady Hay, they must’ve had a relationship. Therefore it would be interesting to know more about your aunt and why they stayed in contact. Kindest regards, Peter. PS: I’m working on a scientific paper about her, so any information would be extremely helpful. Thanks in advance.


Rae Tait August 4, 2011 at 1:04 am

Peter Hi, interesting to get your email. It is acually my husbands Aunty that corresponded with this great lady. Are you related to her? Do you know where we can get this DVD?.


Peter September 13, 2011 at 4:07 am

Hi Rae Tait,
if you click on the link for the documentary here you are relocated to this site ( where you can purchase the DVD.
Answering you question, no, I am not related to her, but as of now I am writing on what can be called a biographical document. Therefore it would be fantastic if we could exchange our e-mail addresses and if we could discuss the whole matter en detail. My address is
It would be really nice to hear from you.


Eileen November 30, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Grace was apparently quite a woman. Married Lord Drummond-Hay at 25, when he was 74, and at least one of her step-children was older than she! They were married for almost 6 years, then he left her a widow at 31.


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