THANK YOU!

YOUR PURCHASE OF THESE BOOKS SUPPORTS THE WEB SITES THAT BRING TO YOU THE HISTORY BEHIND OLD AIRFIELD REGISTERS

Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register 1925-1936 with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. 375 pages with black & white photographs and extensive tables

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The Congress of Ghosts (available as eBook) is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link.

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Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author, while supplies last.

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Art Goebel's Own Story by Art Goebel (edited by G.W. Hyatt) is written in language that expands for us his life as a Golden Age aviation entrepreneur, who used his aviation exploits to build a business around his passion.  Available as a free download at the link.

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Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race (available as eBook) is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author, while supplies last.

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Clover Field: The first Century of Aviation in the Golden State (available in paperback) With the 100th anniversary in 2017 of the use of Clover Field as a place to land aircraft in Santa Monica, this book celebrates that use by exploring some of the people and aircraft that made the airport great. 281 pages, black & white photographs.

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Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for researching and writing this page.

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Tucker’s mother moved from Denver to Los Angeles in the late 1930s and worked as an actor in the movie industry. She has credits for appearing in Captains Courageous (1937), Wyoming Outlaw (1939) and 20 Mule Team (1940). She died on April 16, 1979 in Los Angeles. She also acted in local LA stage plays.

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ROBESON PEMBROKE TUCKER

Robeson Pembroke Tucker ¬†was born in Chicago, IL March 13,1905 to George Pembroke Tucker and Gertrude Katherine Guilbault (she later become an actress, left sidebar). Tucker’s father was from Manistique on the Michigan Upper Peninsula. He died in 1907.

The 1910 Census shows Robeson (later aka Robby) living in Denver with his widowed mother in the home of his step-grandfather, George E. Taylor. He was incorrectly coded as Pembroke Robsom Tucker.

Sometime around 1918 his mother, Gertrude Katherine Tucker, married a Robert D. Kenworthy. Two years later, on October 8, 1920, Robby (now age 15) and his mother went before the Denver County court to appoint Gertrude as his legal guardian, and to solicit that $14 per month be awarded from his father's estate for Robby's care until he was age 16. Interestingly, this pension that comprised his estate, a total of $434, was due George Tucker because of his service during the Spanish-American War (April-August, 1898). It was not clear from the paperwork on ancestry.com if the stipend was to be retroactive to the date of his father's death. That would have clearly exhausted the pension.

I could not find Tucker or his mother in the 1920 Census, but the 1920 Denver city directory shows his mother and step-father living at 1711 Vine Street. Tucker’s first appearance in a Denver directory was in 1924, when he was listed as an employee of the DRDM company, and living at 1711 Vine. DRDM was likely the Denver Rock Drill and Machinery Company. The company advertised the following products for sale: “Mining Machinery, “’Cingeco’ Gasoline& Oil Engines,” “Pumping Machinery” and “Air Compressors.”

In the 1927 Salt Lake City directory, Tucker was listed as rooming at 234 N. Main, but no occupation was stated. However, DRDM had a branch office in Salt Lake City, so Tucker might have still been working for that company.

Around 1928 he married Julia R. who was born in Nebraska. The 1930 Census shows Robeson and Julia living at 1060 Logan Street in Denver. His occupation was given as salesman. In 1935, he was listed as a “collector.” The Denver City directory of 1936 lists him as a bookkeeper at the Denver Post newspaper. There were many ways to make a buck during the Great Depression.

Kingsport Times (TN), February 26, 1937 (Source: Woodling)
Kingsport Times (TN), February 26, 1937 (Source: Woodling)

 

In the 1937 directory, his profession was listed as aviator. It is likely he had been taking flying lessons in Denver for some time. In February of that year he made a forced landing on a farm in Bowling Green, KY, causing the curious local populace to trample the farm’s crops. He was employed by Mountain Flying Service of Denver and the incident was reported in the Kingsport Times (TN), February 26, 1937, right. I do not know the identification of his airplane, or why he was in Kentucky.

About one year later Tucker signed the Peterson Field Register on January 1, 1938 at 3:15PM., flying Lockheed Vega NC31E, which was owned by the Mountain Flying Service at the time. He carried four unidentified passengers. They remained on the ground until 3:23PM before returning to Denver.

His second landing at Peterson Field occurred on June 17, 1939, flying NC11707, a Travel Air owned by a Mr. Shumaker. By 1940, the Census showed Robeson and Julia still living in Denver, where he was employed as a flying instructor and she was working as a teacher in a private school.

A year later Robeson was in Oklahoma at the Spartan School of Aeronautics, instructing pilot cadets from England. the article, below, from the Miami Daily News-Record (OK), July 17, 1941. describes his appointment to the Spartan School. Note that his commanding officer was Register pilot Max Balfour.

Miami Daily News-Record (OK), July 17, 1941 (Source: Woodling)
Miami Daily News-Record (OK), July 17, 1941 (Source: Woodling)

Next, in 1943, he was based at Boeing Field in Seattle, where he worked as a civilian flight test pilot for Boeing. He flew B-17 and B-29 bombers fresh off the assembly lines. The Seattle Times, October 18, 1943, below, documented his work in Seattle and showed Tucker standing third from left. This is the only photograph I have of him. If you have some you can share, please let me KNOW.

Seattle Times, October 18, 1943, R.P. Tucker Third from Left (Source: Woodling)
Seattle Times, October 18, 1943, R.P. Tucker Third from Left (Source: Woodling)

Note mention in this article of fellow Register pilots Jimmie Johnston, George Willingham and Harold T. Lewis.

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Airpost Journal, October 1947 (Source: Woodling)
Airpost Journal, October 1947 (Source: Woodling)

 

Apparently, he and Julia enjoyed living in the Pacific Northwest because after the war, Robeson signed on with West Coast Airlines, where he continued working for the rest of his flying career. West Coast Airlines was a small local service airline that flew mainly DC-3s on short hops in Washington and Oregon. It was part of the federal air mail routing and transport system. The Airpost Journal, October 1947 reported, left, the inaugural flights of a route extension for Air Mail route #77 over which Tucker flew as first officer.

It was a much simpler time for airline operation out west, and the article exhibited below from the Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1956 indicates that deviations from the intended routes for sightseeing purposes was at least tolerated by the airline into the mid-1950s.Today, sightseeing is only by chance. Aircraft fly too high and airspace and rules are much more restrictive. Note George H. Willingham, a Clover Field Register pilot, also mentioned in the article.

 

Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1956 (Source: Woodling)
Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1956 (Source: Woodling)

 

Seattle Times (WA), May 18, 1962 (Source: Woodling)
Seattle Times (WA), May 18, 1962 (Source: Woodling)

 

 

Tucker also became interested in power boat racing and was quite successful in many races in the Seattle area, where boating was and is very popular.

R.P. Tucker Obituary, Seattle Times, June 28, 1965 (Source: Woodling)
R.P. Tucker Obituary, Seattle Times, June 28, 1965 (Source: Woodling)

 

 

Interestingly, Tucker’s paternal grandfather was a ship captain on the Great Lakes. His interest and accomplishments in boating were featured in the Seattle Times (WA), May 18, 1962, left. The small photograph is not much more clear than the one above. Note that he owned and flew an autogyro for sport.

Three years after this Times article appeared, Robeson Pembroke Tucker flew West on June 25, 1965 in Seattle. His obituary, from the Seattle Times, June 28, 1965, is at right. I do not know the nature of his illness. Both his wife and mother succeeded him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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