Aviator Guy Menzies

A bit of a larrikin!


Guy Menzies, the dashing young airman who made the first solo crossing from Australia to New Zealand in 1931 had plans for even greater feats; perhaps a flight from England to Australia, which he estimated could be achieved in six days.  However, such adventures would have to wait. After moving to England  soon after his historic trans-Tasman flight, Guy joined the RAF.  He was stationed at North Weald Airport, Epping.

The squadron of young flyers  enjoyed themselves to the utmost, with an endless round of  parties and  dances. Always one to live dangerously, Guy Menzies  continued in the same vein by starting an affair with Marcia Grundy, the wife of one of his fellow officers.

Marcia Grundy

Marrcia Grundy

In the summer of 1936, newspaper reports  appeared in the UK and Australia with  a strange tale to tell of the dashing aviator.

Flight – Lieut. Menzies, formerly of Sydney, was found seriously injured, lying in his pyjamas, 40ft beneath a window of his quarters at North Weald Airport, Epping. The doctors were puzzled by the nature of his injuries, which were not wholly consistent with a fall.

‘Not wholly consistent with a fall.’  This was a diplomatic reference to the fact that Guy had broken kneecaps!

The only wound that would account for Flight Lieutenant Menzies condition is a contusion on the back of his head and doctors fear he may have a fracture of the skull. His condition is reported to be very grave. When retiring to bed last night he was reported by his brother officers to be in a happy frame of mind and bade everyone a cheery goodnight. Nothing more was heard from him until he was discovered by his batman. Last night the aerodrome officials were unable to reveal any facts to inquirers,”we  are as much in the dark as you are”, said one officer. “We only wish we knew more about it. At the moment the whole thing is a baffling mystery.”

As the days went by, no further information was forthcoming;

He is in the Epping Cottage Hospital in a semi-conscious condition and the police have been unable to interview him. A private Court of Inquiry was arranged for yesterday, but the RAF authorities at North Weald refused any information. The police have been asked for their report. A Reuter message from Sydney quotes Captain Follett, an airman, as saying that in 1930 he stayed at the same hotel as Menzies and twice found him sleep-walking.

Guy remained on the dangerously ill list for nearly a month. There was no mention in the press of an aggrieved husband being in the picture, and the results of the  ‘private inquiry’  were never released.

Once Guy was out of danger he faced months of rehabilitation. It was feared he would never fly again, but  ever so slowly he improved.  Eventually he was well enough to rejoin his squadron.

Marcia and Guy  continued their relationship, but did not marry until 1940. By this time Marcia’s  marriage to Grundy was dissolved and he had left the country.  World War II had begun, and Guy was now  a Squadron Leader.

Guy Menzies

Guy Menzies and his bride.

Guy Menzies, pioneer aviator

The newly married  Guy was serving in Egypt when his wife received the news so many people dreaded at that time. Almost immediately  it was reported in Sydney;


Tuesday 21 Jan 1941

The news of Guy Menzies is wrapped in mystery. He has been reported ‘missing, believed killed,’ but so far no official account of his fate has come to light. I have a feeling that friend Guy was not born to die with his boots on, otherwise he would never have survived that mad fight to New Zealand, and some of the seemingly impossible feats I saw him perform with aircraft in Singapore. Probably he is a very unwilling prisoner in some obscure enemy outpost.  I would not like to be his guard. Taking charge of a wet paper bag full of cobras would be much easier. Let’s hope that time will prove me right.

His family and friends found it difficult to accept that he had gone. But it was true; he and his crew had died on November 1 1940. The plan wreckage was never found.    RIP Guy Menzies; larrikin, adventurer, war hero.

Portrait of airman Guy Menzies

The dashing airman

I would like to acknowledge the wonderful  Australian newspaper archive, TROVE, where I found much of my information. How lucky we are to have this amazing, free resource. It allows people like me to record  and share  our rich social history.


  1. I was expecting him to turn up at some relate place. Thanks again Pauline.

  2. I thought for one moment you might have been giving out a warning to be aware of getting involved with anyone called Marcia!

  3. Interesting read, Pauline – thank you. Good info here too – https://www.thisdayinaviation.com/tag/guy-lambton-menzies/ Guy also was the pilot who flew Haile Selassie out of England on his return from exile. They left from RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth on 24th June 1940 (not from Poole Harbour, as every other mention I’ve seen has it). A Short Sunderland of 228 Squadron, with another as escort from No. 10 Sqdn RAAF piloted by Flt/Lt Hugh Birch. Hugh’s account (on page 7) is here below, though he mis-remembers a few minor details, such as the date (he says 27th), and the award that Guy got. I think that would have been The Order of the Ethiopian Lion: https://docplayer.net/26469492-Oral-history-recording-group-captain-hugh-birch-10-squadron-raaf.html Best wishes to you; and I agree about Trove – excellent resource! Pete.

  4. NOTICE is hereby given that MARCIA INA MENZIES of 3 Bengal Villas, Pembroke, South Wales, Married Woman, the parent and legal guardian of Frederick Michael Grundy of the same address, an Infant and natural born British subject, on behalf of the said Frederick Michael Grundy, intends, at the expiration of 21 days after the publication of this notice, to assume for him the surname of Menzies. — Dated this 3oth day of August 1941.
    EDWARD MACKIE and CO., 39, The Mall,(148) Ealing, W.5, her Solictors.

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