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Sydney Hugh ("Syd") de Kantzow (9 November 1914 – 21 November 1957) [1][2] was the Australian co-founder of Cathay Pacific Airways with American Roy Farrell.

Sydney de Kantzow
Born(1914-11-09)9 November 1914[1]
Died21 November 1957(1957-11-21) (aged 43)[1][2]
Cause of deathInjuries sustained in car accident[3][4]
Known forCo-founder Cathay Pacific[3]
Spouse(s)Angela Mary[1]
Relativesson Peter[1][3]
AwardsBurma Star
Order of the Cloud and Banner
Aviation career
First flight1934[1]
Air forceNo. 24 Squadron RAF[1]
CNAC (1940–1945)

De Kantzow, the son of Charles Adolphus de Kantzow, was born to a family of Polish/Swedish origin and grew up in the Sydney suburb of Roseville, New South Wales. He served during World War II as a pilot for the Royal Australian Air Force. Both de Kantzow and Farrell were ex-air force pilots who had flown The Hump,[3] a route over the Himalayan Mountains. It was said that Madame Chiang Kai-shek always asked for him personally as her pilot.[3][5] He was awarded the Order of the Cloud and Banner personally by her for his services with CNAC[3][4] and the Burma Star for his services in respect to the relief aid program.[4][6]

Although initially based in Shanghai, the two men moved to Hong Kong to found Cathay Pacific Airways. They named it "Cathay" because that was the medieval name given to China derived from "Khitan", and "Pacific" because Farrell speculated that they would one day fly across the Pacific. The Chinese name for the company comes from a Chinese idiom meaning "Grand and Peaceful State".

As the business developed, Farrell focused more on the shipping aspects of the company and de Kantzow focused more on flying the aircraft. The early Cathay Pacific pilots were referred to as "Syd's Pirates."[7]

De Kantzow resigned from Cathay Pacific in 1951 and died in a high-speed car accident in 1957.[1] He was survived by his wife Angela Mary (1924 – 2005) and son Peter,[4] a director and co-founder of Waterfront Air of Hong Kong.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Sydney Hugh ("Syd") de Kantzow". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Sidney Hugh De Kantzow - Date of Death 21/11/1957, Granted on 09/06/1958". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Whitford, David; Elkind, Peter (30 May 2013). "A new way to get to Macau: Seaplane". Fortune. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "Sydney H. de Kantzow". 21 January 2005. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  5. ^ "WINGED CARAVANS OF THE EAST". Macleay Argus (9886). New South Wales, Australia. 16 May 1952. p. 5. Retrieved 19 January 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "AMAZING SENTENCE GIVEN AUSTRALIAN PILOT IN INDIA". The Evening Advocate. Queensland, Australia. 2 June 1944. p. 2. Retrieved 19 January 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ Eather, Charles (Chic) E. (1983). Syd's Pirates: A story of an airline. Durnmount. ISBN 9780949756053.