After leaving Killingholme Austin was posted to RNAS South Shields where, between July and October 1918, his duties involved testing flying boats for airworthiness and then delivering them to locations across the UK.
The first flying boat that Austin tested and delivered was N4240, a Felixstowe F3, which he flew south to RNAS Cattewater near Plymouth in Devon.
Short 184 flying boats on the Cattewater slipway (Austin Robinson Papers 12/5/5)
His next delivery involved flying Felixstowe Porte Baby, N9807, north to Houton Bay, which was the RNAS station for Scapa Flow in Orkney. These were extremely long delivery flights - the flight from South Shields to Cattewater could take over 8 hours - and Austin always had to stop to refuel - at Killingholme if going South or at Dundee if going north.
Felixstowe Porte Baby No. 9807 after it was wrecked in a gale at Catfirth (Austin Robinson Papers, loose photo in Box 131)
In October 1918 Austin was posted to the naval ferry pool in London and was involved in ferrying flying boats from the locations where they were being constructed - notably Hythe on Southampton Water and Cowes on the Isle of Wight - to Felixstowe and a variety of other RNAS stations.
After the Armistice Austin was sent to Rochester where he began testing flying boats built by Shorts and then delivering them to Felixstowe. He remained their until April 1919 and, in his words '... got to know Shorts very well indeed' (EAGR Papers 2/9/4). The Robinson archive contains a large number of photographs that he took while at Shorts - of flying boats being constructed, tested and launched. Many of these pictures provide fascinating insights into the construction of these early aircraft and also clearly indicate the importance of women in industry by this time. A selection of these photographs may be viewed on the Marshall Library web site.
Front of No. 3 erecting shed at Short Brothers, Rochester (Austin Robinson Papers 12/5/6)
Short F3 flying boats under construction (Austin Robinson Papers 12/5/6)
Some of the female workforce at Shorts posing on an F3 (Austin Robinson Papers 12/5/6)
Austin's last flight as a flying boat pilot occurred in April 1919 when, on the suggestion of Oswald Short, he took his younger brother Christopher on a flight in N4033, a Felixstowe F3. The flight was uneventful and the following day he travelled to Cambridge to begin his studies as an undergraduate at Christ's.