Accident De Havilland DH.60M Moth CF-ADJ, Sunday 1 February 1931
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Date:Sunday 1 February 1931
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
De Havilland DH.60M Moth
Owner/operator:Southern Alberta Airlines Ltd
Registration: CF-ADJ
MSN: 778
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:3rd Avenue/Stafford Drive North, Lethbridge, Alberta -   Canada
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Destination airport:
c/no. 778: DH.60M Moth [Gipsy I] to DeHavilland Canada without C of A; arrived Mount Dennis 24.4.29. Registered as CF-ADJ [C of R 604] 16.5.29 to Southern Alberta Airlines Ltd, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Written off (damaged beyond repair) when stalled and spun into the ground at Lethbridge, Alberta 1.2.31, killing both persons on board (pilot and passenger). The incident made the front pages of the local newspaper (Lethbridge Herald February 2 1931 - see link #2). According to a Facebook posting by the Lethbridge Historical Society (see link #1)

"In 1931, Lethbridge’s first fatal plane crash took the life of two young Lethbridge men, Ivan Thomson and Donald William McKenzie. The two were in a plane from the Southern Alberta Air Lines, a Gypsy Moth, CF-ADJ, with Ivan as pilot and Don as the passenger. The reason for the flight was so Donald could sightsee and take photographs.

According to eyewitnesses, at an altitude of 300 to 400 feet, the plane went into a spin and headed directly for the earth. The plane was going at a great speed when it crashed.

They duo had only been up in the air three minutes when the crash happened at the corner of 3 Avenue and Stafford Drive North. Many people witnessed the accident as a ball game was taking place nearby.

Both young men were born and raised in Lethbridge and came from prominent Lethbridge families. Ivan’s father was Dr. R.B.C. Thomson, who had a medical practice in the city.

Ivan, like many young men of the era, became interested in flying after Lindberg’s 1927 solo flight over the Atlantic. Ivan, along with other friends, built his own gliders and was a charter member of a club they called “Prairie Gliders”, a forerunner to the Lethbridge Gliding Club. He started taking flying lessons in 1930 and had just received his private pilot license in January 1931. The accident took place on 1 February 1931.

Both of the young men are buried in Mountain View Cemetery. The plane on Ivan Thomson’s headstone highlights his passion for flying as well, unfortunately, the accident.

Ivan’s younger brother, George Homer Thomson, was also a pilot and in 1940 became a flying instructor for the No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School in Lethbridge. He later served overseas and was killed in action in World War II on 2 February 1945".

Registration CF-ADJ cancelled 30.3.35.


1. Lethbridge Historical Society:
2. Lethbridge Herald February 2 1931 page 1:


Revision history:

28-Aug-2017 20:01 Dr. John Smith Added
27-Oct-2019 19:14 Sergey L. Updated [Source]
17-Apr-2021 18:01 Cobar Updated [Other fatalities]
27-Nov-2023 17:20 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Nature, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Category]

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