Accident de Havilland DH.60G Moth G-ABSH, Monday 2 January 1939
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Date:Monday 2 January 1939
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland DH.60G Moth
Owner/operator:Portsmouth Aero Club Ltd
Registration: G-ABSH
MSN: 1885
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Langstone Harbour, Portsmouth, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Portsmouth Aerodrome, Portsmouth, Hampshire
Destination airport:Portsmouth Aerodrome, Portsmouth, Hampshire
DH.60G [Gipsy I] registered as G-ABSH [C of R 3508] 14.11.31 to Edward H Thierry, Stag Lane, Edgware, Middlesex [acquired as a replacement for DH.60 Moth G-EBZI]. C of A 3281 issued 10.12.31. Registered [C of R 8881] 11.11.38 to Portsmouth Aero Club Ltd, Portsmouth.

Written off (destroyed) when spun into Langstone Harbour, Portsmouth, Hampshire 2.1.39; pilot and passenger slightly injured. A contemporary local newspaper report gives further details (Portsmouth Evening News - Monday 02 January 1939):

Langstone Rescue
The two occupants escaped with only bruises and cuts when a Gypsy Moth aeroplane belonging to the Portsmouth Aero Club made a forced landing in five feet of water in Langstone Harbour. They were Flying Officer Henry Mitchell, Chief Instructor to the club, and a member, Mr. Charles Wanhill.

Eye-witnesses stated that the plane banked to make a landing, but when still above the sea, side-slipped and crashed. Mitchell, who was in the front cockpit, hit his head on the dashboard, but was able to scramble out and sit on the tail of the plane before the nacelle sank beneath the water.

Both men had to wait in this position for over half an hour while, on the shore, rescue efforts were being made. Two club members improvised a raft and tried to pole their way out to the machine, but they were swept down-current towards the harbour mouth and had themselves to be rescued by a motor boat.

A small rowing boat was obtained, and in this Mitchell and Wanhill were brought ashore, where Dr. G. Paterson was waiting to give medical attention. They were taken into the club house and given hot baths and hot drinks.

"I was coming in to land," said Mr. Mitchell, "when something went wrong. I knew I could not make the aerodrome so I looked round for a soft spot and chose the water."

Mr. Wanhill was undergoing instruction for his "B" licence."

Registration G-ABSH cancelled 2.1.39 due to "destruction or permanent withdrawal from use of aircraft"

Langstone Harbour is a 2,085.4-hectare (5,153-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Hampshire. It is an inlet of the English Channel in Hampshire, sandwiched between Portsea Island to the south and west, Hayling Island to the south and east, and Langstone to the north.


1. Portsmouth Evening News - Monday 02 January 1939


Revision history:

07-Dec-2017 18:36 Dr. John Smith Added
07-Dec-2017 18:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
25-Mar-2020 00:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
03-Oct-2023 08:31 Dr. John Smith Updated

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