Accident de Havilland DH.60G Moth G-ABWY, Sunday 13 January 1935
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Date:Sunday 13 January 1935
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland DH.60G Moth
Owner/operator:Surrey Flying Services Ltd
Registration: G-ABWY
MSN: 1899
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Croydon Airport, Croydon, Surrey -   United Kingdom
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Croydon Airport, Croydon, Surrey (EGCR)
Destination airport:
c/no 1899: DH.60G [Gipsy I] Moth, first registered as G-ABWY [C of R 3766] 26.5.32 to Surrey Flying Services Ltd, Croydon. C of A 3470 issued 27.5.32.

On 13.1.35 Miss Graham and Mr R. J. Ryde were the pilot and passenger of Surrey Flying Services' Gipsy Moth G-ABWY. However, their take-off from Croydon Aerodrome that day was not one that either would care to remember! Instead of heading off into the wide blue yonder, the Moth finished entangled with the roof of a building, and the impact was sufficient to end its flying career, whereas Miss Graham and Mr Ryder were uninjured (no mention is made of the level of damage to their pride and/or reputation).

According to a contemporary newspaper report (Daily Herald - Monday 14 January 1935):

A woman pilot and a man had a remarkable escape Croydon aerodrome yesterday when their plane crashed into a building and was wrecked. The woman, Miss J. Graham, a pupil of Surrey Flying Services, who has 80 hours experience in the air, was only slightly hurt. Mr R. J. Ryde, her companion and also a pupil with flying experience, was unhurt.

The plane swerved as it was taking off, and struck a building which is used for storing maroons"

(The "maroons" referred to are a type of firework - possibly "maroons" is another word for "distress flares")

The Moth didn't fly again but one must assume that it was structurally sound as it was donated to an ATC squadron in Sutton. C of A lapsed 3.6.35 and not renewed. Some sources state "cancelled November 1940" but this probably relates to cancellation of the C of A - the registration was not cancelled until post-war

Registration G-ABWY formally cancelled 1.12.46 after Air Ministry census or all surviving pre-war aircraft. But still the Moth survived as it was noted stored in a garden in Cheam Road, Sutton (it is possible that the garden was that of the ATC squadron HQ) as late as February 1948. In either that or the subsequent year, the ATC gave up the airframe, which relocated to the home of Tony Coombes in Beddington. However evidently that was its swansong as it is recorded as having been scrapped there in 1950.


1. Daily Herald - Monday 14 January 1935


Revision history:

09-Dec-2017 23:02 Dr. John Smith Added
25-Mar-2020 00:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
27-Jul-2020 22:07 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Nature, Source, Narrative]
27-Jul-2020 22:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
02-Nov-2023 18:13 Dr. John Smith Updated

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