Accident DH.60G Gipsy Moth VH-UWB, Saturday 10 February 1934
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Date:Saturday 10 February 1934
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
DH.60G Gipsy Moth
Owner/operator:W. E. Brown
Registration: VH-UWB
MSN: 28-20833
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Cooks River, near the Bonnie Doon Golf Links, Mascot, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Mascot, Sydney, NSW
Destination airport:Mascot, Sydney, NSW
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
DH.60G Gipsy Moth, built Larkin Aircraft Supply Co Ltd, Coode Island, Melbourne ["LASCO"]. A contract [no.19506] was awarded by the Department of Defence for the RAAF in March 1929 for the licence-production of 32 DH.60 Moths, at a unit cost of £448-10-0, excluding engines. They were initially intended to be DH.60X Cirrus II Moths and the contract specified delivery of the first twelve by 31.1.30. However, production slipped and it is believed that all were fitted with Gipsy I engines. No c/nos. were issued, they were identified by RAAF Serials A7-23 to A7-54 inclusive.

A7-28: Taken on charge by 3 Squadron, RAAF Richmond 29.7.30. Crashed on take-off Mascot 2.4.32. Not repaired and struck off charge 7.6.32. Airframe, without engine/instruments, sold to Sgt Wilfred E Brown of 3 Squadron, RAAF for £20. Rebuilt with Cirrus III engine [ex Avian VH-UJY] and registered as VH-UWB 5.11.33 to Wilfred E Brown, RAAF Richmond.

Lost control after an engine failure and nose-dived into the Cooks River, near Mascot, NSW 10.2.34. Both on board - Wilfred E Brown and John A Bundy - killed (death by drowning). Registration VH-UWB cancelled 5.3.34

According to a contemporary newspaper report (The Sun (Sydney, NSW) Saturday 10 Feb 1934 Page 5 - see link #1):

Gallant Rescue Attempts
TWO men were trapped in the wreckage and drowned when a Moth 'plane crashed into Cook's River, Mascot, with a terrific impact to day. The airmen, who had no chance of life, being strapped to their seats and badly injured, were:

SERGEANT WILFRED BROWN, 30, married with one child, flying instructor, No. 3 Sqn., R.A.A.F., Richmond.
JOHN A. BUNDY, 36, Citizens' Air Force airman, of Bungendore Hotel, Castlereagh-street, City, who was the Lord Mayor's chauffeur.

The 'plane hit the river near the Bonnie Doon Golf Links, and a golfer gallantly plunged into the Water and swam over to the Wreck. He repeatedly dived, but was unable to manipulate the quick-release buckles of the straps holding the doomed men. Aerodrome officials and mechanics rushed across from the aerodrome and many swam out to the 'plane, diving in attempts to release the men.

In the meantime, two men. J. Murray, of Stafford-street, Stanmore, and William Ryan, of St. Peters, secured a row-boat, and using two flat pieces of board as oars, managed to paddle over to the wreck. Although they made desperate efforts to move the 'plane, and rescue Brown and Bundy, they were frustrated by the fact that the fuselage of the 'plane had been telescoped by the impact with the water.

By that time, the airmen had been under water 40 minutes. Finally, ropes were secured, and, after 10 men had failed by diving, the 'plane was hauled ashore. The cockpits had to be cut away before Brown and Bundy could be released.

Brown was found to have internal injuries and was drowned, while Bundy had a fractured skull, and was also drowned. Two officers from the South Sydney branch of the Central District Ambulance, relieved by aerodrome men, tried to restore animation for nearly an hour.

The machine spun into the water with a terrific splash, nose first, and quickly submerged the two cockpits. For 15 minutes the tail of the machine could be seen sticking out of the water, but as the wreckage was 40 yards from the bank, great delay was caused in trying to rescue the two men. Brown was flying the Moth
'Plane with which he Intended to compete in the handicap section of the £10,000 MacRobertson Centenary Air Race.

Early this morning Brown and Bundy left Mascot for a flight over the city. The 'plane was seen to be returning, but when over the golf links, the Moth nose-dived into the river, which skirts the aerodrome boundary.

One of the spectators stated that the 'plane was flying at a very low altitude when he first noticed It. As it turned over the river it went into a spin. "At the time I thought the pilot was stunting and I took no further notice until I 'heard a loud splash. I saw the water rise to a height of about 20 feet. By the time I arrived on the scene of the crash only the tail of the machine was visible."

A man who had been golfing on the opposite side of the river swam across to the machine, but he was unable to do anything for the unfortunate men.

When the news was received at Richmond, officers and men were amazed that such a fine airman as Brown had been killed in an instructional flight, and efforts were immediately made to locate his wife, who is spending the day at Five Dock.

Brown was regarded as one of the finest flying instructors in Australia, and was without a peer as an acrobatic pilot. For a number of years, he was associated with Wing Commander Wackett in experimental design and flying work at Randwick.

At Mascot, where Brown Is a constant visitor, the opinion was expressed freely that- something must have happened to the controls, as with ordinary engine failure, Brown could have been relied on to negotiate the most difficult of landings.

Bundy was occupying the pilot's seat, and was receiving dual instruction from Brown. Brown was on leave from Richmond, and was flying his own private 'plane".

Subsequent History: Wreck sold to Tugan Aircraft Ltd 5.34 and rebuilt with Gipsy II [ex VH-UQN] and with c/no. TA/R51. Sold 3.35 to Dr George A M Heydon of Sydney University and re-flown at Mascot, Sydney, NSW 31.3.35; registered to Heydon 8.4.35. Crashed on take-off Seven Mile Beach, Gerringong 17.10.37; repaired.

Badly damaged when overshot on landing on hill near Kiama, NSW 18.12.37; rebuilt by DH Australia at Mascot, Sydney, NSW. Loaned 10.40 to Royal Aero Club of NSW. Struck by crashing Vultee Vengeance A27-409 whilst parked at Mascot 28.2.44, crew of Vengeance killed and Moth VH-UWB destroyed by fire. Registration VH-UWB cancelled 29.2.44. [Dr Heydon was given DH.82A Tiger Moth A17-975 in compensation]


1. The Sun (Sydney, NSW) Saturday 10 Feb 1934 Page 5:
2. Singleton Argus (Singleton, NSW) Monday 12 February 1934 Page 1:
3. The Newcastle Sun (Newcastle NSW) Saturday 10 Feb 1934 Page 4:
4. National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW) Monday 12 Feb 1934 Page 1:
5. Weekly Times (Melbourne, Victoria) Saturday 17 February 1934 Page 6:


Revision history:

30-May-2021 08:54 Cobar Added
07-Jun-2022 23:04 Ron Averes Updated [Location]
11-Nov-2023 13:48 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Category]
11-Nov-2023 13:48 harro Updated [Cn]

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