It seems that aviation history as well as motoring history can become clouded by the passage of time. The airliner accident involving Glen Kidston was on November 6th, 1929, when a Lufthansa flight from Croydon to Amsterdam and Berlin crashed in thick mist on White Hill, near Marden Park between Bletchingly and Caterham in Surrey, but descriptions of the actual crash location are rather vague. There were four passengers and four crew on board, of whom only Kidston and the second pilot survived, although the latter died a few days later.
Contemporary newspaper reports stated that one of the passengers killed had only flown three times previously and on each occasion the plane had crashed, and that Lt-Cmdr. Kidston had experienced two previous escapes from death in air crashes; it was also stated that Kidston was in the air again, within a few hours, with his head swathed in bandages—to test his nerve, but several days later he was too ill to attend the first Inquest. The aircraft was a Junkers G24 registration D903 and the official inquiry into the accident found that from the evidence available it appeared that the pilot had deliberately turned off the recognised route and was attempting to find his way back to the aerodrome. This explains the airliner crash, but as yet I can find nothing about Kidston’s two previous crashes.
The Meopham crash was also a Junkers, a type W33, but this was British owned (G-AAZK), and crashed on July 21st, 1930. The two pilots and four crew were killed on the flight from Le Touquet to Croydon when the aircraft broke up in the air due to structural failure.
Glen Kidston was, as stated, killed in a Puss Moth crash, on May 5th, 1931, near Van Reenen in South Africa. Lt.-Cmdr. Kidston and a Captain Gladstone were loaned the aircraft, registration number ZS-ACC, for a flight from Johannesburg. Reports stated that whilst flying fast and low under high wind conditions the heavily laden machine encountered very severe air disturbance in a mountainous region notorious for severe air currents in windy weather. The aircraft had travelled the 175 miles from Johannesburg in 65 minutes, indicating the very strong tail wind as the top speed was only 128 m.p.h. The crash resulted from the right-hand wing failing after the rear spar had broken. It was later found that a contributory factor may have been that the very low humidity caused a dried out condition of the glue used in the mainly wooden structure. Between 1930 and 1933 there were eight fatal Puss Moth crashes in which structural failure occurred in the air, resulting in a special Air Ministry report and very extensive modifications to the aeroplane.
It should be pointed out that air safety on a passenger/mile basis is now 3,000 times higher than it was in 1930!