Lt.-Cmdr. Glen Kidston's air crashes—

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Sir,
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!

John Thorpe.
Smallfield.