F/O Matthews (left) and Spanton (right)
Matthews and Spanton were
the two instructors who perished in the mid-air collision between Tiger
Moths N-5487 and N-6451 on 12th May 1939.
See the Hodgkinson page for details.
In the late twenties, Matthews
was the Chief Flying Instructor at the London Aerolpane Club, Stag Lane.
It was there that he was one of Amy Johnson's flying instructors.
In 1930, he figured that
he was more than capable of a crack at Bert Hinkler's 15-day England to
By mid-October, four aircraft were somewhere bwtween England and darwin with their pilots looking to topple Hinkler's record.
Matthews' DH Puss Moth G-ABDW was much faster than Hinkler's Avro Avian. Departing on 16th September,
he was on track to break the record, but on 27th September, he left Rangoon heading for Bangkok when he crashed in bad weather.
He finally made it to Darwin on 18th October, having taken more than twice the time of Hinkler's flight.
He left Sydney for Darwin on his return flight to England 27th October 1930
Here are some photos of G-ABDW taken on the flight:
At Darwin bad weather made
Matthews decide to ship plane and sailed back to Sydney on the Malabar.
G-ABDW being towed to the ship for cargo South by a Model A Ford flatbed truck.
Hoisting the Puss Moth aboard the Malabar.
Here is the history of Matthews' Puss Moth that is preserved to this day at the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, Scotland:
2051 Regd G-ABDW [CofR 2774]
23.8.30 to Capt Froude R Matthews, Stag Lane. CofA 2734 issued 11.9.30.
"Special DH machine" and flown by Matthews from Croydon to Darwin 16.9.30 to 18.10.30 (including damage in forced
landing Banmee, 100 mls N of Bangkok 26.9.30; repaired and recommenced flight 9.10.30). Forced landed Lismore
27.10.30 and badly damaged. Rebuilt and intended to be used by Capt Matthews to fly back to England. He departed
Sydney 27.12.30 and proposed leaving Port Darwin 3.1.31 but flight delayed and attempt abandoned 14.1.31 due to
bad weather and finally cancelled 31.1.31 (or 1.2.31) following wing spar damage during test flight. Shipped to Sydney
for repairs; arr 22.2.31. Intended then to be shipped to Calcutta for Karachi-UK flight but probably not shipped. UK
regn cld 12.33 as wfu. Regd in Australia as VH-UQB [CofR 425] 27.5.31 to Douglas F Shepherd, Bondi. NSW. Regn
suspended 23.9.32 and regd 2.3.33 to HR Clarke, Sydney. Sold (but not regd) 12.7.34 to Daniel V Clifton, Sydney.
Regd 12.9.34 to NW Croucher, c/o Shell Co of Australia Ltd, Ayr, Qld. Regd 20.5.36 to GP Hoskins & JC Pollock,
Mascot (and operated by Royal Aero Club of NSW). Regd 21.8.36 to James C Pollock, Mascot and used .37 by
Mackay Aerial Survey Expedition in Central Australia. CofA lapsed 2.6.38. Regd 21.7.39 to Royal Aero Club of NSW.
CofA lapsed 22.2.41. Regd 1.11.44 to Sid D Marshall, t/a Marshall Airways, Bankstown. Regn cld 17.10.47; regd
14.11.47 to same owner. Damaged on landing Newcastle, NSW 22.5.53. Regn cld as wfu 11.1.55; regd 23.12.55 to
same owner. Regd 18.12.59 to Marshall Airways, Bankstown. Wfu .71 and stored Bankstown. Regd 17.5.72 to Sid D
Marshall, Bankstown. Regn cld 30.3.73; sold to UK via Hendon Aeroplane Co. Purchased by Strathallan Aircraft
Collection 8.73 and returned to UK 4.74. Regd G-ABDW 25.3.77 to Strathallan Collection but not rebuilt to airworthy
condition. Sold at auction 14.7.81 and acquired by the Royal Scottish Museum, East Fortune for £7,500. Regn cld as
pwfu 21.1.82. On display, still painted as VH-UQB.
VH-UQB was the first Puss Moth to fly to Australia. It took 4 weeks, 4 days and 4 hours to make the flight.
On 9th November 1930, Matthews relinquished his RAF commission on completion of his service (London Gazette, 19 May 1931)
On 26th April 1935, Matthews was granted a RAF Reserve commission in class AA as a F/O (London Gazette, 21 May 1935)
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