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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 203010
Last updated: 23 February 2020
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Type:de Havilland DH.84 Dragon
Owner/operator:Leonard Gillespie Reid
Registration: G-ACJM
C/n / msn: 6049
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Hamble Airfield, Hamble, Hampshire -   United Kingdom
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Hatfield Aerodrome, Hatfield, Hertfordshire (EGTH)
Destination airport:Hamble Airfield, Hamble, Hampshire
First registered (C of R 4436) on 16.8.33 as G-ACJM to De Havilland Aircraft Co Ltd., Stag Lane, Edgware, Middlesex. C of A 4018 issued later in 1933. Purchased by Sir Charles Wakefield (of "Castrol Oil" fame) and presented to Jim & Amy Mollison, named "Seafarer II". (As a replacement for the first "Seafarer" G-ACCV, which had been wrecked in a crash landing at Bridgeport, CT on 23.7.33). The aircraft had been adapted for long range record breaking flights with extra fuel tanks.

Sold on and re-registered (C of R 5072) 15.5.34 to Leonard Gillespie Reid, Colindale, London NW9 (aircraft based at Hatfield, Hertfordshire).

On 9.8.34, the first flight from inland Canada (Wasaga Beach, Ontario) to the UK, a distance of 3,700 miles, landed at Heston Aerodrome, Heston, Middlesex after a flying time of 30 hours 55 minutes. The pilots, J.R.Ayling and Leslie Gillespie Reid, in DH.84 Dragon (G-ACJM) named "Trail of the Caribou", were attempting to beat the then long distance flying record (5,657 miles) by flying 6,300 miles from Wasaga Beach, Canada to Baghdad, Iraq. However, icing of the engine throttle controls increased fuel consumption and, together with bad weather, resulted in the flight being terminated early at Heston. A few hours after ending their 31-hour flight they flew from Heston to Hatfield. The Pathe newsreel interview about their record flight was filmed at Hatfield.

Written off (damaged beyond repair) 12.8.34 when crashed on landing at Hamble Airfield, Hamble, Hampshire. There are a number of newspaper articles about the crash. The one that follows seems to have more details than most of the others...

"Birmingham Daily Gazette" - Monday 13 August 1934

"Atlantic Plane Damaged in Crash
Pilot Escapes With Slight Injury
The Trail of the Caribou, the aeroplane in which Captain J.R. Ayling and Captain L. Reid flew the Atlantic from Canada last Wednesday and Thursday crashed at Hamble (Hampshire) yesterday. Captain Reid, who was piloting the machine, escaped serious injury.

The machine struck a hedge on landing, and buried its nose, damaging the the propeller and wings aeroplane.- Captain Held was accompanied by a woman passenger, who escaped injury. Captains Ayling and Reid with their plane. The accident occurred when Captain Reid was landing at the Hamble air service training aerodrome. The Trail of the Caribou is now lying badly damaged in the hangar of the Hamble aerodrome. Captain Reid suffered from slight concussion.

An official at the Air Training Service told a Birmingham Gazette reporter that Captain Reid was flying from Bristol with the intention of going to Manchester, but meeting with very bad weather, decided to get a weather report, and so made for Hamble as the nearest point on his course at the time.

"In making his landing" said the official "the under-carriage of the of the Caribou touched the top of a hedge of the boundary around the aerodrome. The aeroplane was turned completely round so that it finished up pointing toward the way it had been coming with its tail in the air. Of course, the machine crashed, but It had only a few feet to fall. It was badly damaged. The port engine, both port wings, the nose of the aeroplane, the starboard Propeller, and the undercarriage were all damaged. Captain Reid was given first-aid treatment at the station, and after resting for some time he left to go to London. The aeroplane, which, of course, is unflyable, has to stay at Hamble until Captain Reid instructs us what has to be done."

Captain Reid was accompanied by a woman passenger who escaped injury. The aeroplane, a de Havilland Dragon, is the one in which Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Mollison made their successful crossing of the Atlantic. It was then called "Seafarer"

Captain Ayling and Captain Reid left Canada on Wednesday in an attempt to beat the world long distance record held by the Frenchmen Codes and Kossi(?), but carburettor problems, which led to an unduly heavy petrol consumption, compelled them to land at Heston aerodrome (Middlesex) on Thursday evening.

Captain Ayling, his fellow pilot, who was at home at the time of the crash said "The accident is unfortunate - more than unfortunate. I don't want to speak about it".

Registration G-ACJM belatedly cancelled by the Air Ministry 1.12.46 after 1946 post-war Census by the Air Ministry to assess the continued existence of all surviving pre-war aircraft


1. Birmingham Daily Gazette - Monday 13 August 1934
2. Lewis, Peter, British Racing and Record-Breaking Aircraft, (1970), ISBN 0-370-00067-6
8. Photo of crash:

Revision history:

15-Dec-2017 23:14 Dr. John Smith Added
23-Feb-2020 21:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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