Accident de Havilland DH.80 Puss Moth G-ABDH,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 153489
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Date:Wednesday 27 July 1932
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH80 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland DH.80 Puss Moth
Owner/operator:Brian Lewis & Co Ltd
Registration: G-ABDH
MSN: 2081
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Devil's Jump, Hankley Common, Churt, near Hindhead, Surrey -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Heston Aerodrome, Heston, Middlesex
Destination airport:Hamble, Hampshire
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Registered G-ABDH [C of R 2746] 25.7.30 to John Roskil Reynolds, Liverpool (but based at Hanworth, Middlesex). C of A 2665 issued 6.9.30. Sold (but not registered to) Brian Lewis & Co Ltd, Heston in 4.32 [and used as demonstrator/air taxi services].

Crashed en route Heston to Hamble following an in-flight structural failure in thunderstorm. G-ABDH came down at Devil's Jump, Hankley Common, Churt, near Hindhead, Surrey 27.7.32; killing all 3 on board (pilot Bruce Bossom, his mother Mrs Emily Bossom & Count Otto Zierbach-Fursteneau - aka Prince Otto Erbach).

A memorial to Emily Bossom was placed on Hankley Common at 51°09.023 N, 000°44.760 W. The passengers were buried in the large family grave at the back of Thursley churchyard. The memorial for her son Bruce is near by.

The Aircraft is believed to have turned back just before the accident. This could suggest mechanical trouble although the theory of a lightning strike was also put forward as there was a thunderstorm at the time.

The aircraft broke up in mid-air, one of the wings falling at Thursley. The bodies were thrown out before the fuselage hit the ground and these memorials mark the spot. The fuselage fell in boggy ground; the frame was stripped of fabric which lay to one side as did the engine which had also broken off.

Many stories circulated following the crash that the aircraft and/or its passengers were carrying jewels and/or cash, which resulted in a lot of searching by local children. As far as I am aware nothing was found.

The inquest into the three fatalities was reported in the contmeporary local newspapers (Western Daily Press - Saturday 30 July 1932):

Similar Injuries Caused by Electrification.
Marks on victims which might have been caused before the aeroplane disaster near Farnham, Surrey, on Wednesday night, were described by a doctor when the inquest was opened at the Farnham Police Court yesterday. The inquest was adjourned till September 14.

The victims of the crash were:- Mr Bruce Bossom, pilot of the aeroplane (21), son of Mr A. C. Bossom, M.P. for Maidstone; Mrs A. C. Bossom, his mother; and Count Otto von Erbach-Furstenau (23), of Hanover, who was on a visit to the Bossom family.

Sir Percy Simmons appeared for Mr C. Bossom, who sat beside his solicitor.

The Coroner, Mr G. Wills Taylor, said he proposed to take evidence just sufficient to permit the funeral to take place, and then to adjourn until investigations have been made into the aeroplane.

Dr. H. F. Ealand said that death in each case was due to multiple injuries, wholly consistent with falling heavily through the air.

The Coroner asked whether Mr Bruce Bossom had any other injuries.

Before Death.
Dr. Ealand: There was over the right tibia a two-inch abrasion, and round that was a corresponding zone of hyperaemia. Both injuries might have occurred before death. On the left leg at corresponding height there was a similar wound of about half an inch.

The Coroner: Was that also before death? - Yes.

Are you able to suggest any cause for those injuries?

"I have seen similar looking injury in death from electrification," said Dr. Ealand, "but I am not dogmatic about it. I think one is right to say it was a burn."

The Coroner asked what was the meaning of hypereemia.

Dr. Ealand said the abrasions showed surrounding signs of redness - hyperaemia - the very early stage of an inflammatory condition.

Count Otto also had an abrasion that was caused before death.

The Coroner asked Major, Cooper, the Air Ministry Inspector of Accidents, to see if he could explain the cause of the wound.

Major Cooper: I cannot think of anything at the moment.

Before the Coroner granted a burial certificate Dr. Ealand agreed to take Major Cooper to the mortuary to see if he could form any deductions from the injuries which the doctor had suggested might have been caused before death.

Funeral Arrangements.
The funeral of Mrs Bossom and her son will take place at Thursley Churchyard, at the foot of the famous Hindhead Ridge, to-day at 2 o'clock.

The body of Count Erbach-Furstenau was conveyed to London last night preparatory to being taken across the Channel for interment in Germany. His brother is now in this country making the necessary arrangements."

Registration G-ABDH cancelled by the CAA in December 1932


1. Western Daily Press - Saturday 30 July 1932
2. Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News - Saturday 6 August 1932
6. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA5/14/C224:


Revision history:

24-Feb-2013 16:13 Dr. John Smith Added
30-Nov-2017 21:08 Dr. John Smith Updated [Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Nov-2017 21:16 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
24-Mar-2020 21:41 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]
24-Mar-2020 21:46 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
17-May-2021 15:54 Cobar Updated [Photo]

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