The Puss Moth was a three seater high wing aircraft designed and built by De Havilland between 1929 and 1933. It was one of the first British monoplanes to be built and took its first flight in 1929, coming into general service a year later. In addition, it was a great favourite with the private aviators of the day whose Puss Moths have already appeared in our Oxford Aviation series.
Oxford's latest addition is no exception and represents the DH80a Puss Moth flown by Australian aviator Charles James J ‘Jimmy’ Melrose in the 1934 Mac Robertson Air Race from London to Melbourne. Decorated in silver with black VH-UQO lettering to the upper and lower wings and along the fuselage, the aircraft’s race number 16 appears on both sides of the rudder. The cockpit is black and an additional detail sees small fat main wheels fitted.
C J Melrose was the youngest and only solo flier to finish the Melbourne (MacRobertson) Air Race in 1934 at the age of 21, finishing 7th and 2nd on handicap in a time of 10 days 16 hours. Sadly, ‘Jimmy’ Melrose was killed two years later when, in July 1936, his new high-wing monoplane ‘Billing’, a Heston Phoenix, broke up in turbulence over South Melton, Victoria on a charter flight from Melbourne to Darwin. Amongst many lasting tributes to this fine young flier is the Melrose memorial in Stirling, South Australia.