Moth Alight

A 1933 cartoon from Punch by Leslie Illingworth.


The text reads: ‘Man with a particular grievance. “Oh, it’s only you, is it? I thought it was one of those confounded motor-cycles kicking up a row again.”‘ I should, at this point say that if you don’t find this funny, it’s not your fault – earlier Punch humour was a particular thing, and some hasn’t dated well. However.

The aircraft is a de Havilland DH.60 Moth, with a notional registration; G-AxxZ. There are endless cartoons featuring aircraft, but the main reason I’ve chosen this one is because it’s remarkably realistic, though not perfect. To draw a crashed aircraft accurately is a lot harder than people realise – aircraft are not of a uniform weight or structural strength, and when they break, they do it in particular ways. Illingworth has represented the broken prop and the fabric wing pierced by the strut well, but missed out the fuel tank in the upper centre section, however. It’s a great cartoon, though, packed with interesting detail either way.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

From this Punch archive.

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