Belchertown, MA. – November 19, 1943

Belchertown, Massachusetts – November 19, 1943


B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 19, 1943, a B-24J, (Ser. No. 42-7662), took off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a high altitude bombing mission.  While at 22,000 feet the #2 engine began running erratically then quit.  The pilot turned the plane back towards Westover and began to descend.   At some point the other three engines began losing fuel pressure and the pilot ordered the crew to bail out.  Six of the ten crewmen bailed out, and all were injured in the process, but all landed safely.  The pilot, the navigator, the bombardier, and the tail gunner, remained with the aircraft and were still aboard when it crashed in a wooded area of Belchertown.  There was no fire, and investigators later determined that this was due to the fuel tanks running dry due to erroneous  readings of the fuel gauges. 

     The aircraft came down in a swampy area on the Loftus Farm. 

     The pilot, 2nd Lt. Arthur C. Davis, of Santa Monica, California, and the navigator, 2nd Lt. Howard R. Cunningham, of Lowell, Massachusetts, both perished as a result of injuries they received n the crash. 

     The bombardier, 2nd Lt. John C. Christiansen and the tail gunner, Sgt. Paul D. Martin, were seriously injured, but survived.       


     Book: “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006.

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Bomber Crash Takes Lives Of Army Men”, November 20, 1943

     Pioneer Valley History Network – Disasters – “Airplane Crash In Belchertown”, by Cliff McCarthy.

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