Greenland, N.H. – October 2, 1941

Greenland, New Hampshire – October 2, 1941 

Updated May 21, 2023

     At the time this incident occurred, the United States was not yet involved in World War II. 

     Shortly after midnight on October 2, 1941, a squadron of Royal Canadian Air Force twin-engine bombers were dispatched out of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to search for a German submarine reportedly attacking shipping off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  During the mission, one of the aircraft became separated from the formation and had to return on its own.  As it neared the coast it veered off course and wound up over the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Area. 

     At this point the aircraft was low on fuel, and the pilot, Flight Lieutenant Peter H. Douglas, ordered flares dropped in an effort to see an open area to make an emergency landing.  A 100 acre field in the town of Greenland, New Hampshire, was selected, and Douglas made for it.

     Those aboard the aircraft held their breath, for two 250 pound live bombs still hung in the racks beneath the left wing, and the aircraft also reportedly carried seven 25-pound bombs, presumably in its belly. Douglas opted not to jettison the ordinance because the plane was over a populated area, as well as another country, while knowing full well they could explode during the crash landing.          

     As the plane approached the field, Douglas kept the landing gear up, the nose high, and “pancaked” down onto the ground.  The momentum carried the plane a considerable distance all the while tearing up the earth as it slid and bounced across the land before finally coming to rest.  When it stopped, the crew quickly bailed out and ran for their lives fully expecting the bombs or any remaining fuel to set off a series of explosions, but thankfully none came.

     The other crew members included the co-pilot, Sgt. Lloyd C. Fulton; the flight mechanic Sgt. Alan H. Roy, and gunner John A. Bond.   

     Everyone remained a safe distance from the aircraft until they were reasonably certain no danger of explosion existed.  When the bombs were examined, it was found they were still secure in their racks, but hung only a few inches from the ground.

     Arrangements were made for the aircraft to be dismantled and brought to an undisclosed location for repair.


     New York Times, “Canadian Bomber In New Hampshire” October 3, 1941  

     The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Canadian Bomber In New Hampshire”, October 3, 1941, Pg. 1    

     (Both newspapers had the same headline, but each contained different information.)  

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D. C.), “Army Will Help Repair Downed Canadian Bomber”, October 3, 1941, pg. A-8 


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