Portland Airport, ME – August 30, 1941

Portland Airport, Maine – August 30, 1941

     At 1:45 p.m., on August 30, 1941, a U.S. Army  O-52 observation plane (Ser. No. 40-2705), was making a landing at Portland Airport, on the north-south runway.  Just as the plane was about to touch down, a civilian plane crossed its path from the east-west runway and a collision between the two occurred. 

     The O-52 was wrecked, but the pilot and his passenger escaped with minor injuries.  The two civilians aboard the other aircraft were uninjured.

     The O-52 was assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron.

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident dated September 18, 1941.

Boston Harbor – August 18, 1941

Boston Harbor – August 18, 1941

     On August 18, 1941, a O-47A observation aircraft, (Ser. No. 38-306), was pulling anti-aircraft targets over the waters of Boston Harbor when the pilot needed to land for refueling.  After flying for two hours, the fuel in the two main tanks was exhausted, so the pilot switched to the reserve tank, which according to the fuel gauge in the cockpit held 50 gallons, and began to approach the field.   As he was making the approach the engine suddenly quit, forcing the pilot to ditch in the water.  The plane sank, but the three crewmen aboard were able to climb out and be rescued. 

     The crewmen were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. J. F. Barrett

     Pvt. Melvyn A. Cady

     Pvt. Harold E. Sutcliffe

     The men were assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron based at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.  

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Air Craft Accident dated August 27, 1941         

Lunenburg, MA – June 4,1941

     Lunenburg, Massachusetts – June 4, 1941

     On June 4, 1941, an O-38E observation plane, (ser. No. 34-14), was landing at Lunenburg Airdrome when the wheels hit a soft spot in the unpaved runway and the plane nosed over onto its back.  The pilot, 2nd Lt. John F. Barrett, and the observer, 2nd Lt. Ernest O. Lindblom, (Spelled with one “o” in report.) escaped with minor injuries, however the plane was reportedly “demolished beyond economical repair.”    

     The men were assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron based at Hillsgrove Army Air Field in Warwick, Rhode Island.  

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #41-6-4-1



Fitchburg-Leominster Airport – May 21, 1941

Fitchburg-Leominster Airport – May 21, 1941

     At 2:00 p.m., on May 21, 1941, a O-38E observation plane (Ser. No. 34-16) was taking off from Fitchburg-Leominster Airport for a photo reconnaissance flight, when it was hit  by a strong cross-wind gust that pushed the aircraft off course and into a pile of dirt left by a construction crew.  Although the airplane was demolished, the pilot, Captain Augustus Becker, and his observer, 1st Lt. Arthur L. Miller, escaped with only minor injuries. 

     The men were assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron based at Hillsgrove Field in Warwick, Rhode Island.    

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical report Of Aircraft Accident #41-5-21-5   

Fort Devens Airport, MA – April 21, 1942

Fort Devens Airport, Fort Devens, Massachusetts

April 21, 1942        

      Fort Devens Airport was active at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, during World War II.  It was later named Moore Field after Chief Warrant Officer 2 Douglas Moore, who was killed in Vietnam.  The field closed in 1995.

     At 7:55 p.m., on April 21, 1942, an Army O-52 observation plane (Ser. No. 40-2702) was returning to Fort Devens Airport after a reconnaissance flight when the aircraft crashed in four feet of water at the edge of a pond.  The plane fell from an altitude of 500 feet while making a turn in preparation for landing.   Both the pilot and observer were killed.

      The dead were identified as 1st Lt. Gerald Patrick Kennedy, 26, of Providence, R.I., and 2nd Lt. Robert Wright Booker, 24, of Illiopolia, Ill.  

     Lt. Booker, the pilot,  is buried in Macon County Memorial Park, Section 14, in Harristown, Illinois.  He received his pilot’s wings on October 31, 1941. 

     Lt. Kennedy is buried in St. Francis Cemetery, Section 51, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.  

     Later in the evening Lt. Kennedy was scheduled to attend a party in his honor due to his recent promotion to first lieutenant.  As a point of fact, Lt. Booker wasn’t scheduled to be on that flight, but he’d taken the place of another officer.  

     Today there is a hanger named for Lt. Kennedy  at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. (Formerly Hillsgrove)

     The men were assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron, and it was reported that these men were the first airplane related fatalities in the history of the 152nd.  The 152nd had been stationed at Hillsgrove Airport in Warwick, R.I. prior to being transferred in the summer of 1941 to  Fort Devens. 


     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-4-21-23

     Woonsocket Call, “Army Probing Devens Plane Crash In Which 2 Met Death”, April 22, 1942, Pg. 1

     Wikipedia – Fort Devens Airport 




Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲